NGUYEN: The heartbeat of the Rosary
October 12, 2021
What’s in a heartbeat? We sometimes use the idioms “in a heartbeat” or “a heartbeat away” to refer to some imminent reality in time or space. But the most immediate heartbeat — albeit inconspicuous and often detected only through a stethoscope — is the one that represents our own life and that of those around us.
This past May, both chambers of the Texas legislative branch signed into law Senate Bill 8. aka “The Texas Heartbeat Act,” the bill prohibiting elective abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Effective since Sept. 1, “The Texas Heartbeat Act” is a historic legislative victory, a significant achievement in the work of building a true culture of life.
We must each do our part to contribute to the pro-life cause. If you are wondering “what can I do?” here are some concrete suggestions: Consider writing to your senator and state representatives, urging them to support life-affirming laws and resolutions. Consider participating in the National March for Life in our nation’s capital this year. Even more, you can take a stand for life by committing your time to visit a nursing home or serve at a soup kitchen or volunteer at your local pregnancy center regularly. You could also study the Church’s teachings and educate your peers on the dignity and sacredness of all human life as created in the image and likeness of God.
In tandem with all of this, let me make one more suggestion: How about praying a pro-life Rosary? The Rosary is a powerful prayer by which we can build a culture of life. It is a promised means, tried and true, for the conversion of our own hearts and the healing of our deepest wounds. Through it, God forms in us a spirituality of life rooted in the life which His Son has won for us.
In the Joyful mysteries, the Annunciation reminds us of the preciousness of all human life, particularly in unexpected pregnancies. The Sorrowful mysteries invite us to unite our sufferings to the passion of Christ in reparation for every life that has been destroyed by the evils of abortion. The Luminous and Glorious mysteries remind us to anchor our hope for the transformation of the world in the power of Christ’s resurrection.
The simple but sincere repetition of “Hail Mary, full of grace” can effectively align our hearts with the heartbeat of the Author of Life and bring about an outpouring of divine mercy. Its power to do so is derived from the mysteries of the life of Christ. When we meditate on them, we encounter the living God with the eyes and heart of Mary, and we contemplate the Lord of life in the full scope of His life — from His conception in Mary’s womb to His death on the cross, and further into the glory of His resurrection.
As our lips speak the words of the prayers and our fingers touch each Rosary bead, our faith takes on the contours of Mary’s own faith and love. In this way, when we pray the Rosary, we are attentive to the heartbeat of the Blessed Mother as well as the divine heartbeat once hidden within her virginal womb.
Only when we conform our own hearts to theirs can we begin to counter the forces of today’s culture of death — first, through our own personal renewal, and then through concrete action, caring for the most vulnerable among us.
With Rosary in hand, let’s stand for life and unite in building a culture that joyfully proclaims that the Author of Life has a purpose and plan for each one of us. I hope that you’ll “choose life” (Deut 30:19) by praying a Rosary today — at least a decade or two of it.
Pray it with your family for all families, for expectant parents and their unborn children, and for all the men and women who have been affected by abortion. Pray that a vibrant culture of life may prevail in our world.
With our Blessed Mother, may we always cherish and nurture, protect and defend every human life from the moment of conception to natural death.
Sister Theresa Marie Chau Nguyen, O.P., is an assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas, where she advises pro-life groups, ministries and initiatives on campus and abroad.