We are concluding this month that the Church dedicates to the holy rosary, and I want to encourage all of us to go deeper in our practice of this holy devotion.
We all need to pray more urgently, with greater intensity. It is the only path to take if we want to grow in our relationship with God. For me, praying the rosary every day has become a part of my own life and it is a powerful help in my own efforts to follow Jesus.
We live in a noisy, crowded world, constantly confronted by sounds and images, impressions, and sensations. Our technologies and our way of life make it hard for us to carve out time and space just to be quiet and reflect, to be alone with our thoughts and go “inside ourselves.”
That is why we need the rosary. It is a prayer of the heart, a way of contemplation.
In the rhythms and repetitions of the rosary, we enter into a space of silence in which we open our hearts in the presence of God. We enter this silence aware of our failings and sins, bringing with us our concerns for the world, all the burdens of our lives.
It is beautiful how the repetitions of this prayer correspond with the rhythms of our breathing and the beating of our hearts.
Some people find the repetitions of the rosary to be annoying or just routine. But if we pray with true piety, with true love in our hearts for Jesus and Mary, then these patterns of repeated words, all of them words from the sacred Scriptures, will lead us into the presence of God and into the contemplation of his mysteries.
At the center of the Hail Mary that we repeat is the name of Jesus, the name in which we have salvation — “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
It is a good habit to pray the rosary with the Gospels. St. John Paul II recommended that we announce each mystery and read the related Gospel passage, contemplating the face of Christ in the mystery and then listening for the “word” that he wants to speak to us through this mystery.
The mysteries of his life are the great truths of our faith — the joy of his incarnation, as he is “born of the Virgin Mary”; the light that he brings with his life “for us men and for our salvation”; the sorrow of his passion, as “he suffered under Pontius Pilate”; the glory of his resurrection “on the third day”; and his promise that “he will come again.”
Our newest saint, St. John Henry Newman, said, “The greater power of the rosary lies in this, that it makes the Creed into a prayer [and] gives us the great truths of his life and death to meditate upon, and brings them nearer to our hearts.”
The rosary is the prayer of the saints, it is part of the secret of their sanctity, their closeness to Christ.
With Mary, we remember his presence among us, we ponder his words, his actions. Meditating on these mysteries, we enter day by day into his life and gradually his life comes to penetrate our lives. And as Mary did, we open our lives to live in response to his saving word: “May it be done to me according to your word.”
The reality of our Christian lives is that Jesus wants to be born in each of us. He wants his life to become our life, and he wants our life to become his life.
The rosary is a prayer that leads to this transformation. When we pray with devotion, when we order our lives to God’s will, we allow him to shape us and form us in the image of his Son. Through this prayer, the mysteries of his life continue to unfold in our lives, as God works out his loving plan for our salvation.
The key is to pray as children, letting our mother lead us, learning to see her Son through her eyes.
When we do this, when the rosary becomes a habit with us, we find that the spirit of this prayer carries over into our daily life and our duties at home, at work or at school, making us contemplatives in the world.
Pray the rosary with confidence and you will feel peace, and begin to have more of a supernatural outlook on the things going on in the world and in your life, and you will sense God’s presence more and his Providence.
Pray for me this week, and I will be praying for you.
And let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us and to inspire in each of us a new experience of the beauty and the power of the rosary.