Note: This article was sent to me by a Priest in India with whom I keep in touch. He has written many articles in his native language and wanted to share this with us.
The Rosary to Contemplate
October is the month of the Rosary
By Brother John Singarayar, S.V.D. – The Priest, 10/1/2011
Prayer is an intimate experience, based on a personal I–Thou relationship. It is a living communication between two persons approaching each other in love and freedom. As a form of Marian prayer, the Rosary has been repeatedly commended by the Holy Mother Church to contemplate the mysteries of Christ from annunciation to resurrection. Here, by mentioning contemplation, I mean that it is the source of the transformation of people who bear values and signs of the Kingdom of God in their lives and who proclaim the experience of Jesus Christ to others by loving, serving and living.
Development: The Rosary prayer was not the result of a single inspiration, nor was it instituted at anytime in a definite and complete form. It came gradually into being as the result of a slow process of growth. Over the course of time it has been subjected to many adaptations, changes, additions and omissions. Its development has been considerably influenced by profane factors. It forms an intimate part of our spiritual and physical make up. Exterior and Interior: First and foremost, prayer is always an event which takes place interiorly in the soul. What happens exteriorly is also prayer, but only insofar as it is an externalization of the prayerful attitude of the soul. The external muttering of the Hail Mary is indeed prayer. As the result of various inquiries, it has been recognized that the muttered, external prayer of the Rosary certainly encourages internal prayer when it is quietly contemplative, unrestrained, emotional and affective.
Free Form of Prayer: The Rosary is a comparatively free form of prayer. We sometimes concentrate our attention on the Hail Mary itself, and its content. Subsequently, we let our mind dwell on the mystery of the same decade. If our attention should wander away from the mystery, the regularity of the constantly repeated formula will spontaneously draw our mind back to the content of the prayer itself.
A Living Experience: Prayer is a living experience, a life of faith, hope and charity to which we must do justice even when we are feeling tired. There is a romantic conception of the rosary that may form the real climax of a concentrated life of prayer, and it truly is a climax for many people. The Rosary is a most commendable form of prayer. It is particularly suitable for those occasions when one’s spirit is worn out, uninterested and lacking energy.
A Blessing: Many Christians are anxious to pray the Rosary often and at the same time well. If that is accomplished, then the Rosary could also be an instrument enabling the soul to make authentic mystical flights at the highest point of such spiritual experience. The beads will slip from the fingers, and the prayer will become purely interior. In this case, the Rosary will serve its purpose. Yes, it is a blessing for many.
A Valuable Form of Prayer: The Rosary animates and constantly renews Christians’ awareness of being in God’s presence even when their spirits are dull and arid and their thoughts distracted. Since we all find ourselves in this sort of situation again and again during the course of our worldly lives, the Rosary will always be a valuable form of prayer for all of us who pursue the Christian life.
Unification of Wills: When we use the Rosary we should allow God to stir us and to penetrate the whole of our being. The essence of every act of prayer is to make our will conform to God’s will. In the case of the Rosary, this is accomplished by a murmuring, almost silent blending of wills.
Dogma and Doctrine: The value of the prayer of the Rosary is found in its concentration on the saving mystery of the Redemption. It was Christ who brought this redemption, but Mary is actively present in an associated manner with the whole of this historical order of salvation. The Rosary is a synthetic Christological creed, a symbol or compendium of dogma and doctrine, in the form of a prayer of meditation, a summary in prayer of the whole of the dogma of the Redemption.
Redemption, Center of the Rosary: The Rosary is clearly a most important weapon for the instruction of the Church community in Christian dogma. The dogmatic faith of the believing community can be confirmed through prayer. In prayer we are able to go back into the past and put ourselves in Mary’s position. The Rosary enables us to follow her development, the growth of her life. In faith and hope we are able to experience all the phases of the mystery of Christ, to proceed from the joys of Mother and her Child, to go beyond the sufferings endured by the Redeemer and His mother and eventually to reach the point where we share in Mary’s happiness in her Son’s victory and triumph. Christ’s redemption is at the center of this Marian prayer. Realization of the Human Condition: God entered the world of humanity, and He not only shared in humanity’s fundamental situation but also provided it with its ultimate phase, thus giving it an entirely new interpretation of human life, death and resurrection. This basic theme of the human condition is seen in the prayer of the Rosary.
Family Prayer: The Rosary plays a vital role in family prayer. It is prayed at home by all the members of the family. What the Rosary does is to lead the whole family. During the praying of the Rosary together, the family is exposed to God. This is a time of special grace when individual members assemble to recite the Rosary together as a family unit. The family experiences God as its unifying factor. The family ties of love become firmer, and the members are more conscious of these ties as being characteristic of the family.
Conclusion: The Rosary seems to me to be not so much the reverse of an activating factor in our spiritual life as it is a reverberation of the life of prayer. It generates fresh spiritual energy in a mind that is quiet, peaceful and perhaps even fatigued. If we, the priests, present it to the young people of today in this light, we will be able to emphasize the Rosary’s lasting value.
FATHER SINGARAYAR, S.V.D. has since been ordained. He belongs to the India Mumbai Province of the Society of the Divine Word, and is also pursuing a masters in archeology. Fr. Saingarayar has written many articles in Catholic journals in India.