Everyone who knows me knows that my rosary is never far from me. There’s always at least one in my pocket – if not two. When somebody on the street asks me to pray for them, I leave them with a rosary as a solid and physical reminder that God is with them always.
I pray the rosary every day one way or another. When I am anxious or wound up. When I’m lost and wandering. When I have a decision to make. When I feel far from God. When I am lonely and confused… I reach for those reassuring beads.
When I’m happy and elated. When I’m excited and energetic, when I’m bursting full at the seams with love… I reach for those reassuring beads.
I do so because no matter how I feel inside, no matter how easily prayers may come to my lips or how far away prayer seems to be the rosary stills my soul.
Those prayers, the mysteries, the repetition and the physicality of the bead brings me back to the central aspect of our faith. Jesus.
In the rosary we follow Mary from the day the archangel Gabriel came to ask her to become the Mother of God to the day she was crowned Queen of Heaven. For many people this is all they understand about the rosary… it’s just a bunch of prayers about and to Mary…. And this isn’t true at all. When we pray the rosary, we are – just as in everything Mary does for us – being brought, over and over again to Jesus.
In the rosary we follow Jesus from the moment the Holy Spirit came down on Mary, through his childhood, his public ministry, his death on the cross, the triumphant joy of Easter through to the day he ascended into Glory.
The rosary is in many ways a safety rope. We hold onto one end; Mary holds the other… and as she tugs on her end, we are pulled closer to Jesus and closer to heaven.
We are pulled out of the mundane reality of this life and towards the astounding and awesome reality of the next. We are pulled away from the distractions of this world towards the divine reality of the next.
Apart from the mass there is no greater prayer of praise and protection. It is a prayer of reparation of adoration of thanksgiving. It is a prayer of desperation, of loneliness, of brokenness. It is a prayer of triumph, of laughter and of love. There is no situation into which the rosary cannot work. There is no place on earth where the rosary cannot reach us and pull us back to safety and the love of God.
And in these desperate times we need it more than ever. Mary has come to us time and time and time again to tell us to pray the rosary – assuring us each and every time that in praying it we will find the answer to our prayers.
The rosary – perhaps like our faith to outsiders – can appear to be complex. With rules and books and guides and systems. With right ways to pray it. With wrong ways to hold it. Glittering ball-balls that are nothing more than a distraction from the real world.
But the very tiniest of effort on your part breaks open this lie. The rosary is easy to pray. It is easy to pray because it is centred on the Love of Jesus for us, revealed and encouraged by his gentle mother.
We start with the glorious name of the trinity – of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit… what could be easier? We continue by sharing our faith in the words of the creed… the same words we say Sunday after Sunday together – reminding us that we do not pray this rosary alone – ever – we are surrounded and supported and encouraged by every Christian there is in the world today and has ever been.
Then we sit at the feet of our Lord as we say the prayer that he taught us… Our Father… and then we seek the intercession of his mother – our mother… as we pray and repeat… Hail Mary, full of grace… as we repeat and pray those beautiful words of scripture.
We end each collection of Hail Marys with a triumphant Glory Be before breaking open the scripture in the mysteries. Before pausing to reflect on the life of Christ, his death and his resurrection.
Then as we come to the end of the beads, we ask Our Lady once more to pray for us, and we pray that through these mysteries, through these prayers, we will come closer to holiness.
The rosary is the most sure-fire way of treading the hard path of becoming holy. The rosary leads us into a deeper intimacy with Christ and with his Blessed Mother.
Picking up those beads and opening yourself to Christ in them will change you. It will change you in the moment you cry to God in the Our Father. It will change you in the moment you cross yourself in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It will change you because you will – each and every time you pray with it – be pulled along that heavenly rope by Our Mother towards her son.
I urge you today. Dig out that old rosary. Order a new one on eBay. Email or call me and ask me to send you one… and then pick it up each day, in each moment of elation and sadness, in each and every aspect of your life and ask to be pulled towards Jesus.