When I think of the Rosary, I recall the words of Padre Pio, “Where is my weapon?” Spiritual warfare is a constant and ongoing reality in which the Rosary is one of our greatest weapons.
The Rosary is not just plastic, stone, and chain by which we measure our prayer. It is much more. It is a God-given spiritual weapon that draws us closer to God Who is Father Son and Holy Spirit. By enacting this gift, we are able to join God in overcoming evil. We do well not to forget that angels and demons are real and that demons do pursue the destruction of our God-given faith. These prayers cause them to flee. With the Rosary, other prayers such as the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel (http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/the-saint-michael-prayer.html) form a potent prayer arsenal.
More than a merely defensive weapon, the Rosary contains a power and strength that is much greater than we dare to imagine. It is a power and strength by which we become more fully united to the Divine Heart of Jesus. His suffering and our suffering, His Love and our love, his resurrection and our resurrection are intertwined unto our benefit.
The Rosary shows us God’s victory as it applies to our lives. It may seem to be a victory that only lasts for a moment before we are brought back to so many daily tasks. Less visible, but always present, is the eternal victory which has already occurred. Contemplating the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth is a step in witnessing what is to come. By seeing Jesus place a crown on Mary’s head as she kneels before the throne of God, as all the angels and saints look on with great joy and love, we gain but a glimpse of how great it all is and will be for us. (For the Scriptural bases of this mystery see http://www.theworkofgod.org/Devotns/Rosary/scriptures_glorious_mysteries.htm#CORONATION%20OF%20OUR%20LADY.)
To pray the rosary is to experience victory through suffering, love, mercy, compassion, and humility. Where I once resigned myself to hold back or refrain in faith, the mysteries of the Rosary have helped me to open my heart to God and His promise. (For a full list of the mysteries with links to their Scriptural bases see http://www.theworkofgod.org/Devotns/Rosary/scrpture.htm.) By contemplating the mysteries, my hope that all people can realize the Love and Mercy of God, especially those who have run the furthest from Him, is strengthened. The mysteries reveal a gift given not only to our family, friends, and other people of faith, but also offered to anyone and everyone regardless of the darkness they have accepted and embraced.
While it can sometimes be difficult to find a connection between some of the mysteries and our personal lives, I have found the sorrowful mysteries to be the most vivid. For me, they are the most difficult and saddening because of the pain Jesus underwent, but also the most satisfying. When I bring my personal struggles to God in the sorrowful mysteries, with the hope of God’s goodness for others, I am always moved by His gentle acceptance and warming Love.
Regardless of our ability or even our inability to delve into each mystery, there is always something we can grasp by which we are drawn closer to God. For the longest time I had minimal insight into the Proclamation of the Kingdom. And then, just by listening to Jesus say, “The Kingdom of God is at Hand,” joy and peace flowed abundantly. These words are as true today as the day when Jesus spoke them. I later realized that part of this mystery is the preparation for the doors of Heaven to be opened wide to mankind through God’s great mercy. Those doors will never be closed again.
In terms of the technique of the Rosary, saying the Hail Mary 10 times between each mystery accomplishes several goals. First, this is a wonderful prayer that should be repeated just because the words are so rich and peaceful. We are calling upon the aid of Mary and the angels and saints, asking them to pray with and for us. Together, we go to the Father through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ in prayerful communion. When we say “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death,” we place ourselves on the prayer list of God’s own mother. She prays with us and for us, intervening on our behalf when we are most in need.
It may not always be evident to us, but God understands how difficult our lives are and will be. He wants us to look to Him for help. The words of these prayers are about hope and the unity of His children as a family that loves and worships God together. We use them to recommit ourselves to God and actively accept His willingness to help us.
The Rosary is also a prayer of power by which, if we remain patient and quiet enough, we can actually realize its effects upon our lives. This may be by recognizing how we begin to respond differently to various influences of this world. We can also experience a renewal of heart-felt warmth by which we are moved to help others, or turn to the power of prayer when we are exhausted. We might even feel God’s love elevate our mind, heart, and soul as He reveals tiny amounts of what is yet to come in the eternal life toward which we are walking in hope.
By repeating the Hail Mary 10 times, we are helped to quiet ourselves internally and focus on God, His presence, and the community of the Angels and Saints with Mary. In doing so, we are able to delve deeper into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we are calm and focused, our meditation on the mysteries becomes clearer. We are then able to visualize specific features in each mystery, and in doing so, enter even more deeply into the life of Jesus.
For example, the next time you meditate upon the scourging at the pillar, imagine Jesus’ blood flowing down His body and onto the ground. Visualize the darkening tone of His blood as it mixes with sand and stone upon the cobblestones. By finding new levels of detail, we are brought more deeply into the moment, and our own humanity and vulnerability becomes more evident. This recollection not only allows us to see moments of Jesus’ life as Mary does, it also reveals who we are as children of God. By the power of His love given us in this moment of prayer, we are able to more clearly recognize, and thereby act upon, our God-given compassion and caring. God’s love is the ultimate foundation of our goodness.
Every time we pray the Rosary, we actually pray with & beside Mary to God the Father in and through Jesus Christ. This is a moment in which we are present to God. In His presence, God brings us to new levels of flourishing each time we pray the Rosary. This change resonates throughout our entire lives and provides us with a new and richer perspective. We see in ways more fully with human, because we have been allowed to look upon the suffering, beauty, and victory of Jesus in His Love and Mercy.
Chris Wira grew up in Hanover, NH within St Denis Parish, earned an Economics Degree from the University of New Hampshire, and then moved to Los Angeles as a musician. After recording seven albums, both classical and rock n’ roll, he has returned to the upper valley.