The month of October is dedicated to the Mother of God as patroness of those who pray the rosary. By this is meant that the Mother of God, in her role as heavenly friend and intercessor for the disciples of Jesus, prays with the Church as the faithful pray the rosary. Our prayer is her prayer and she makes our petitions her own.
Yesterday, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and thus in two extraordinary ways, by dedicating the month of October and honoring Our Lady of the Rosary with a special day, the Church is signaling to us the importance of the rosary as a method of prayer.
The rosary is a prayer of repetition, which means that prayers are repeated and through these efforts the soul is brought to stillness and recollection. Through the repetition of the prayers of the rosary, we become accustomed to patterns of breathing and speaking that are of the Holy Spirit. It is hoped that through our acclamation to these Spirit directed patterns of breathing and speaking in prayer, our habits of speaking in ordinary conversation might be influenced and transformed. We might learn to speak to and of the Lord Jesus with regularity and our speech might become ever more conformed to his way of speaking.
The rosary is also a prayer of recollection, by which the mind and imagination are directed towards the great mysteries or revelations of the God in Christ. We are invited to become as intimate with these revelations or mysteries as the Mother of God is and like the Mother of God become bearers of the revelation of God in Christ into the world.
All the prayers of the rosary and the mysteries that are evoked in the performance of the rosary prayer originate or have reference points in the Scriptures. As such, the rosary is a biblical form of prayer, for through it, the events of God’s revelation in Christ, as they are presented in the scriptures are evoked, remembered, and in the public recitation of the rosary, proclaimed.
The rosary can be prayed privately or publicly and as a prayer it is eminently transportable- the rosary can be prayed almost anywhere and at anytime.
The rosary is treasured by the Church and its endurance over many centuries has happened, not because it has been imposed on people, but because the faithful themselves find in the rosary prayer great consolation and spiritual benefit. During this month of October, I encourage those who prayer the rosary to continue the practice and to help introduce people to the rosary prayer. If as a prayer, the rosary has helped you, give that gift to someone else who might be searching to deepen their own experience of prayer. We have a natural disposition to pray, but we learn to pray from one another. Sharing your positive experiences of prayer helps others to deepen their relationship with Christ and builds up the Body of the Church.
To those who have not prayed the rosary for some time, I encourage you to rediscover the practice. The rosary is not a thing of the past that was discarded by the Church so as to bring us all spiritually up to date. It is precisely this attitude that has deprived many people of the opportunity to know Christ as a greater level of depth and hindered the Church’s in its missionary resolve. Instead, the rosary brings us, into relationship with Christ, who lives and acts through his Church to make his presence known and share his life with us.
Praying the rosary helps us to better know the Lord Jesus, which is the end towards which our lives as disciples are directed.
The Mother of God can only lead us to her Divine Son and this is the great dynamism of the rosary prayer- Christ’s mother, acting to lead us to Christ, witnessing to his revelation, teaching us who he is, bringing us to stillness in prayer so that we might be attentive and receptive to Him.