They Call Her 'Mystical Rose'

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By Marc Massery (May 2, 2019)
This is the ninth article in a series on the Litany of Loreto. Every month, I will explain this popular prayer line by line, providing you with spiritual and theological insights.

View the previous article in this series.

Vessel of Honor, pray for us.

Even if the Eucharist isn't in the Monstrance, and it's just being housed in the sacristy, you treat it with honor. You cover it. So, if we venerate a Monstrance, how much more should we venerate Mary, who carried the Child Jesus in her womb? After our Lord is born, we don't discard Mary and cast her off to the side. She remains the "Vessel of Honor," because she carried and continues to carry within herself the image of God.

Singular Vessel of Devotion, pray for us.

As the only Mother of God, Mary is singular, unique, special — different from anyone in history. No one was more devoted to God than her. She's the pattern, the model, the blueprint of what it means to be faithful to Christ. We wouldn't be able to become vessels of Christ if Mary weren't first a vessel for Him. A mother can only give away to her children what a mother has. Mary was the first to become devoted to Christ, enabling her to teach us how to devote ourselves to Christ, too.

Mystical Rose, pray for us.

Roses have long been considered highest in the hierarchy of flowers. Mary, of course, is highest in the order of grace. Similar to how Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden in a state of perfect innocence, Mary lives as a flower in the garden of God's grace. Like our first parents before the fall, she was set apart from the world, mystically united with the Holy Trinity. As Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman said about this title of Mary in his meditations on the Litany of Loreto, "Excepting her, the fairest rose in the paradise of God has had upon it blight, and has had the risk of canker-worm and locust. All but Mary; she from the first was perfect in her sweetness and her beautifulness, and at length when the angel Gabriel had to come to her, he found her 'full of grace.'" Through Mary's Immaculate Conception, God set her apart for Himself, as one would cherish the prettiest flower in the garden. Because of that, we call her "Mystical Rose."

View the next article in this series.

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