(All Summer in the Little Oratory posts here)
It’s time to talk about my favorite prayer. I’m not going to be quoting too much from the book today, but from my own experience of the wonderful, amazing prayer that is the rosary.
I’ve always loved the rosary. As a child, my family sometimes said the rosary together, and when Dad drove my brother and I to school as kids, we would say a decade in the car on the way. I’ve always had ropes of rosaries draped over my bedposts, and my parents keep some on the table in the living room that also houses the bible. I have a ring rosary in my car, so I can pray when I’m driving, and I have one in my purse. I also have one from the Vatican in my backpack. Basically, my rosary is like those old Master Card commercials–don’t leave home without it.
Praying the rosary has given me solace even when I’m not conscious. When I was in the ICU in college, in a medically induced coma, my parents noticed that when they said the rosary, my blood pressure and heart rate dropped, and I became more relaxed. Sometimes even having a rosary in my hand was enough. When I was looking for third orders to join, the fact that Lay Dominicans say the rosary every day was one of the big reasons I was drawn to them. Dominicans have a special devotion to the rosary.
If you’ve never prayed the rosary, would you be willing to give it a try? It’s such a treasure we have as Catholics. Saint John Paul II called the rosary a “compendium of the gospel”, and it is. We meditate on Christ’s life, which is the Gospel.
Give it a try?
Here’s how to say the rosary. There are four sets of mysteries: Joyful, Luminous (added by Saint John Paul II in 2002), Sorrowful, and Glorious. If you’re just getting started, pick the set you like, don’t worry about the days. Each set has five mysteries. You don’t even need rosary beads–use your fingers. Each mystery is 10 Hail Marys, and you have ten fingers. Like how that works out?
St. Padre Pio called the rosary “the weapon.” We could all use a few more weapons in our spiritual warfare case, yes? You can pray the rosary while you drive, when you walk, when you wash dishes. You can say one decade at a time! It’s a very user friendly prayer.
“The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at its heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the rosary, the Christian people sit at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.”
–St. John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, October 2002