As Catholic Christians, we honour and celebrate Mary, and during October, we are invited to focus on the ancient prayer of the Rosary.
Most will be familiar with Rosary Beads, and during this month of October we are invited to learn and to re-learn this form of meditating on and contemplating with many of the most central events in the life of Jesus.
In times past, though, this practice has been caught up in traditional piety and sentimentality. However, Lasallians owe it to the world to reimagine and reinterpret this for the modern age.
Beads are used by people of many faiths as a way to accompany prayer. Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Orthodox Christians among others use beads through the fingers as a help to meditation, and rosary beads are no different.
My grandmother gave me my first pair of rosary beads and it was by watching her, listening to her and imitating her that I gradually learnt to pray the Rosary. She always had her beads close and often when I was visiting, she would take her beads and begin to pray.
Over time, I memorised the prayers, the Mysteries and the Decades of the Rosary and began to make connections between the Scriptural reflections of the Rosary and events of my own life. I became more aware of people praying the Rosary in all kinds of situations, the elderly ladies before Mass on Sunday, the good people of my parish who before a funeral Mass, would pray the Rosary for the person who had died – it didn’t matter that they may not have known them; the Brother who, when travelling any distance, would suggest as the journey began, that we say a Rosary.
Fr John O’Connor wrote recently, “Many today see the Rosary as a prayer for older or conservative people and not really relevant for our time. However, my experience of the Rosary is as a contemporary and lively engagement in the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ, a medley of vocal prayer, meditation, contemplation woven together with my many distractions and day-dreamings.”
It doesn’t matter that some days I can be quite focussed and engaged as I move through the ten Hail Mary’s of a Mystery, pondering my own life in light of my prayer. Then there are other days when my mind is all over the place. It matters little – it’s all prayer, in the engagement and in the distractions – to Jesus through Mary.
St John Baptist de La Salle, in his Meditations, encourages us “ to offer this prayer as a tribute that we in our Institute pay to the Most Blessed Virgin and as a powerful way to draw down her help and protection on our Institute and on your work.”
With thanks to Lasallian Reflection, developed by the Lasallian Formation for Mission Team of the De La Salle District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea (ANZPPNG).