Simple Methods to Pray the Rosary (in response to Under the Violet Moon)
Recently, the author of Under the Violet Moon,
wrote an important article on the challenges that are often faced by those who are new to praying the rosary. For those coming from Protestant backgrounds along with devotees who were raised in the Novus Ordo (post Vatican II) Catholic Church, the rosary may seem foreign and overwhelming. At the end of this article, I offer several ways to pray the rosary in a simpler manner.
One reason why most Catholics, (until the post-Vat. II generation), prayed the rosary every day with such great devotion was due to the appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In a majority of these apparitions, she always requested the daily rosary. It was considered to be the most powerful form of prayer short of the Catholic mass and many miracles and heavenly promises have been attached to it. It is traditionally understood to be a garden of roses which we offer to Our Lady.
The contemplation of the Virgin Mary, her privileges, and the favors she bestows on her children was considered a joy exceeding all other joys. It was this joyful piety of the “Hail, Our Lady” that gave the name of the Rosary. In the Middle Ages, the symbol of joy was the rose. To crown one’s head with a garland of roses (a chaplet) was a sign of joy. The Virgin Mary was even called “a garden of roses.” In medieval Latin, a garden of roses is rosarium. 1
In so many images and statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we see her offering the rosary to us.
While I no longer accept the veracity of every apparition, or, at the very least, I think the Church misrepresented them, I still believe in the rosary as a very powerful form of prayer. I’ve had way too many miracles happen in my life as a result of praying the rosary to ever doubt its efficacy. It is a direct line to Our Lady.
In previous generations, entire families would gather to pray the rosary, together. I remember when visiting my relatives, all of my aunts, my mother and my grandmother would get down on their knees and pray ‘the beads’.
When I was young, around six or seven, I had rosary beads that ‘glowed in the dark’. It was comforting to lie beneath my blankets and pray my gently illuminated rosary in the night. I would sense/feel the presence of Our Lady, almost as if she was hovering over me while I prayed myself to sleep. Through the wearing of the Miraculous Medal (2) and praying the daily rosary, Our Lady was with me every day and always.
There is a funny story my mother always told me. When she was five years old, at a time when she was bilingual, her family would always pray the rosary in French. One day, my grandmother stopped praying in order to listen more closely to my mother’s recitation of the Hail, Mary. My mother related that she had no idea what she was saying wrong, but they never said the rosary in French, again.🙂
So great was Catholic devotion to Our Lady and her rosary before the devastating aftermath of Vatican II, that most parishes had a weekly rosary night and some had a public rosary after mass on Sundays. We prayed the rosary during Marian processions and in church on her feast days. I used to conduct a neighborhood rosary, once a week. Those devoted to Our Lady of Fatima would hold a public rosary in their homes. We made rosaries for the missions and provided The Secret of the Rosary to whomever was interested.
It was a very stirring experience to pray a public rosary. One side of the church would chant the first half of the Hail, Mary, while the other side would respond by chanting the latter half. It was a powerful time which bound us together as children of Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady.
It is important to understand that one is not obligated to pray the rosary if they are a Deanic devotee. In fact, the rosary is not even mandated for Catholics. As with all of our prayers, they are simply offerings of choice.
There are those who prefer to always pray in their own words; there are those who prefer to pray more formal prayers and there are those, like me, who pray both ways. Each devotee must pray in the manner that best suits their individual Soul Path and their personal inclinations.
For those who desire to pray the rosary and yet find it daunting, here are a few quick tidbits:
(1) When you are new to praying the rosary, don’t worry about concentrating on the Mysteries. Don’t even try to meditate on them until you’ve been praying the rosary for such a long time that the words are second nature to you. It’s fine to simply concentrate on the words themselves, or to put yourself in Our Lady’s Presence by gazing at a statue, icon or even a candle flame while praying. Sometimes, I simply gaze at the sunlight glinting off the lake. In doing so, you will find that certain thoughts or inspirations might enter your mind. Don’t try to brush them aside, that is Our Lady communicating with you.
Once the prayers come second nature to you, even then it is still fine to concentrate on the words or to quietly place yourself in the Presence of Our Lady.
Oftentimes, I will think of a single aspect of the Mystery. For example, the first Mystery is Our Lady, Apple of Wisdom; She Who is the Ground of all Being. I might simply think about apple seeds or something else relevant from the appropriate scripture verses. Sometimes, I think about what Ground of All Being really means. I contemplate the spiritual meaning of Twilight or any of the aspects of this Mystery. Sometimes, I just think about Our Lady, Herself. There is no set way to meditate on the Mysteries. (Scripture verses will be added to our rosary page.)
(2) It is fine to pray just one or two septads a day. I recommend this for the Janati rosary. For example: On Sunnadi/Sunday, the septad in honor of Madria Theia may be prayed. On Lunadi/Monday, the septad in honor of Madria Candra. On Rosadi/Tues., the septad in honor of Madria Vicka, etc. The same can be done with the Janite Deanic rosary.
(3) The first part of the Hail, Mary comes directly from the New Testament and that was how the rosary was prayed for centuries. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the latter half of the rosary was added. And so, it is perfectly fine to simply pray the first half of the Hail, Mari which would be: Hail, Mari, Fount of Grace, glory be to Thee. Blessed art Thou, O, High Queen of Heaven and blessed is Thy beloved Daughter.
I hope this has been helpful. If anyone has questions about praying the rosary, please contact us at Deanicfaith at gmail.com.
Hail, Mari, Fount of Grace, glory be to Thee. Blessed art Thou, O, High Queen of Heaven and blessed is Thy beloved Daughter. Holy Dea, Mother God, bless us, Thy children, now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.