Takes too long. Don’t know it. None of my people do it. And these were the excuses I sold myself as an adult! Growing up, I thought we kids were off the hook from learning the Rosary in the same manner as we enjoyed our Friday Lenten cheeseburgers while our parents suffered through their fish sandwiches. Not me, not now! Maybe in my 80s. Probably 90s.
But a little over a year ago, inspired by a dear friend with a beautiful dedication to the Blessed Mother, I said out loud, “Mary, I don’t know you very well. I’d think I’d like to get to know you better.”
Boy – talk about a good set of ears on that one.
A 96-page booklet retelling the story of Our Lady of Fatima appeared in my mailbox, probably since I gave a couple bucks here, a couple bucks there, to Catholic mail campaigns, I thought. I read the whole booklet cover to cover, that night, while my kids watched a movie. It read like the most exciting novel!
Do you know the story? The gist is that Mary appears to three young Portuguese children on the 13th of every month from May to October 1917. During the apparitions, the Blessed Mother tells the children to pray, pray, pray (specifically the Rosary) to save themselves and the world, but nobody believes the kids! And then, as their parents and townspeople begin to believe, a local government official kidnaps the kids and threatens to put them in a vat of boiling oil if they don’t say they’re lying about the apparitions. Terrifying!
I won’t spoil the story too much, but everything the Blessed Mother predicts will happen does happen, including a major, unexplainable solar event, which 100,000 people are witness to, including a photographer for the largest newspaper in Portugal. His pictures of the event can be found on the web today. Incredible. Amazing. Unexplainable. Recognized by the Vatican.
I think I need to learn about this Rosary, I conclude.
I scoured the web for a good resource I could print up that would explain in very straightforward, modern terms how to pray the Rosary. Maybe even a colorful ebook I could download and have on my Kindle and phone?
But I didn’t really find one that fit that description. So, having written a couple of other books, I thought about this for a minute. And then I thought about it a little more. And then later that day, I began writing a Rosary guide that fit the description of what I myself was looking for. I don’t think I need to further convince you how much of a Rosary expert I am not. Which is actually the point!
An-y-one can pray the Rosary! Yes, busy people. Yes, definitely kids! Yes, non-Catholics, come on! You, too! Mary invites all of God’s children to pray the Rosary and enjoy the very special graces, protection and blessings that come along with doing so.
Here are the basics for those who would appreciate a little plain-language introduction or refresher:
The Rosary consists of four categories of “Mysteries,” or set of biblical stories, about the life of Jesus and His Mother. The Joyous Mysteries are about Jesus’ birth and childhood. The Luminous Mysteries are about Jesus’ preaching and adult life. The Sorrowful Mysteries are about the events leading up to and including Jesus’ Crucifixion. The Glorious Mysteries are about Jesus’ Ascension and His Mother’s Assumption.
There’s a different Mystery theme assigned to each day of the week. Each theme gets repeated twice during the week, except for the Luminous Mysteries, which are said only on Thursdays.
Each Mystery theme contains five biblical (or Catholic doctrinal) stories. You say one “Our Father,” ten “Hail Marys” and one “Glory Be” between each Mystery, along with a few other special prayers at the beginning and end.
But here’s the trick: After you read through each Mystery, you then reflect and meditate on the story as you say the prayers. What does the story mean? How must have Jesus, Mary or the Apostles felt during that situation? How can I apply this story to my own life? What thought did that spark that I need to ask Jesus and Mary for help with?
This “conversation” ushers us into a meditative prayer-state that data proves positively affects our minds, bodies and souls. But you likely won’t need to see the data – you’ll know. It’s not easy to get there at first, but it does get easier as you pray the Rosary more and more. It happens quicker than you’d think.
And here’s what happens when you pray the Rosary even one time: you feel something. Something that’s different for each one of us, but something you’re sure you didn’t create on your own.
I cried the first time I said a Rosary; tears of happiness from feeling so close to Our Lord and Blessed Mother and tears of sadness for how we as humans treated Jesus while he was alive. Tears of compassion for Mary as she held Jesus’ body when he came down off the cross. Tears of amazement that I, in my old(er), stressed-out, over-scheduled life, so easily spent the 25 minutes going to this other, spiritual place mentally, and not only didn’t mind it, wanted badly to do it again the next day. And so I did. And the day after that. And then the day after that, too.
I’ve prayed the Rosary every day since then. And no, I’m not a sweet old lady or a saint, and I don’t have any extra time on my hands. I’m not particularly disciplined in the other areas of my life; my kids have chocolate all over their faces most of the time and I accidentally sin constantly.
Praying the Rosary is the one thing I want to do every day, because I got a good taste of what God’s grace feels like in real-life terms, and I want to get as much of it as often as I can. Now I know how good life can be and I don’t want to go back to the other way. My chest isn’t tight from worrying about my family. I can actually, literally feel my friends’ pain when they go through tough times and I’m better able to console them. I understand what true joy in the things God made feels like now, and I can say for certain I’d only had glimmers of general happiness in the past.
But those were my wonderful by-products; you’ll have yours, and they will be different from mine. So different and so custom-tailored to you, in fact, that you’ll know for sure that only God could be behind such a thing.
When we pray the Rosary, we are opening ourselves up to the close, unconditionally-loving relationship Jesus and Mary so deeply want with every one of us. And when we’re open, they can get to work on those things that have been keeping us from that close relationship in the past. It may be anxiety. It may be a deep hurt that goes way back. It may be busyness. It may be something we’re not even aware of, but they are. And they can start to heal it, whatever it is, when we pray this way.
So, yeah – I guess this IS a PSA for the Rosary! And yes, it is just in time for Lent! And yeah, I’m gonna put my money where my mouth is! I’m offering that simple, modern, plain-language ebook guide to praying the Rosary I told you about, titled:
…for FREE, through Friday, February 12. All you have to do is click the link to download, and you’ll have the ebook on your Kindle, smartphone, etc, forever. And if you like it, and you want to be led through the Rosary while you’re driving, walking, vacuuming or otherwise on the go, Rosary Army also has a great, straightforward audio version of the Rosary that you can download for free.
All it takes is praying the Rosary one time…you’ll see. God Bless you during Lent and enjoy the fish sandwiches!
About the Author: “Piper Scheck” is the Catholic pen-name of a wife, mother, part-time consultant and sometimes author who’s falling in love with this faith of ours more and more every day. She’s currently fighting her tendency to publically take credit for every piece of work she’s ever done so that this Rosary project spotlights whom it should… the Blessed Mother and Her Son. It’s so worth it, but oh, so hard for Piper. Ouch. Ow.