Giovanni Battista Piazzetta 1682 - 1754
Beggar Boy with Rosary (The Young Pilgrim) 1738/39
Oil on canvas
67 x 55 cm
The Art Institute, Chicago
Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani, then Patriarch of Venice, gave a homily on the Rosary on the Fourth Centenary of the Feast of the Rosary (October 1973)
It was entitled The Rosary Helps us to be like Children
He recognised that some people do not like the Rosary:
"They say it is a childish prayer, superstitious, not good enough for adult Christians. Or, it is an automatic prayer, a mere monotonous and boring repetition of the Hail Mary. Or again : it is not for our day, today we can do better: read the Bible for example which compared to the rosary is like good flour compared to bran ! "
The homily is worth reading in its entirety
But he explained what benefit he received from recitation of the Rosary:
"When we speak of "adult Christians" in prayer, at times we exaggerate. Personally when I speak tête-à-tête with God or with the Blessed Virgin Mary, more than an adult I prefer to think of myself as a child.
The mitre, skullcap and ring disappear; I give a holiday to the adult and the bishop and also to heavy burdens, sober and pondered, and let myself go with the spontaneous tenderness of a child in front of his papá or mamma. To be – at least for half an hour – before God as I truly am with my wretchedness and also with the best of myself: to feel rising from the depths of my being the child of other days who wants to talk and chat with the Lord and love him and who sometimes feels the need to cry that he may be granted mercy, all this helps me to pray.
The rosary, a simple and easy prayer, helps me to be at times a child again and of this I am not in the least ashamed.
The rosary a prayer of repetition ?
Père de Foucauld used to say :
"Love is expressed in a few words, always the same, repeated time and time again" "
Piazzetta was an Italian rococo painter of religious subjects. Born in Venice, he was trained in Venice then in Bologna and then returned to Venice. He was a collaborator of and influence on Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696 - 1770)
His publisher wrote that Piazzetta "did not care greatly for honours and neither for his own interest. He lived in love with his art"