This is a good question to ask in such times: for while not necessary for
salvation, the Rosary is a needed and, if I may say, quick and easy way to salvation.
Why? Because to pray the rosary is to be with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The
Word of God reminds us that more than any other figure aside from Jesus, Mary is
untouchable and unbearable to Satan.
At the Holy Name of Mary the devil, and all his tricks, and tearings apart, and black desperateness – already he is gone, far, far away, as, by the very nature of the way of life he has chosen, he cannot bear the gift of God – which is what the Blessed Virgin is, “full of grace”: in a certain sense, not the incarnation of God – that is her Son – but the incarnation of the gift and goodness of God.
For the devil, and all evil things, and all evildoers, the company of Mary is a blinding pain – a light they have rejected and are revolted by.
The beauty of a simple prayer
The Rosary tells us we can have this – simply by praying that simple
prayer. How can anyone then easily push away the opportunity of the Rosary, this
chance to be with this Blessed One, wherever I am, whenever I need?
This is why in praying the Holy Rosary we pray uniquely and effectively to
God: because He is all she is about. It’s for this reason we always begin and finish
with the Crucifix of the Blessed Redeemer and the sign of the Cross, the Trinity.
And that we then say the creed – passing, to God’s body, the whole Catholic Church, on
earth, in purgatory, and spread gloriously across and beyond all time and space.
Suddenly we remember we were never alone, but with all the heroes of Sacred
History, united with us to the Mother of the One Body of her Son.
An Our Father – the prayer Jesus taught us – Three Hail Marys – often for the Pope’s intentions, or for Faith, Hope and Charity – follow, and then a Glory Be – an appropriate prayer for a Marian prayer: “My soul glorifies the Lord”.
Praying the five decades of the Rosary
Then follows five decades – of an Our Father, Ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be,
and the prayer: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and
lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy”.
Such humility brings us closer to the mercy of the Divine Heart – but it is also an act of love for all others, who are “most in need”: being in need of God’s mercy is the greatest poverty.
Each decade focuses on a mystery: “mystery” doesn’t mean we don’t
understand – it means, there is always something more to understand and live of
what is revealed.
Principally scriptural, the point of the mystery is, as you say the Hail Marys, to almost forget you are saying them as you fall into a more and more consuming contemplation of the mystery.
Following St Ignatius it would be helpful to place ourselves in the mystery – there, at the Birth of Our Lord, what am I doing?
It is for these reasons that the Rosary is an effective balm for the anxious and depressed. The contemplation of the mysteries draws us out of ourselves, and out of
the limits we place on ourselves and the world, and into participating in the very
mystery we are contemplating.
It does this not in an unhealthy form of escapism, but rather into a contemplation of the beauty and goodness of God and, fundamentally, of the world and of reality. All we live, then is placed in its true context – God’s love.
Fr Joshua Miechels is a priest of the Emmanuel Community for the Archdiocese of Sydney.