Today we celebrate Mary as Our Lady of the Rosary. As beloved as the rosary is by some people, others find it challenging or even impossible. One gentleman admits that he just could NOT pray the rosary, until he was challenged by this:
I have NEVER been able to pray the Rosary without either falling sound asleep, veering off the road or falling out of my chair. But [my friend] was right; our nation is in need of prayer, and I sheepishly agreed to join in. I brought the rosary on to the trail with me, and suddenly what had begun as a place of fitness became a place for prayer – the best place, it turns out, at least for me. The repetition, the running. There are no distractions, just the plodding and the prayer.
Praying the rosary can be hard – we fall prey to distractions. Yet, that is the challenge of any prayer – to be truly present before the Lord. The rosary gives us circumstances, images and events from Scripture to help us focus and then, (if we are blessed enough and tenacious enough) the Aves and the Pater Nosters become the background music.
Spiritual tenacity will lead us to a most important perspective: the life of Christ through His mother’s eyes. There was no one on earth who knew Christ better than Mary. Any mother can tell you that she knows what her child is thinking just by a glance at the child’s face or that she too suffers when her child is in pain. From His conception to His final days on Earth, Mary stood as witness to both Christ’s public and private lives. Because of this, the rosary is the prayer allows us into the heart of a mother, whose greatest concern is bringing people closer to her Son.
Devotion to the rosary is one hallmark of sainthood. From St. John Paul II to Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen to Mother Angelica, praying the rosary daily was the most important prayer outside the Mass.
The rosary is actually a very humble prayer. From a simple cord rosary to rare antique rosaries to rosaries designed for athletes, they are all essentially the same: a crucifix, a cord or chain, and beads. (An Irish mother is wont to say, “Your forgot your rosary? Use your fingers! Why do you think God gave you 10 of them?!”) It takes about 20 minutes or so to say a rosary. Twenty minutes to praise God, to glorify God through His Son, and to glimpse the Son’s life through the eyes of His mother. It takes no special equipment, very little time and can be prayed by anyone, anywhere, any time. Yes, it is a humble prayer, but a prayer of immense grace.
The fact that our Church continues to include the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the liturgical calendar testifies to the importance and goodness of this form of prayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, ‘The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.’
Mary’s only desire was to be obedient to God by bringing forth her Son. By praying the rosary and meditating upon each mystery, we are not simply bystanders to the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ, but we become witnesses through the eyes of His mother, our mother. Our Lady – our mother – of the Rosary is eager to bring each of closer, more intimately involved, in the life of her Son. Through dedicated prayer of the rosary, she will gently lead us deeper into the mystery of our salvation through her Son, Jesus Christ. And as Catholics, there is nothing more important for our life on earth than this.