Generally available Marian image created in the 1880s. The white circular text in the halo reads: “Je suis l’Immaculée Conception” (French for “I am the Immaculate Conception”). From Jtdirl’s collection. Copyright long expired. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons we have been gifted with and it should be wielded with confidence, faith and giving Glory to God. Regardless of our stage in our Spiritual journey we can only benefit from such a beautiful prayer.
“The Rosary reclaimed in its full meaning, goes to the very heart of Christian life; it offers a familiar yet fruitful Spiritual and educational opportunity for personal contemplation, the formation of the people of God, and the new Evangelisation” Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae
The Catechism teaches about many types of prayer: vocal prayer, meditative prayer and contemplative prayer. The Rosary is both a meditative and vocal prayer that can result in contemplation. Whilst praying the Rosary we should not be focussing on every word of the prayers we are saying, but reflecting on the Mystery that we pray. The world of spiritual knowledge and certainty that is available through this prayer is well worth exploring before any other. Our lady herself taught Jacinta, one of the seers of Fatima, to meditate on the mysteries with pictures and encouraging her to form images of the mysteries in her mind as she prayed the Hail Mary’s.
“Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion and desire. This mobilisation of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the Rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.”
Our Lady is with us in a very special way when we pray the Rosary, not only are we joined by Our blessed mother in the prayer but also the entire heavenly court, angels, saints and the souls of Purgatory. They all join us and intercede for us before the heavenly father.
Contemplation brings us to a higher form of prayer, a God given gift that cannot be produced as and when we want but rather is given to us by God’s action.
“Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. ‘I look at him and he looks at me’: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of his holy cure used to say while praying before the tabernacle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the ‘interior knowledge of our Lord’, the more to love him and follow him”
A dear friend of mine Br Paul Peter Sacco, a Marist Brother who held my hand through many stages in my own journey to Christ could not have been more of a wonderful advocate for the Rosary – many a time after a cup of coffee and prayer with him his parting words would be ‘Stay Good Mo, Pray the Rosary and read the Bible’. This beautiful wonderful friend died in 2010 in his late 90’s a friend of many who spread joy wherever he went, he is in heaven I am sure of that, still smiling and spreading Joy and peace and staying close to his friends. Sitting with families as they pray the Rosary and giving them a nudge on those days when Satan tries to tempt them away from it.
We cannot ask for a more all encompassing prayer for depth of faith, love and peace in our lives and the lives of our families and throughout the world. A favourite prayer of the Saints, many of Our Popes frequently requested by the blessed Mother herself and advocated as a powerful weapon to reduce sin and defeat heresies. I have written many times, why pray the Rosary? – Is the request of Our blessed Mother to join her in meditation of the life of Christ not enough of an answer to this question?
The Rosary is often seen as: ‘a bore’; ‘difficult prayer’; ‘a waste of time’; ‘a bit hardcore’; ‘we don’t pray the Rosary, we don’t have time’; ‘People don’t pray the Rosary anymore, do they?’. I could go on with this list of reasons people give not to pray the Rosary but that would be pointless. The fact is it is an education in our faith that will strengthen it. It brings us closer to Christ through his Mother. We can trust Mary’s intercession, she won’t let us down, we can trust her request to us to pray the Rosary and we can definitely trust that faithful prayer of the Rosary will keep us close to God and on the right Path.
We must remember that there is a spiritual war going on for all of our souls and in this fight against Satan a wimpy, sporadic prayer life quite simply will not do. Jesus listens to his Mother, she is our most powerful intercessor in Heaven. We must also remember that prayer requires effort ccc#2725, we will have times of dryness and we will find it hard. Did Jesus not die on a Cross for us? Hardly an easy way out he took now was it? We cannot give in to the temptations of the world as we were made for greater things and the Rosary will help us to achieve them.