I didn’t grow up praying the Rosary. My early faith formation was in the 1970s, a time of butterflies and posters and “Smile, God loves you!” Don’t get me wrong, I caught the faith through that formation, and I’ve clung tightly to that faith ever since. But praying the Rosary just wasn’t part of it.
A SLOW START
I remember the great excitement my older sister and I experienced when we received a glow-in-the-dark rosary in the mail from a mission society. We couldn’t wait until bedtime to try it out. Mom told us what to do and said it would take about 15 minutes to complete. We were puzzled by how quickly we completed our prayer. We did exactly what Mom had told us—except that when she said, “Say 10 Hail Marys,” she meant pray the Hail Mary prayer 10 times. We had taken her literally and said just the “Hail, Mary” part, not the whole prayer.
I didn’t really explore the Rosary much more through my early adulthood. I picked up an attitude about “those Mary people,” who seemed to be more devoted to our Blessed Mother than to her offspring, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. I did, however, find myself turning to Mary for her intercession in my early years as a mother.
TIME TO GIVE IT A REAL TRY
Just recently, Ken, another member of our parish RCIA team, gave a stirring presentation about Mary and the Rosary. He shared how significant a role praying the Rosary has had in his life—even through times when his faith lacked its current fervor. He made it sound simple and very inviting, something I felt called to give a try.
So, now I pray the Rosary, usually in my car. I know that if I begin as I pull out of my driveway, I can be finished by the time I reach a little town where my radio reception improves (and where it starts to cut out on my way home). I’ve been surprised by the thoughts and prayers that come to me as I focus on the different mysteries—events in the lives of Jesus and Mary, mainly Jesus (as I now understand the Rosary is less a Marian prayer and more a Gospel prayer). As I reflect on each mystery, I raise my concerns and prayer intentions to our Lord, who receives them in any form we send them his way.
In times of stress, the repetition calms me, helps me focus, and opens me to prayer. If you haven’t tried it in a while—or ever—it’s worth a shot!
Need some help getting started? Check out Praying the Rosary, The Rosary: A Prayer for All Seasons, The Rosary Project, The New Rosary in Scripture, The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, and Mysteries of the Rosary.
photo credit: www.photoxpress.com / Margaret M. Stewart