Don’t knock the Rosary till you try it

The Rosary is not what you think. Well. Since most of the readers of this blog actually are Catholic, it probably is what you think. But for Protestants coming from a stereotyped perspective like I have, it’s not what you think. I prayed my first rosary only three nights ago with Chris. We decided to do this after a particularly trying day where the kids were running around screaming, I was constantly pressed to thwart Chris Jr.’s life-risking escapades, and Isabel had more than one fit lasting too long for stubbornly refusing to say “please”. Days like that make me feel like I’m either working in an insane asylum or I’m losing my own mind. I get lost and dejected. It’s hard to focus and keep your patience with tedious, boring, and thankless work. I had half a mind that a better devotional life would help, so that night Chris busted out the rosary and we prayed.

I went into this, even in my converted state, thinking that Marian devotees and the rosary in particular were very superstitious. I hear people say that Mary will not fail to save those who are devoted to her, and that the rosary will “obtain” all sorts of miracles or favors. Before we started, Chris told me that the rosary is the most powerful devotion in the Church. I was skeptical. It sounded like some sort of holy spell casting or something. It turns out I didn’t understand the rosary at all.

Chris has printed off the New Advent rosary instructions, which we used and I highly recommend. Each day, there are five different mysteries that we meditate on while praying the five different decades of the rosary. I knew about the mysteries, but didn’t really understand how it worked. The New Advent page lists the mysteries and gives Scripture readings for each, which I love. Reading these scenes from the life of Christ beforehand help me recall things lost in time and memory. Surprise! It is Christ-centered. As a result, we were praying, not only to Mary, but also praying the “Our Father”, “Glory Be”, and “Oh My Jesus”, contemplating the person of Christ, who we are in Him, and our relation to Mary as our Mother since as adopted sons and daughters of God we are like Christ to her. This is more profound than I ever could have imagined! We better understand who Mary is by contemplating Christ and vice versa, and begin to understand our own place in life.

For instance, in the sorrowful mysteries, the first of which is the agony of Our Lord in the garden, Christ is facing horrible suffering and tells God the Father, “Nevertheless, not my will but your will be done.” Following Christ’s example, we begin to understand how our surrender to God’s will is a divine thing, especially in the face of suffering. Praying the Hail Mary while meditating on this reveals more of who Mary is–truly the Mother of God–an acknowledgment of Christ’s divine person, not some assertion that Mary created God.

I could go on rather incoherently explaining more of my contemplations during the rosary, but if you want to understand it, try it. I tend to think the best effects of devotional prayer are that it focuses our minds on the things of God and aligns our will with His will. That is the power of the rosary. I can definitely see how done daily it will change your life, not because it contains hocus pocus, but because faith changes you and the rosary is a tool of faith. Irenaeus (the commenter on this blog, NOT the Church Father) said once that the rosary is addictive, and I think I might already be addicted.

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10 Responses to Don’t knock the Rosary till you try it

  1. lenetta says:

    Welcome to the club! :>)

  2. stirenaeus says:

    By Irenaeus, she means me, of course, not my namesake, who lived in the second century, well before the rosary as such was introduced. That said…

    I’ve been procrastinating on praying a rosary for a friend, and now I’ve run across your post reminding me to get off the net and go do it. Providence?

  3. Stacey says:

    LOL oops… I was typing as my mind works, not as people read! Thanks for the correction.

  4. stirenaeus says:

    No real correction meant; I comment eough I’m sure folks knew what you meant.

  5. Tap says:

    The Irenaeus thing threw me off, I thought perhaps your readings had lead you to a new (unheard) patristic discovery, until i read the comments, Lol

  6. Stacey says:

    Ah hahaha… Chris was giving me grief about that earlier. “You’re such a woman! You don’t pay attention to if others can follow you.” šŸ˜›

  7. cyurkanin says:

    Ditto – welcome to the club!

  8. agellius says:

    I have found that praying the rosary in the morning, usually during my commute, makes the difference between a good day and a bad day. I don’t mean to use it as a charm or anything like that; it just happens that way. It started one year when I decided to pray the rosary daily during Lent. After Lent was over I kept doing it daily for a while, but eventually stopped. Then one day when I was particularly frazzled heading into work, and not knowing how I was going to cope with the stresses of my job, I decided praying the rosary might help. I did it and despite the day being as busy as I suspected it would turn out to be, I was not overwhelmed or freaked out by stress.

    The next day I didn’t pray the rosary and was stressed out. The day after, I prayed the rosary and was able to bear my stresses with equanimity.

    After so much experimental evidence I am now convinced that praying the rosary gets me through the day and preserves my sanity.

  9. Stacey says:

    agellius,

    It’s not a charm, like you say, and I think a lot of non-rosary praying people must think that those who do pray it use it as a charm, simply because it does get results. Of course, the results may be from a change in us, in our attitude, and focusing on God, or from an answer to prayer, through our prayer to God and through Mary’s intersession. Good stuff, either way!

  10. lenetta says:

    Linked. :>) Whenever I drive somewhere beyond the three minute trek to the farm, I try to pray the Rosary. Especially on mornings when I feel anxious for one reason or another (or stressed out by trying to get a 2YO out the door . . . we had quite a potty standoff last week!) the Rosary really puts it in perspective. (“You think YOU have problems???” I tell myself. “Jesus was CRUCIFIED for YOU. Now buck up!” Works every time.)

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