Our Lady is pleading with the world to pray the Rosary! It seems so simple. Wars will end or be prevented. Hurricanes will shift direction. The knots in our lives will be undone. Conversions of the most stubborn will be accomplished. The salvation of souls and our ability to triumph over the evils of this world are within our grasp. The simple beads, simple prayers, and simple meditations pack a world-changing power!
Are you convinced? Is the prayer of the Rosary the one thing each day that makes you do a happy dance? Do you eagerly await the family prayer time: the lethargic, apathetic energy of your teens; the bickering over who gets to sit where or hold which rosary; the toddlers who are constantly a distraction as they tear every toy out of the toy bin; the argument that ensues who gets to lead their favorite mystery; the gruff husband (or wife depending on the time of day or month) who just wants to get it done without pomp or finesse or depth?
Why would we ever not be readily eager to pray the Rosary? Right?
I admit, having been a lifelong Rosary “prayer,” I have been through the seasons. I have had moments in my life where the Rosary was truly a blissful encounter with the Divine Gaze. I have had the Rosary flow through my day, rest in my mind, color my actions with charity and be the source of profound reflections and inspirations. I have experienced family healing, marital union restoration, and the miraculous power of faithfully praying the Rosary.
However, I have also had the experience of the Rosary being a battle, a chore, a painful dose of self-abasement, a brainless, heartless rattling off of words and I have even used the Rosary as a threat, a punishment and an escape from reality. There have been seasons in my life where I have despised the Rosary, tried to run from it, resented it, and even cast it off for various reasons.
But the message resounds in my heart!! The message is being proclaimed from the rooftops of every Marian apparition, and by countless papal decrees and exhortations. It is encouraged by every priest, religious and theologian worth their salt. The Rosary cannot be ignored!! In fact, listen to what Sr. Lucia shared about the Rosary:
The Most Holy Virgin in these times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temple or above all spiritual, in the personal life and each one of us, of our families … that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.
I don’t think it gets any clearer then that!
So how do we pray the Rosary faithfully, consistently, creatively and passionately? How do we help to establish the Rosary as not just a prayer to be said, but way of life to be lived?
For our family we have found many amazing and creative ways to remain relatively faithful to the family rosary. We aren’t perfect, but we do have the rosary as the cornerstone of our family identity. We want to imitate the life of Christ, to model ourselves after Mary in virtue, temperament, outreach and expression. Our hope is that over time the life of Christ becomes engrained in us to such an extent that His story is Our story. That her call to “do whatever he tells us,” are words spoken into our daily life.
That being said, we have used many different means to help keep our Rosary spirit from dragging. We like to uses these ideas like the Church uses feast days. To spice thing up and offer us an occasional elevated and special encounter with the Rosary. We love Rosary drives, Rosary hikes, Rosary walks, Rosary fitness (shoutout to SoulCore.com); we love praying the Rosary in foreign languages, and we will often pray while we do kitchen cleanup if the day is growing short and we fear we might not have another chance to gather for prayer. We typically break it up and pray 3 decades in the morning and finish the other 2 in the evening. We even chant the Rosary in a Byzantine style like my mother taught us as kids. We have expanded the tones and now we even have four-part harmonies that we chant to make the whole house resound with prayer and every kid feel engaged. It is our most favorite way to pray! (Stay tuned for a cd from heroicfamilies.com that will share this with you so your family can experience this beautiful way of praying the Rosary, too.)
In addition, we have decided to unite our passion for health and my efforts as an essential oil coach. I have created a series of different rosaries and rosary bracelets that hold and diffuse essential oils to enhance our prayer experience. Our kids rush to know what the oil-of-the-day is, to represent the day’s set of mysteries. They hold their rosaries close to their little noses as we pray. We don’t like to leave the house without a rosary bracelet with oils applied to it to remind us of our love for Our Lady and Lord and to help us relax and remember the beautiful and true things of life amidst so much artificial bombardment. My husband has an aromaRosary™ in his pocket at all times – usually with Myrrh or Frankincense emanating from it.
It is a powerful tool, and it ties us back to our biblical roots which is thick with references to aromas, oils, ointments, incense and fragrances that lift us heavenward to the higher things. We are not talking about a New Age concept here. Simply a long-standing, Catholic idea: that we can pray with our senses. We can pray incarnationally. As Jesus told St. Mechteld, “Seek me through your five senses.” This is one way we can use our sense of smell to orient us to the mysteries of the Rosary.
We have identified four unique therapeutic blends of oils that correlate in chemistry and aromatic quality to the mysteries of the Rosary. Because the rosaries are made with natural gemstones, high quality metals and lava stones, they are heirloom quality. All that is necessary is to apply 1-2 drops of essential oil to the surface of the rosary. The lava stone captures the oils and serves as the diffuser for about 24 hours. Each day your rosary is ready again for the next oil blend that corresponds the day’s mysteries. We have concluded that this just helps our prayers make “scents.”
This enterprise is a labor of great love and passion for us. Religious sisters, confirmation students, families and our own children help in the manufacturing process. A portion of every aromaRosary™ sold goes to support apostolates for the New Evangelization. Through the production and sale of these high-quality, hand-crafted rosaries many families are rediscovering the beauty of the Rosary and falling in love again with the gift of what it means to offer our prayers and our bodies to the Lord so that we can become the aroma of Christ to all we encounter (2 Cor. 2:15).
I hope that I have offered you a few ideas for enriching your family’s Rosary life. Remember, the goal isn’t to perfectly pray the Rosary but to faithfully pray the Rosary. Don’t let the rosary become one more check-box item (although sometimes it may feel that way and Our Lady will bless your meager attempts to respond to her call), but seek to add in a few variations to help your family remember that the Rosary is a way of life – and the promises are true.
What creative ways does your family pray the rosary?
Copyright 2017 Chantal Howard