In the next few posts I would like to go over some “stuff” that is peculiar to Catholicism. Each post will focus on a particular prayer, devotion, or practice that my wife and I were introduced to as we gradually accepted the Catholic faith. Today’s topic is the rosary. I’d like to go over the Rosary in general, tell you what it is and why you should pray it. Admittedly, I do not pray the Rosary as often as I would like, but I hope that something in this post will inspire us all (myself included!) to make praying the Rosary a normal part of our lives.
The Rosary looks like a kind of necklace to the uninitiated. Each of the 59 beads on the Rosary corresponds to a particular prayer: the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be, the Fatima prayer, and the Apostles Creed. The Hail Mary is, by far, the predominant prayer of the Rosary with 50 of the 59 beads. As we pray, we are asking our Lady to pray with and for us to God.
So why so much focus on Mary? Aren’t Christians supposed to be focused on God alone? Isn’t the Rosary gross idolatry? These were all questions I had to deal with on my journey. The answer? Mary doesn’t distract from Christ but she can bring him into focus. Think of it this way, no one would have known Jesus better than his own mother!
So, how can Mary bring Jesus “into focus.” I like the analogy of a camera because, as you pray the rosary, you are predominantly meditating on events in the life of Jesus. These mysteries, as they are called, focus on events such as the nativity of the Lord, the proclamation of the kingdom of Heaven, the crucifixion, and the resurrection to name a few. As you pray through each mystery, you invoke the prayers of Jesus’s mother; the very person who would have experienced many of these events alongside her son. What better vantage point could you ask for than that of our Lord’s own mother?!
So…what are you waiting for? Pick up a rosary and give it a try. Whether you’re Catholic or not, invoking our Heavenly Mother’s prayers is one of the surest ways to grow in relationship with her divine son.
Peace be with you!
P. S. If you would like to learn more about the rosary, check out Fr. Rocky’s great Catholic 101 videos. His work partially inspired this post.