The Rosary: Mary’s gift of grace

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Many Catholics today miss a beautiful gift. This gift, so great in grace, is missed not because of lack of commitment, nor lack of faith, but because many do not know of the abundant graces it provides. This gift, so beautiful, has been the source of many conversions, miracles, graces, and other goodness. This most sublime gift, called a perfect prayer, given to us by the Most Holy Virgin Mary, is meant to help us grow closer to her, and therefore, by growing closer to her, we may grow closer to her most Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. This gift is the Most Holy Rosary.

What is the Rosary? The Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the meditation on the life of Mary and Jesus. It consists of four groups of events, each event called a mystery, concerning incidents of their lives. The four groups are: the traditional Joyful Mysteries, dealing with the Incarnation, Nativity and Early Life of Our Lord; the Sorrowful Mysteries, which dwell on His Passion and Death; the Glorious Mysteries, meditating on Christ's Resurrection and Ascension and Mary's Assumption and Crowning; and the newer Luminous Mysteries added by Pope Saint John Paul II, concerning Jesus's public life and ministry. Reflections on each mystery is followed by a decade: an Our Father, ten Hail Mary's, a Glory Be and a Fatima Prayer. A short Rosary is a group of 5 decades, in one of the four groups of Mysteries, with several other prayers at the beginning or the end. A full Rosary consists of the 15 traditional or 20 mysteries - all three traditional groups or all four groups.

Why pray the Rosary? It may seem like a burden at first, an obstacle, just a bunch of Hail Mary's, over and over and over again. However, while the verbal prayers are very important, they are not the center of the Rosary. The heart of the Rosary is the meditation on the lives of Jesus and Mary, and the History of the Salvation that occurred because of them. Many astonishing, wonderful things have happened to those who say the Rosary faithfully: miracles, conversions, victories, and many other things. It is a simple prayer, easy to say. The word Rosary means "Crown of Roses." Each Hail Mary we say is a rose, making a splendid crown for our most clement, most loving, most sweet Virgin Mary! We should be eager to make this prayer to her every day. It has been a source of conversion, comfort, peace, hope, consolation, and even victory, such as the famous victory at Lepanto. As most Catholics realize, Mary will intercede for us, as Christ will not refuse anything asked through His Blessed Mother. Our Lady of Fatima herself said, "Say the Rosary every day. Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners. I am Our Lady of the Rosary. Only I will be able to help you. In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph."

In today's busy culture, it may be easy to forget about God's love and the Rosary. How can we have time to pray it? Praying a full 15 or 20 decade Rosary requires significant time, but 5 decades can take 10 to 20 minutes, a very simple fit into a person's schedule. If necessary, one can split up the decades throughout a busy day. Remember though, one should start light, not too strenuous, lest it become a burden. One should start with one to five decades a day, no more, and growing slowly until one can manage a full Rosary. If one tries starting out with too much, most likely he or she might be overwhelmed before long, giving the recitation of the prayer up. It is better to increase prayer life slowly, to avoid becoming overwhelmed and losing it.

For more information and a much better explanation of the Rosary, read The Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louie De Montfort. It is a simple, easy-to-read book by a great Saint. It is not hard to read. Remember to thank God every day for all his blessings!

Remember to be devoted to our most sweet mother, who will always hear you prayers. Do not be afraid to have recourse to her! Remember to pray every day. God bless, and remember, "In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph." Viva Christo Rey!

Peter Lucas is a freshman at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2014