Rosary Reflections

Published fall 2021, Prince William County Catholic Magazine

by Jean Mondoro

The Rosary is one of the most famous and powerful Catholic prayers. Our Lady’s intercession is a precious gift which we often do not utilize in the way that she longs for us to. Many of us have heard the Rosary praised as a miraculous answer to prayers as well as a way to authentically deepen one’s faith. But if you’re anything like me, you don’t see those miracles taking place, and you rarely feel that strong connection to Jesus. While it is undoubtedly a special and beautiful prayer, I would also make the argument that the Rosary is one of the most difficult prayers you will ever pray as a Catholic. Why is this the case?

For me, I know that the term “meditate” can be a vague description of what we are supposed to be doing when praying the Rosary. It’s deeper than passively recalling what is taking place in the story, but it doesn’t mean you have to go out on a mountain for hours to do it effectively. I’m sure others have also wondered what people mean when they say to “meditate on the life of Christ while praying the Rosary.” I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain this concept. Once my youngest sister asked me what it meant and I couldn’t really tell her. After many years of rarely praying the Rosary and hardly ever feeling like I had prayed it well, I believe I have come up with an approach which helps me understand what I’m doing as well as truly draw closer to God by means of this challenging prayer.

First, I try to make the commitment to pray the Rosary even when I don’t feel uplifted by it. Prayer needs discipline before it bears fruit. It’s hard to pray! But here’s the good news: God knows that, and He sees when we choose to pray even when it can be so hard to do and He does not forget that. Then one day we look back and realize that we grew during that time of spiritual dryness. There is something different about our prayer life, be it increased patience or more time spent talking and listening with God. In my experience, I rarely see the fruit of this cross until quite some time later, and then I often receive a nudge from heaven gently showing me how I’ve grown closer to God and whatever I was struggling with isn’t as hard as it used to be.

Second, after being disciplined about praying the Rosary, I look at the events in our Lord’s life and try to find ways to make them relevant in my own life. For example, I’ll reflect upon how Jesus wept alone in the Garden before His passion, and I realize that He truly does understand our human nature. Or I think of Mary visiting Elizabeth and consider how I can be more hospitable to my neighbors. This takes practice, though, so don’t expect to get the hang of it right away. It will vary for each person and how individual personalities adapt to this form of prayer, also known as meditation.

Given these general starting points for how I personally try to pray the Rosary, I would like to go into further detail by reflecting on each mystery of the Rosary individually. Over this series, I’m going to take one mystery at a time and share some of my own experiences and reflections which I hope will bring others to not only effectively pray the Rosary but also come to love it. May it become a source of hope and comfort as well as a constant reminder that Our Lady is holding onto us and longing for us to ask her for help on our journey to Heaven.

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