Last week I mentioned seven spiritual practices listed in Matthew Kelly’s book “Rediscovering Catholicism” For those who forgot, they are: Mass, Confession, Spiritual Reading, Daily Prayer, the Bible, Rosary and Fasting. Today I want to speak about one of these practices – The Holy Rosary.
St. Paul tells us today in our second reading “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In the Rosary we are invited to think about the different mysteries of the life of Jesus – his birth in Bethlehem, his proclamation of the kingdom of God, his sufferings and his Resurrection! What could be more just, more pure, more pleasing or more excellent to think about?
Pope John Paul has described the Holy Rosary as “Contemplating the face of Christ with Mary.” We want to know Jesus, we want to know him well. Who knows a person better than their mother? After my ordination, at the dinner, my mother shared different stories from my childhood. These were stories that not even some of my best friends had heard. When we pray the Holy Rosary, we consider the various mysteries of Christ’s life, with Mary at our side. She reveals to us things we may not have thought of before, those little details that only a mother notices. Spending time with Mary does not distract us from her son, because a good Mother is always more concerned about her children than about herself. Mary’s love for Jesus is contagious and helps us love him even more The more we know and love Jesus Christ, the more we will know his peace and be able to share it with others.
Some may complain that the Rosary is too repetitive and childish. Repetition is part of our life and is part of true love. Marriage and family are filled with many little acts of love repeated day in and day out. Do little children get tired of telling their parents that they love them – of giving them a kiss or a hug? Do parents get tired of receiving and giving such gestures of affection – even if they happen many times in one day? Of course not. We are the children of God and of Mary– we must not be like stubborn adolescents who are ashamed to show affection to their parents. It is true that the Rosary is simple. But family members do not need sophisticated words to express their love for one another – they know each other inside and out so a few simple words of affection will say a lot.
The Month of October is dedicated as a month to the Rosary. If you do not say the Rosary often, I challenge you this month to make a special effort to rediscover this beautiful Christian prayer. If we can’t pray the whole Rosary, let us say at least a decade. Or pray a full five decades a couple times a week. One tradition is praying the Rosary together as a family. The rosary is a good prayer for both children and adults because it is simple, yet full of depth. There are several groups that pray the Rosary together in the parish – after Mass in the Morning, on Tuesday afternoon and various groups that meet in person’s homes. We will update the Parish website throughout the month of October with resources to help pray the Holy Rosary!
Pope Francis in 1985 had a experience that was monumental to his life. I will share a shortened version of what he said : “One evening I went a Rosary that was being led by the Holy Father – John Paul II. He was in front of everybody, on his knees.….little by little, I got lost in prayer….looking at the figure of the Pope… I began to imagine the young priest, the seminarian, the poet, the worker, the child from Wadowice… reciting Hail Mary after Hail Mary…. His witness struck me…..And I became aware of the depth of the words of the Mother of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego: “Don’t be afraid, am I not perhaps your mother?” From that time on I recite the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary every day.”
If Pope Francis as busy as he is can say 15 decades every day, we can do 5.