If you were raised in the Catholic Church sometime in the last 800 years, you are likely at least passingly familiar with the Rosary. Though it is a story of an evolution in method, its purpose and value has remained throughout.
The word Rosary itself comes from the latin word rosarium, which means rose garden.
When I was a child, my family gathered together every evening to pray the Rosary. There was a Catholic movement from the US at the time with the slogan: "The family that prays together, stays together." Sadly, that movement disappeared, but not because it was wrong.
Sometime, over 20 years ago, I felt the need to start praying the rosary daily again. In thinking about it, I realise that I have said the rosary about 7,500 times since then. That's over 400,000 Hail Mary's and copious quantities of the other prayers that are part of the Rosary.
And, you know what. I never get bored of it. In fact, I learn new things praying all the time, and even more than that, the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, which we ask for in the Hail Mary has drawn me closer to her Son, Jesus, and has filled me with admiration for her faithfulness to Him.
Let's face it. No matter how you cut it, Mary is the mother of our Saviour. If anyone can get the Saviour's attention, she can. If anyone knows Jesus and His Sacred Heart, it is bound to be His mother. I know, for my protestant brethren and sisteren, we can pray directly to Jesus, and I do every day.
If you went to your mother and asked her over 400,000 times to pray for you now and at the hour of your death, do you think she would say no? Heck, I could get my earthly mom to do something for me after just a few tries. But, in praying for Our Blessed Mother's intercession this is not about a piece of pie, or an extra glass of milk we are talking about. We are talking about ETERNAL SALVATION here.
The history of the Rosary and its efficacy is a beautiful story. But, this morning I wanted to do some research on the Rosary. I could pray it forever not knowing more than I know now for reasons that I hope to articulate some day soon, but I was interested in what some wise people of the Catholic Church had to say about it.
Mary appeared at Fatima in Portugal. Sister Lucia is the oldest of those children who saw her there, and is a devoted lover of Our Blessed Mother, and her son Jesus.
She said: "The most Holy Virgin, in these last times in which we live, has given new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary, to such an extent that there is no problem – no matter how difficult it is, temporal or especially spiritual – in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of religious communities, or even of the life of the peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Rosary."
I believe it. NO PROBLEM too difficult that praying the Rosary cannot resolve it. I have seen my life of faith and love grow by leaps and bounds, and I attribute a great deal of it to praying the Rosary faithfully.
In addition, Blessed Alan de la Roche, a holy man of the 1400's, was given by Our Blessed Mother the following promises to Christians who recite the rosary:
- "You shall obtain all that you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary."
- "All those who propagate the Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities."
- "I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for their intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of their death.’
I can tell you that in my life, I have good reason to believe these promises. They have come true so many times for me that I have lost count.
I invite all of you who read this blog to try praying the Rosary, or increase your praying of the Rosary.
There is so much more to the Rosary, the meaning of each of the prayers themselves, the meaning of the 4 sets of mysteries that we pray, the fruits of each of those mysteries, even the meaning of the first prayer of the Rosary, the Sign of the Cross. Knowledge of the beauty of all of those things comes from praying the Rosary. But praying the Rosary itself requires only a mustard seed of faith in the love of Jesus for us all, and His love for His Mother.