Takes too long. Don’t know it. None of my people do it. I already pray. 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! I thought.
And then as I got older, I continued to postpone thinking about the Rosary until I had made it to some other life stage where I had more time on my hands. Maybe in my 80’s. Probably 90’s.
But a little over two years ago (while in my 30’s, no less!), 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, perhaps?
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 while on a run. And then I thought about it a little more when I got home. 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, adults younger than 90. 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 Joyful 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 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? Who can I pray for that struggles with this or has been affected by this sort of thing?
This “conversation” ushers us into a meditative prayer-state that scientific 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 also 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 bawled the first time I said the 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 literally, physically feel a portion of my close ones’ 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 fresh, intense hurt or one that goes way back. It may be spending our precious time and energy focusing on the negative situations and people in our lives. It may be general 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.
Are you thinking that all of this sounds like a public service ad for the Rosary? Well, it is! My own personal version! And you make a good point — it IS just in time for making those Lenten promises! Think of it this way- if you vow to pray the Rosary for Lent, you get back that chocolate/coffee/wine you were ready to sacrifice. I see I’ve got your attention now.
And to make it even easier for you to get started if you so choose, I’m offering that simple, modern, plain-language ebook guide to praying the Rosary I told you about, titled Grace, Please: An Easy-to-Follow, Daily Guide for Changing Your Life through the Power of the Rosary . . . for FREE, from Ash Wednesday through the First Sunday of Lent (March 1 through March 5, 2017). All you have to do is click the link above, 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 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. I’m excited for you and I know that you’ll have your own story of how God blesses you abundantly in a way that speaks to just you and your heart. How lucky are we to have this opportunity? I’ll be praying for each and every one of you reading this and considering it.
God Bless you this Lent and, oh — enjoy those fish sandwiches.
Copyright 2017 Piper Scheck
About the Author: “Piper Scheck” is the Catholic pen name of a wife, mother, 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.