Praying the Rosary
What a wonderful gift the Rosary is! Only God could have created it. In a way it’s like the Sacraments. It is, in fact, a sacramental. It places something physically perceptible in our hands, while being an instrument of the grace of prayer.
There are various ways of praying the Rosary. One can simply attend to the words of the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory be. Or one can let the words of these prayers be as a breeze lifting one up into a general diffused awareness of God or of the Blessed Mother.
However, there are “Mysteries” which are proposed for our meditation during the recital of these prayers, and praying the Rosary while meditating upon the Mysteries can be the most fruitful way of all to use this wonderful gift of the Rosary. There are twenty Mysteries, each one centered upon an event in the life of Jesus and/or the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Ideally, a familiarity with these events in the life of Jesus is already in place in our Christian life. But a reading of the Gospel account before we begin each decade is very helpful. Then as we pray the Hail Mary’s we recall and ponder the scene and its meaning, allowing the vocal prayer to serve as a “mantra”, or as it were, as “background music”.
As time goes by it can happen that the same images present themselves to the imagination, and our prayer can become routine and sterile. One way of helping ourselves is to delve into the Mysteries outside of Rosary-time. (A small contribution toward this end is added here for each of the Mysteries.) Also it must be remembered that the Rosary is prayer, i.e., a movement of the heart, not simply an exercise of the mind. Actually, the mind can in a sense be “struck dumb” when we realize that Jesus is true incomprehensible God, and therefore every note in the life of Jesus has, we can say, a divine, cosmic dimension, a dimension that includes us. The more deeply we can descend into love, worship, gratitude and desire to serve Jesus, the more our inner horizons expand. Our use of the Rosary will tend to become a means of growing in holiness of life and availability to God for his work on earth.