“The Rosary of the Virgin Mary.. is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life..”
– St John Paul II, ‘Rosarium Virginis Mariae’
There is something exquisitely beautiful about giving to the Blessed Virgin Mary a little time each evening dedicated to prayer in Her honour – and in particular, the prayer of the holy Rosary.
In these moments, there is a profound sense of internal peace, for She is the Queen of Peace. The cares and worries of the day are put to the side for just a little while, so that the mind and the will can focus on what is truly important – prayer, that moment of deep connection between the human and the divine, between the creature and the Creator.
Also in these moments, there is the joyful consolation of knowing that those prayers are rising to Heaven and are being heard; how and when God responds is a matter for Him alone, and that requires trust on the part of the one who prays, but the very practice of prayer encourages this sense of deep trust and is itself a sign that this trust already exits to some degree. Further, there is conviction that the Blessed Virgin is also hearing those prayers and, in Heaven, is presenting them to the Lord.
The construction of the Rosary establishes the space and peace necessary to do all this – the long familiarity of the vocal prayers allows the wandering mind to focus on something that is both known and loved, while the deepest parts of the person are then given over to the ‘soul’ of the Rosary – the meditation upon the Mysteries.
Now, you might imagine that with only twenty Mysteries upon which to meditate, the potential for real prayerful meditation is fairly limited. And yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Those Mysteries contain the fullness of the Gospel itself and so there is an abundance of material from which to draw profitably. This well is deep and it’s waters will never run dry; those waters are cool and constantly refreshing, reviving the drooping spirit.
At the affective level, there is joy in knowing that by praying the Rosary, the soul is offering to the Mother of God that very prayer which She constantly asks us to pray, the same prayer the Church repeatedly and consistently recommends to us, the one so beloved of the Saints, as Pope John Paul reminded us. And to pray it well, we need neither great intelligence nor a broad theological outlook, for it is the prayer of the simple man and woman. All we need is the desire to pray it well – the Blessed Virgin will then take care of the rest, so long as we have confidence in Her and leave it all in Her hands. She will obtain for us a measure of the graces which this beautiful prayer contains within itself.
All of this may sound delightful to read, but the real delight comes in experiencing what is described here so poorly; as they say, prayer brings it’s own rewards. It is in the act of praying that it really comes to life, like a little spark winnowed until it is a blazing fire.
Try it. Experience it for yourself.