October is Rosary Month!
The Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Where does the word come from? It comes from a Latin word Rosaria, which means a crown of roses or a garden of roses. It grew up in the second millennium of Christianity, particularly in Western Christianity around the 14th century. It’s attributed to Saint Dominic.
The Rosary is a sequence of prayers. St John Paul II said, it’s a compendium of the Gospel and it’s intended to help us grow in our faith as we come to understand more and more about the life, the death, the resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus Christ, and about the Church and who we are in the Lord.
That’s why the way to view the Rosary is as a time of meditation. We meditate on the great mysteries of the faith.
Just how do you pray this Rosary? First, the Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, is not the first rosary. In fact, the rosary goes back into the first centuries of the Church. The early disciples took Paul’s admonition to pray without ceasing, and so they looked for ways to constantly keep the presence of God in their lives.
With the first rosary, the monks of the early church had a corded band. They would simply say the name of Jesus over and over and over again. “Lord Jesus, son of God have mercy on me.”
But this Rosary asks Our Lady to pray for us, and it has deep historical roots in Christianity, dating back to the early centuries of the Church. The Church has always believed in the communion of saints. What that means is that those who are marked with the sign of faith and go home to the Lord are still joined to us. They pray for us; they pray with us. As the author of the Letter of the Hebrew said, “They’re that great cloud of witnesses.”
And so, the early Christians always asked for Our Lady’s intercession, and now we’re going to talk about the form of prayer that does that so beautifully.
Here are some helpful hints to get you started praying this beautiful and powerful Prayer:
- You don’t always need to pray the entire rosary (although that is awesome if you do!)
In our busy lives, the rosary can be an intimidating prayer because we immediately think things like, “who has 20 minutes for a rosary!… maybe later,” and then we never get around to doing it. You don’t need to pray the entire rosary to make the prayer work for your spirit. Pull out your beads and spend 2 minutes and 30 seconds to pray a decade and think about a moment from Jesus’s life.
- Carry your rosary beads with you.
This has been a game changer for me. Just having my rosary beads with me during my day has become a kind of prayer reminder each day. It has also helped me in moments when I’m struggling or feeling anxiety, knowing I have my beads with me and reaching for them makes me aware of God’s presence and Mary’s mantle of love and protection with me in the tough times.
- Quality over quantity, when praying.
As with any prayer, this is an important note. The quality of the prayer is more important than the quantity of prayer. One intentional Hail Mary that you sit with and truly consider what God wants you to take away from this moment with Him can often be more fruitful than one quickly prayed decade that you tried to get through just to check it off your list. So focus on the quality of each prayer – even if that means you sit with one intentionally prayed Hail Mary for a while.
- Pray with the Mysteries of the Rosary.
Many churches have How to pray the rosary pamphlets or download the Laudate App where you can find the rosary mysteries and more amazing Catholic prayerful goodness! Carry around the mysteries and prayerfully read through them, and over time they become dedicated to memory. This has done wonders for prayer life, especially to help focus my prayer when struggling to pray. Sit and reflect on the mysteries of the rosary, which are the best Bible study you’ll ever get. There is no easier way to focus on Jesus and get to know him than prayerfully reflecting on His life and passion in the mysteries of the rosary. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.
Think of the rosary like David’s slingshot…his aim hit the mark and took down Goliath! Let us fervently pray the rosary confident that our intentions will hit the mark knowing Our Lady is also interceding on our behalf. *