From Father Woods
We are not that far removed from an era when families gathered together every evening for the recitation of the Rosary. Yes, believe it or not, at a time before the mass media of television, computers and radios, families actually came together each evening to pray the Rosary. In contemporary families that are scattered to the four winds with commitments of all kinds it’s hard to imagine many families on a regular basis kneeling on the kitchen floor for evening devotions. Certainly there might be extraordinary families who are able to keep this pious custom – and God bless them for it!
The Rosary holds a fascination for many people. For those who don’t understand or appreciate this Marian devotion, it’s just a puzzle. For the critic, the Rosary is absolutely contrary to the teachings of Jesus who admonished His disciples to avoid repetitious prayers. For the devout, the Rosary is quite simply a life-line to Heaven. Yes, there are those few holy souls who take the devotion too far and freak out everyone else, but they’re the exception. Most Catholics who have been introduced to the Rosary have a healthy relationship with this form of prayer.
Perhaps the best way to begin is to set the Rosary within common life experiences. People who work with weights rely on a series of reps and sets. Those who run for exercise keep pace with the rhythm of steps and the fluidity of movements. Practitioners of yoga become immersed in breathing patterns. The Rosary is the same kind of experience. The repetition of the familiar prayers allows the one praying to enter into a meditation of the mystery being contemplated.
Sometimes each decade become a series of petitions, or things for which we are thankful. Whatever the method, the prayers on each bead draw us into a deeper communion with God. Because we don’t have to concentrate on reading prayers we can simply pray like the refrain of a familiar favorite song that we can’t get out of our head.
The Rosary is a prayer of praise and petition. We offer adoration to the Triune God. We also approach Him in our need with the help and intercession of the Mother Jesus gave us from the Cross: Mary Immaculate. The Blessed Mother prays with us and for us. When you’re feeling alone in your prayer, remember that she (and all the angels and saints) join you in a chorus of prayer.
Even those most attached to the Rosary will admit that there are times when distractions come in or when you simply fall asleep while praying. That’s okay. God wants our time and attention even if it’s not perfect – we don’t even give our full attention to the people in our lives we can see much less the God we cannot see! He’s patient with us. When we fail in our prayers, the Blessed Mother picks up where we left off, reads our heart, and carries our prayer to her Son.
October is traditionally the month of the Rosary. Pray it daily if you can. Pray with your family if you’re able. Pray always.