Last week, October 7th, hundreds of thousands of Poles gathered along the border of Poland to pray for peace and the salvation of the world. This event occurred on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This event was an amazing testament to the importance of prayer, and in particular, the prayer of the Rosary.
I was taught the Rosary by my mother when I was growing up, and I would often see my great aunts, who were of Croatian descent, pray the Rosary
during quiet times up on the Iron Range of Minnesota.
It was during my college years, on the plains of North Dakota, where I learned how to not just “say” the Rosary, but how to truly “pray” the Rosary. Like many Catholics, I was under the impression that the Rosary prayer was merely a recitation of formulaic prayers (and sometimes a sleep aid if you couldn’t fall asleep). It was not until I joined a group of young Catholics at the Newman Center (next to NDSU) that I learned how to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary.
The Rosary is a prayer that enters into the very heart of salvation, for it is through the Rosary where a person focuses his or her mind on the very mysteries of God’s merciful love. While the verbal prayers are being said aloud, the mind of the person at prayer focuses on one of twenty events that are called “mysteries.” These “mysteries” are important events in the life of Jesus Christ and are categorized into four sets of five:
· The Joyful Mysteries (Annunciation, Visitation, Birth of Jesus, Presentation, and Finding of Jesus in the Temple)
· The Luminous Mysteries (Baptism of Jesus, Wedding at Cana, Proclamation of the Kingdom, Transfiguration, and Institution of the Eucharist)
· Sorrowful Mysteries (Agony in the Garden, Scourging, Crowning of Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion and Death)
· Glorious Mysteries (Resurrection, Ascension, Descent of the Holy Spirit, Assumption of Mary, and Coronation of Mary)
The idea is that while a person recites the prescribed “Our Father” and ten “Hail Mary” prayers, the mind is
remembering these events, focusing on what they mean, “seeing” them in his or her mind, noticing the events and what they mean for each person on a personal level, and how God might be calling the person at prayer to
understand His love for them again.
The Rosary is one of the most universal and yet personal prayers that the Church has ever received. I encourage all of you to pray the Rosary on a daily basis. If you do not know how to pray the Rosary, or it has been a while, there are many resources in books and online. Pray this prayer individually and even as a family. Make this prayer a regular encounter with the love of God for you.
Our Lady of the Rosary...pray for us.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte