Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October, Month of the Rosary

Full disclosure: I'm stealing this from Father Mike's homily during the Mass to open the PREP (or CCD for us old-school types) semester. In my experience, stealing someone else's work is the highest form of flattery.

There is so much to be said about the Rosary. It's literally a weapon given to us by Our Lady. I can't say enough about it, but Fr. Mike said it better than I ever could. He talked about something that I never before considered. When we reflect on the mysteries, do we ever stop to reflect on how they mirror our own lives? As an aside, he was speaking to parents of children and was using the Joyful Mysteries as the example. The Annunciation is the same joy we felt when we found out we were going to be parents. The Visitation is when we wanted to tell everyone the good news. The Nativity is obviously to joy at the birth of our own child. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is paralleled beautifully in the Sacrament of Baptism.

How amazing! I never thought to reflect on my own life while praying the Rosary. But how fitting, to see our own lives in the journey of  Christ through the Rosary, which is essentially a journey through Holy Scripture. I started thinking about all the times that I felt close to Christ through that filter. I saw my sufferings in the Sorrowful Mysteries. I saw the great gifts of grace I received throughout my life in the Luminous Mysteries. I felt the hope of the Resurrection promise in the triumphant moments of the Glorious Mysteries.

This new view really inspired me to appreciate the Rosary in a whole new way. I just wanted to finish this up with my two favorite recent revelations about praying the Rosary. The first is that it's contemplative. I think when people first engage the Rosary, they see it as repetitive. I know I fell into that trap. An exercise that bestowed grace, but something that was to be completed. A task that I needed to get through, like push-ups. Essentially saying, I'll be happier with myself when they are done. What I found though was that the repetition settled my mind and let me think deeper thoughts, to hear things that one can only here when his or her soul is quiet. The second revelation is that praying the Rosary is a form of Lectio Divina.

The what now?! Allow me to explain if this is a new term. Lectio Divina is an ancient Catholic practice, that dates back to the early Middle Ages. The most basic explanation is that one uses a reading from the Bible as the backbone of his or her prayer. The best analogy I've heard is that it's the foundation of our prayer skyscraper. You don't build the penthouse first. I know from my personal experience, and from what I've heard for others, that it's hard to go right into the highest form of prayer, which is conversation with God. Sure, we can talk to God, but conversation is also listening. Many people get discouraged when they don't hear God in prayer. The problem is that we're not tuned in to listen to him. Think of your own earthly experience. It's hard to listen to someone until you're prepared to listen. My wife can try repeatedly to tell me something important while the Flyers are on, but there's little chance that I will even remotely begin to grasp what she is trying to tell me. But I digress. Let's tie this back into the Rosary. The Mysteries of the Rosary, as well as the majority of the prayers, are taken from scripture. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. If we want to hear what God is saying, we have his words right in front of us! By starting there, by focusing on how God speaks we can begin to tune in to hear his voice. God speaks to us first through written word, and then he speaks to us in conversation! For me, it's like reading the book before you go see the movie. Anyone who has read Lord of the Rings, knows how different your experience was of watching the movies than someone who had not.

I won't insult your intelligence by expounding any further on the just how wonderful the Rosary is. I know you know how to use Google. But do yourself a favor and do some homework on this collection of 5 prayers, set in 5 decades in 4 sets of mysteries. It is so simple, yet so profound.

No comments:

Post a Comment