Rosarii Recitatio! (Pray the Rosary!)
If you’re Catholic, you’ve probably heard about a special prayer devoted to Mary called the rosary. The rosary consists of several recited prayers including the Our Father, Hail Mary, the Glory Be, and a few other prayers that Catholics (and even Christians) grow up saying regularly. When I was in grade school and on into high school, I thought praying the rosary was boring. Whenever I had to recite it, I would say it as fast as I could so I could get onto other things. As I graduated high school and went on to college, I began praying this prayer often to assist me in overcoming a vice I had developed in my life. Now, as a senior in college, I’ve largely overcome that vice and realize how powerful the praying of the rosary can be. But, it wasn’t through reciting rosaries as fast as I could that opened my heart up to God’s graces, allowing me to overcome sin, but rather through meditation upon the mysteries, which are recalled in the rosary. That daily meditation helped me to realize my faults and failures throughout each day and help me think of ways to succeed in the future. Some of you might be confused though. Meditating during the rosary? How does that work? Or even, how would thinking about the mysteries of the rosary help me to become a better person?
First off, if you want to get more out of praying the rosary when reciting the words, think about the mystery that was announced at the beginning of that decade. For example, recently when I was praying the joyful mysteries and meditating on the 5th mystery (The Finding of Jesus in the Temple), I remember reading in the Bible that Mary, “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Because of that phrase, I wondered if Mary took all that happened that day (or for those three days over which she and Joseph were looking Jesus) and, instead of being angry at Jesus, she internalized the situation and thought about it on a deeper level. She may have been thinking, “Okay, I’ve just been missing my son for three days. I was worried sick along with my husband. And then all of a sudden, we find Him in the temple and he says ‘Didn’t you know I would be [here]?’ I could be angry right now, but You Lord have some purpose for this. So I’m going to internalize this and think about it some more. Help me to understand it on a deeper level Lord, as You do.”
Now, the second step is to apply these thoughts about the mysteries to your daily life. Continuing with the above example, on the same day that this meditation occurred, I had been in an argument with my girlfriend. I’m not going to get into the details, but shortly after the argument, I was praying the rosary and thought to internalize what had just happened. And then I prayed about it, asking the Lord to help my girlfriend and me work through our problems. Additionally, I could have continued to be angry, but instead, as I wonder if Mary did with Jesus, I found a sense of peace about the whole thing.
The last step is to let those thoughts about your daily life affect your actions in the future.
This is the hard part. You really have to make an effort to do this. I recommend making your commitment to act as something practical and something to which you can hold yourself accountable. Continuing on with the above example, because of that meditation,
I could take into consideration why we got into an argument including my actions leading up to that point. Then, I would be sure to not let my actions culminate in that manner again, and, if I see myself headed in that direction, to talk to my girlfriend about it before getting angry.
A couple pointers for this process:
1) I recommend writing down your meditations after each decade. With life as crazy as it is, we often forget things that we think about during our daily lives. Writing our thoughts down helps us to internalize them more and have them affect our future decisions and actions.
2) When making “resolutions to act” based on your meditation, stick to one resolution per rosary. I’ve found that, if you make more than one, you end up doing none. But, if you choose one, you’re more likely to follow through with it.
Lastly, keep in mind that everyone’s meditations are going to be different based upon one’s own unique life. So, don’t compare yourself to others in this meditation process.
Rather, through the Church and Mary’s intercession, let your own personal meditations form your daily life.
Moral of the story…Rosarii Recitatio.