rosary and Mary

What is the rosary? You reply, “A chain with some beads on it.” What does it entail? You grimace. You want to say, “Boring”, but feel that would be disrespectful. So you say nothing. Why should we pray it? The praying of the rosary is not a penance. It really is not a hardship. No, it is a prayer showing our love and respect for the Mother of Jesus who is also our spiritual mother. Each of us, as Catholic Christians, has the awesome, wondrous task to manifest Christ’s love to all whom we meet. We do this by living and practicing the lifestyle that Jesus urges us to live. This is not a pious phrase. This is what Christianity is all about.

What does praying the rosary have to do with any of this? Isn’t it just rattling off a lot of repetitious phases? Think about the words of the Hail Mary, which are Gabriel’s words to her. Hail Mary, you are full of grace (which means you have the love of God and the love of others in your heart). The Lord (God) is with you. This must be so, since you love without reservation, all whom you meet. Only someone who talks (prays) to God, and is with God, can practice such a constant love. You are blessed among all other women. This is true, because in your womb, you will bear a son; His name will be Jesus. That string of prayers, which we rattle off in a hurried, distracted manner, really does have a meaning. Saying the alphabet repeatedly has no meaning. Saying the Hail Mary, with no awareness of what we are saying, provides us very little benefit, as well. We need to recognize what the words of prayer are and what they signify for us as individuals.

What are we doing, when we pray the rosary? If we think it is just the saying of a group of prayers over some knots on a rope, or beads on a chain, then we have been misinformed. The Rosary is a meditation, a recalling to our mind of the milestones along the public and private life of Jesus. We use each decade of the rosary to focus on the particulars of a specific “mystery”, or milestone. It might even be beneficial for us to insert ourselves into that mystery. For example, don’t think of faceless people beating Jesus, or crucifying Him. We should put ourselves into that scene. We, through our sins, are doing the beating. God is not bound by the limits of time. And, Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus is not bound by the limits of time. He is being beaten and crucified right now, today. But who is doing the beating? Look around, do you see any Roman soldiers? WE are beating Him with our ungratefulness, our thoughts of our selves, with our crimes of passion. Put yourself into the mystery. Which part do you play? Which part would you want to play? Do you want to be the one beating Him as He carries His cross? Or, do you want to wipe His face, as Veronica did, or help him with the weight of the cross, like Simon of Cyrene? Don’t let the decade portray some distant event in the past. Step into it. Recognize that all of us play a part in this scene. All of us, hold whips in our hands.

Over these last two centuries, Mary has come to mankind many times. Her appeal to us has consistently been one of urging us to pray the rosary. At Fatima, at Medjugorje, in Hungary her incessant cry has been pray the rosary. Pray it in earnest. Pray it with the understanding that Mary will appeal to Her Son, who cannot refuse her anything. Cherish it and use it to get close to Mary and her Son. We seem to have lost our desire to pray. We think that the mindless rattling off of words is what constitutes prayer. And, we know deep down, THAT doesn’t make any sense to us. So, we shrug it off and pursue other interests. What we should pursue is lifting our thoughts, our mind, and our heart up to our God. Ask Mary to help us in our growth towards her Son, to tell Him of our love, of our struggles. Tell Him of our doubts and frustrations. But most of all, tell Him that we do believe, and still, pray for a stronger belief. We may not know the best words to say, but ask Mary to bring them to her Son. With her as our emissary, they will become like flowers of gold, a flame of love.

Mary has asked us to pray the rosary, yes! She asks us to lift up our mind and heart. Offer the rosary as praise and thanksgiving to God. Honor Him with our love, our awareness of His goodness. Offer to Him, all the hurt, the anguish, the suffering that we are feeling. Of course, we don’t want it, but we can lovingly accept it and give that acceptance to Him as a sign of our desire to love Him back. Ask Mary to help us become the person that God has planned for us to be, from all eternity. Pray the rosary, and change how you pray it. Instead of looking at the clock, to see how long we have been praying, look at the image of Mary, realizing that she is our mother, and offer our love to Jesus through her, asking her to sanctify it.

Do you really think that the rosary is just words? Lift up your mind and heart. (Isn’t that how we used to define prayer?) Make the words and thoughts and feelings that come from you, let them be your prayer. Think of the particular mystery that is being remembered. Picture yourself with Jesus in that moment of His life. Tell Him you love Him. Tell Him you wish your life to be better. Ask Him to send the Spirit of God within you.

Prayer is important, make no mistake about it. It is important for ourselves and the lives, we live. It is important for our family, friends and persons who we love and are concerned about. It is important for the world, because it is in such grave need of being loved and understood. Mary begs us again and again, “PRAY THE ROSARY