Disposed from childhood to praying the Rosary, it has grown with me over the years or perhaps it would be more true to say I’ve grown with it. A prayer for all seasons of life, it has been my mainstay. I think of the structure of the rosary, the saying of the beads as a kind of enclosure, creating and protecting a sacred space, a shelter, within which Mary and I meet with Jesus on a daily basis and she shows unto me the blessed fruit of her womb, JESUS. This is a place where our friendship has developed, has deepened, as I have come to understand the constancy of these two friends of mine and the depth of God’s love revealed to me through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The simple act of taking up the beads, by virtue of habit, now speaks to my mind, heart and body at a level below consciousness, perhaps somewhat akin to a dog being shown a leash! It helps centre my mind on what is coming. It concentrates my focus without my having to be other than who I am at this moment.
That’s one of the aspects of the Rosary that I love- its versatility. No matter how I am feeling at any particular moment, that emotion can be at home within the confines of the Rosary. Joyful, sorrowful, glorious and all the shades in between, from the moment of conception until our dying breath and beyond, all are received, welcomed, accepted and transformed through the Word made flesh who experienced it all before us and on our behalf, though He is without sin. I come as I am and Jesus comes as He is, all merciful and understanding. As I listen to Him speaking to me in the Scriptures as I meditate on the Mysteries, he brings his word to bear on the reality of my life, at this moment. At times what he has to say encourages, at other times it scolds. It comforts, it challenges, it enlightens, it guides. But He does all this in an atmosphere of total love and acceptance which never changes.
The quiet, rhythmic, repetition of the prayer, keeps the forefront of my mind occupied while a graced encounter with Jesus is happening at another level. Occasionally I move very quickly into a peaceful, silent repose, resting as it were on Jesus bosom- a tiny taste of the glory to come. Other times I spend the whole prayer time wrestling with the Word. If I am anxious or distressed, especially about someone else, I may recite all fifteen mysteries, enfolding others in the grace of the mysteries. The Rosary is a powerful intercessory prayer. In times of sorrow or ill health it can be a lifeline. Once for over a year I simply held my beads and moved them through my fingers and asked Mary to do my praying for me as night after night I played a tape of the recitation of the Rosary. Too weak to focus or think deeply, I clung to the sorrowful mysteries and offered my ill health in union with Jesus for the salvation of the world. I felt so safe and protected in those sorrowful mysteries, knowing once I remained united with Jesus in the Cross, I would experience the power of his Resurrection, a peace the world cannot give. More often I linger with the Word. A conversation of sorts ensues as I reflect on what Jesus is saying and respond to it. Our friendship deepens within the familiar confines of the recitation, moving from speech to silence, but never a silence of my own making- always one that emerges from the Word as Jesus draws me into a companiable silence. It is all about a relationship. In my Rosary Jesus takes the lead. I simply respond to the Word and allow him to take me where he wills. Of course at times I refuse to listen to him. Then I get all distracted and restless. Prayer becomes boring until I give in and pay attention, sometimes within minutes, sometimes days, weeks….. It is amazing how relentless Jesus is when He wants me to hear something. This exposure to the Word is essential to the Rosary. The Rosary is a meeting place with Jesus who transforms us through it, changing us into his likeness so that in him, through Him and with Him we may incarnate him in our world in the hope that we ourselves and all human kind may attain the glory of his resurrection and abide forever in the heart of the Trinity. The Rosary prayer sums it up and describes perfectly what happens when we pray the Rosary, this wonderful prayer.
O God whose only begotten Son by his life, death and resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of Eternal life. Grant we beseech Thee that meditating on these mysteries of the Most Holy rosary we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ Our Lord
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