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The Little Crown Of Mary

Little Crown

 

The Little Crown of Mary is just another of those many Catholic devotions considered, erm, too Catholic by the geniuses who gave us the Second Vatican Council and assorted side effects, and that are now coming back to public consciousness and worship. You will find some nice applications if you look.

As for the Rosary, several variations are known and practiced, but the devotion revolves around the recitation of twelve Hail Marys mixed with three Our Father. The twelve Hail Marys are certainly a tribute to the “woman with upon her head a crown of twelve stars” of the Revelation, and I hope I am not very far from the truth in supposing that the three Our Father are a tribute to the Most Holy Trinity.

The man who gave the Little Crown his actual character appears to have been St Louis de Montfort, but like the Rosary the Little Crown can be expanded or embellished with accessory prayers.

The version I use is based on the division of the Hail Marys in three groups of four “crowns” each, with each group devoted to the meditation about a particular aspect of the Blessed Virgin: the Crowns of Excellence, Power and Goodness.

After the Sign of the Cross and an introductory prayer, each group of four Hail Marys, introduced by a short reflection about the relevant Crown, is preceded by the Our Father and concluded by a Glory Be. A short concluding prayer and the sign of the cross end this beautiful devotion.

Typically, though, every Hail Mary will be accompanied by short invocations, different for every Hail Mary, extolling the virtues of Mary in accordance with the Crown being prayed: these additional prayers were introduced by Louis de Montfort, and with their individual character are a great help in trying to avoid the mechanical repetition or the wandering away of the mind that, as you have certainly noticed, are never far away from the recitation of the Rosary (and which, may I add, constitute a part of his charm and challenge).

The individual prayers and the shorter time required for the recitation make of the Little Crown an ideal pious exercise when you have your laptop or tablet with you and are in the middle of a short “break” (say, a short bus ride, or the like), besides being of course easily prayed at home.

Bear in mind, though, that the complete devotions with introductory and closing prayers and the individualised invocation will require a non indifferent memorisation effort if you want to pray this devotion without external help; though you can always revert to a more simplified version if you like, like the one without the invocation and choosing as introductory prayers some perhaps already known prayers like, say, the Creed of the Apostles and the Memorare, or the Hail, Holy Queen and the Memorare again.

I am far from suggesting you should pray this beautiful devotion in substitution to the Rosary: there is simply no substitute for the Rosary, nor is the Little Crown surrounded with the power and glory that have accompanied the Rosary for many centuries now; not to mention the promises of Our Lady tho those who pray the Rosary devoutly and faithfully every day, the real Big Bertha cannon against the Devil and his evil companions.

Still, you may perhaps feel encouraged to adopt the daily recitation of the Little Crown as a shorter preparatory step to the daily recitation of the Rosary, as it will be far easier to insert this shorter devotion in your daily routine until you feel ready for, so to speak, the upgrade.

Also notice some apps allow you to set an automatic reminder, which once set up at an opportune time (when you know you are in front of your computer or tablet) will be of further help.

Modern technology can do much for us, and it is absolutely amazing how much technology is doing to revive old Catholic devotions our conciliar… stepfathers wanted neglected and ideally forgotten. The ways of the Lord and those of the Clergy are sometimes rather divergent.

I suggest you look around and see what you can find that suits your available devices and your inclination. The material on offer will certainly grow.

We must fight of course, but we must pray too. This blog is rather more focused on the fight aspect, but this does not mean prayer should be neglected; besides, you can also consider that the recovery of old traditions we were supposed to leave behind us are, in a way, also part of the fight…

Mundabor

 

The Seven Sorrows Of Mary

Michelangelo: "Pieta'"

I am not a mother (neither a woman, come to that), so I can’t really tell.

Still, I can imagine. I can imagine that I am a mother in the bliss of newly found maternity, a joy without equals.

But then I imagine that when the child is just a few days old, I am informed by a very reliable person that this child is going to undergo great suffering and a painful death. How would it feel? A short time later, I must leave my home in the middle of the night, precipitously fleeing those who want to murder the child. Some years of relative tranquillity go by (during which, though, I have never forgotten the fateful words of Simeon) and one day, I discover that through a misunderstanding my twelve years old child is missing, somewhere in a great city far away from me. Then I return to where I last have seen him, every hour a nightmare and slow death; looking for him without success, for days.

Further years go by, until the now ancient words of the old man in the temple take meaning and form. My own and only child is – after being whipped almost to unconsciousness –  made to carry the instrument of his own torture and stumble under his weight. Enough? No, not enough. I see my child savagely nailed to the cross, undergoing a slow and painful death in front of my very eyes. I see him dying, then have to endure the excruciating pain of having the cold dead body of my own child in my arms and to suffer his deposition on a tomb.

I am not a mother and I can’t really know how it would feel. But I can certainly try, and it takes my breath away. Most mothers would prefer to die and call themselves happy, rather than to have to endure all this.

At the same time I think of the challenges and problems of my life, problems I sometime tend to, well, rather make worse than they really are and when I compare my problems with those of Mary, I am helped to understand that perhaps my sufferings are not so unbearable after all, and that She who has suffered so much sees my problems and sorrows – even if infinitely less burdensome than hers – with great love and compassion anyway.

At the same time, I know that She is, in virtue of Her Son and in virtue of Her Sorrows, my (and our) Mother too. A mother to whom I can always open my heart in love and confidence, certain of being heard and loved; and a mother whose sorrows naturally sadden me. It is therefore fitting, every now and then, to dedicate ourselves to another Catholic devotion of the past  unlikely to ever be mentioned by the friendly, smiling, joke-cracking  and oh so nice progressive priest near you.

The Seven Sorrow of Mary is a traditional Catholic devotion by which the faithful briefly meditate (whilst praying or with a short introductory reflection, as in the Rosary) on those fateful seven moments in Mary’s life.

As already explained on a different occasion, the aim (and a main tenet of Catholicism at the same time ) is to unite ourselves to Mary’s and Jesus’ sufferance and at the same time to draw strenght and inspiration to bear the trials that we ourselves have to endure.

It isn’t really realistic to think that grave tests will be taken away from us. We are never going to be given tests we can’t endure, but most of us are going to be tested in some way or other, so don’t bet your pint. The best think to do is to try to grow our spiritual life by lovingly uniting ourselves to Mary’s and Jesus’ sufferance in order to be spared them if this is God’s will, and to be able to endure them and make them bear fruits if, alas, things have been appointed otherwise.

If you follow this link you’ll find a beautiful rendition of the first sorrow this devotion, with prayers and big images to help you stay focused. From there, you’ll be able to click your way to the following ones.

When you have followed the devotions to the end, please stop a moment and bask in the knowledge that once again, in the privacy of your home, a little part of the extremely rich and at times almost forgotten world of Catholic devotions has come back.

Mundabor

Abstinence On Fridays: Why Not Give It A Try?

I can think of worse penances

Once upon a time, Fridays were days of abstinence, that is: days on which no meat could be eaten. The practice has now been largely restricted to the Fridays of Lent, but a conservative Catholic – as you, dear reader, hopefully are or are slowly becoming – could do no wrong in thinking of reintroducing these time-honoured practices for himself even in the absence of an obligation.
In the end, many of us want – to put it bluntly and without fake gentleness – the Church to come back to what it was before Vatican II. Then we can, a bit at a time, also try to let it be so in our own private existence. If the Catholics in the pew start to walk the walk, in time the vatican will decide that at this point it is better to talk the talk…..

You can read here the longish take of the Catholic Encyclopedia on abstinence and fasting. Abstinence is not really difficult and not really a sacrifice. I have found that for me (a single, and very forgetful since I can remember) the biggest challenge is to remember that it is Friday before I eat my lunch. “How can you forget what day it is?” You may ask. Well I can do it very well and I can’t even count the times I have been answered “tomorrow is Saturday” at work…. :(. Apart from that, it is not really difficult, mainly requiring (probably, only for singles) nothing more than a minimum of planning in your fridge administration (after Friday comes the weekend, where you might eat out rather often; therefore a Tuesday or Wednesday meat purchase should be weighted against the probability of eating it within Thursday or it might stay in your fridge for a while, which is sub-optimal to say the least). As in almost everything, if we persevere until we have acquired a habit, the habit will take care of us.

We are called to deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Christ. Abstinence is a small, rather easy, but frequent way to do this. It is another little brick with which we build the edifice of our salvation. It will greatly contribute to keep us away from gluttony (ah! Gluttony!! When was last time you heard this word mentioned?! Nowadays it must be McDonald’s fault, isn’t it?), help us to better remember our Lord’s sacrifice and, as a bonus, will probably keep us in better shape.

I have frequently noticed that one of the biggest differences between Catholicism (properly understood) and Protestant ecclesial communities is that whilst the latter may tend to some sort of easy “emotionalism”, the (traditional) Catholic path gives a great importance to habits, to the small little things one does regularly. These little practices may not seem such a big deal taken individually, but when considered in their entirety they become a solid railway upon which we base our journey to salvation. From the litanies to crossing oneself when walking past a church, from praying the Rosary (very important, this!) to the devotions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; from the novenas to the use of holy water, all these seemingly not life-changing small activities contribute to the building of our spiritual edifice.
Gutta cavat lapidem. Even a small gesture, repeated faithfuly again and again, can go a long way to keep us away from serious trouble and will, on that fateful day of the redde rationem, have a great weight on the right side of the scale.

If you are not doing it already, you may want to seriously consider to reintroduce Friday abstinence in your life. Perhaps you might want to give it a try tomorrow?

If we had asked Padre Pio about the opportunity of abolishing the abstinence on Fridays, I wonder whether he would have remained calm. If we had told him that all these things are meaningless relics of the past, as in reality only our oh so emotionally charged relationship with Jesus is all that count, I think he most certainly wouldn’t have.

It might be good to give it a try for a while. It was good enough for Pius XII’s Church. Really, it can’t be bad for Benedict XVI’s one.

Mundabor

The Infant Jesus Of Prague

The Infant jesus of Prague is a miraculous* wax statue with a moving and edifying history. It was first donated to the Discalced Carmelites of Prague by a rich lady who, after the death of her husband, desired to dedicate herself to works of piety and charity. The lady donated the statue (very dear to her heart) to the Carmelites saying “I hereby give you what I prize most highly in this world. As long as you venerate this image you will not be in want”.  The lady’s work proved prophetic on several occasions as the following years proved that whenever the Carmelites seriously recurred to the statue, they were helped and when they neglected its proper devotion, they weren’t.

The Carmelites put the statue (made of wax itself, with rich vestments) in their oratory and performed special devotions in front of it twice a day. For some reasons, such devotions were particularly loved by the novices. Particularly by one, Cyrillus, who was through his prayers delivered from a period of spiritual dryness. But then the Thirty-Years war started to bite and in 1630 the novitiate was removed to Munich; the devotion was more and more neglected and the prosperity of the community progressively declined.

The following year, the Protestant troops of King Gustavus Adolphus took Prague. The Monastery was plundered and vandalised, the statue was damaged and thrown over a heap of rubble behind the high altar. It stayed there completely for the following seven years, years of great hardship for the community.

In 1637, Cyrillus – in the meantime Father Cyrillus – came back to Prague still occupied by the Protestant invaders. He remembered the little statue and asked of the prior to be able to search for it; the entire place was turned upside down until the statue was finally found and recovered from his pile of rubble. That the rubble had remained there for years without anyone “cleaning up” tells the story about the poverty of the times. The little statue was put in a fitting place and the devotions started again, this time with greater zeal due to the difficulties of the times.

Cyrillus was once again the most fervent disciple of this devotion and one day, whilst praying, he heard the following words:

“Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honour me, the more I will bless you”.

Only then Cyrillus noticed the missing hands of the statue behind the rich vestments that adorned it. Several attempts followed to have the statue repaired by Father Cyrillus. He asked the money for the repair from the prior, who wouldn’t open the purse of the very poor community. He begged the Blessed Virgin to help him and as a result was called to the sickbed of a wealthy man who, told of the story, donated a large sum for the repair of the statue, but the prior decided to buy a new statue instead. The new statue was accidentally (or rather: providentially) destroyed just after being put into place and the devotion to the mutilated statue was resumed, the problem of the repair still to be solved. Then a new prior was elected and Cyrillus begged for the funds once again, but once again his wish was refused. Stubbornly, he once again asked the Blessed Virgin for help and as a result received a large donation by an anonymous woman. This time, the prior took almost all of the money, leaving Cyrillus a portion insufficient to repair the statue. It really seemed that this statue was never to be restored, but our chap was of the kind that never let go and he put his trouble in front of the statue itself. Once again he heard the following words: “Place me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid”. This our Cyrillus promptly did and a short time later a stranger offered to pay for the repair. This time the prior didn’t appropriate the fund and the statue was rapidly restored.

From then on, the devotion to the statue rapidly procured a great fame. The prior itself was rapidly healed by the pestilence which had befallen Prague after promising to recite Holy Mass before the statue for nine days if healed. During a successive period of great financial need, the prior ordered that the entire community should pray in front of the Divine Infant and again, generous financial help promptly came. In the meantime the popularity of the statue had started to grow, so that it was moved again from the oratory to the church to allow for its veneration by the general public. In 1641, a large donation allowed the erection of an altar to the Most Holy Trinity, with the statue of the Infant Jesus placed within it. It didn’t remain there for long, though, because the following year another generous donation allowed the erection of a chapel dedicated to the Divine Infant, completed and consecrated in 1644. Since then, the devotion has continued to spread and the favours received through its devotions have become innumerable. The devotion to the Infant Jesus grew more and more and in 1665 a crown was prepared for the statue and put in place on the Sunday after Easter.

The devotion to the Holy Infant is now spread worldwide. It has generated a series of worldwide recited prayers: the Prayer of Rev. Cyrillus, the Litany of the Miraculous Infant, the Prayer to the Infant Jesus to be said by a sick person, the Prayer of Thanksgiving for Graces Received from the Infant Jesus among them, though the most famous must be the Chaplet of the Infant Jesus of Prague. The Church of Our Lady of Victory is visited by around 500,000 pilgrims every year.

The fortune of the devotion is probably due not only to the innumerable favours granted to those devoted to it, but probably also to the favour that this devotions found among saints like Therese of Lisieux. You must also consider that the devotion to the Infant Jesus was not a new phenomenon having been widely spread during the Middle Age, with St. Francis and St. Bernhard of Citeau among its best known followers.
The idea of the Infant Jesus, so powerless and still so powerful, so little and still so big, has never failed to inspire and to this day Catholics can very well, particularly in times of need, relate to this beautiful paradox of Christianity. In addition, it is easy to see how the devotion to the Infant Jesus puts us in front of another mainstay of Christian thinking: the opportunity to pray with great candor, defenceless humility and, well, tenderly shameless confidence, that is to say with the typical attributes of a child’s prayer. In front of Jesus we are all children. We need to pray like a child does. We need to pray with exactly those qualities that can make a child’s request so difficult to refuse.

This message wants to be a small contribution to the revival of this beautiful Catholic devotion, neglected after Vatican II as almost everything unapologetically Catholic and hopefully destined to greater glory in the decades to come.

Mundabor

* In the Catholic sense, of course. Please don’t go around saying that Catholics believe that wax statues make miracles. Thanks!

The Litany, Neglected Weapon

Orate Pro Nobis

The Litany is an ancient form of responsive prayer, by which a series of invocations is made by one person and after each one of the invocations a standard response is recited by all the present. Litanies can, though, also be recited individually at home.

There used to be more than eighty litanies around during the Middle Ages, but in more recent times they have been reduced in number and are today limited to those of both traditional use and proved orthodoxy (e.g. the Litany of the Saints, or the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary). You may find slightly different versions of the same litany.

Let us take as example the Litany of the Sacred Heart:

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother’s womb, [etc.]
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon You.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses.
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in You.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

The most important aspects of the litany -a powerful instrument, rather than a boring repetition of slogans for people who didn’t have television – are in my eyes as follows:

1) the power of vocal prayer.
Christians believe in saying things out loud. This has been slightly downplayed after V II with its (exaggerated) accent on the personal relationship with God, but the traditional message of a litany is: speak out your prayer, loud and clear. Many traditional devotions are traditionally said vocally. Our grandmothers would have found a mental recitation of, say, the rosary something rather unusual. People who want to feel modern would today talk of “affirmations” (used also in a non -Christian context and, as such, hip) and stress the power of vocal utterances. Christianity already got this, big time, before most “new agers” were born.

2) the power of repetition.
What would appear to be boring is, in reality, a powerful concentration exercise. The (oh so celebrated) insisted repetition of sacred words in Oriental religions follows the same principle: repetita iuvant. You immerse yourself in a prayerful atmosphere, you cast out the cares of the day and your mind is helped to stay focused on the subject of the prayer.

3) the learning element.
One of the reasons why modern Catholics are so tepid to the message of Jesus is because… they do not recite litanies. Litanies are vast reservoirs of both doctrinal knowledge and useful snippets of devotional themes. Look at the litany above and notice how much information it contains: Jesus is – just to make some examples – “source of consolation”, “patient and rich in mercy”, “salvation of those who hope in him”. “I know all that already”, you may say, but the constant repetition of the litany allows not only to know, but to instantly recall when the need arises.

The Litanies are just another element of the rich Catholic devotions abandoned after V II because, well, not Protestant. I seem to notice a resurgence of this beautiful devotion, both in churches and in the wealth of information available on the Internet.

Let us hope that this continues.

Mundabor

The Novena

"Pray, Hope and Don't Worry." Padre Pio.

A Novena is a cycle of prayers repeated for nine times (generally every day for nine consecutive days, in urgent cases every hour for nine consecutive hours) either in public or at home as a private devotion, generally in order to obtain a grace or blessing. It started to spread during the middle age and was practiced with increased frequency in the following centuries. From the nineteen century – with the attachment of indulgences to certain novenas – they received official recognition. Novenas are part of those once extremely popular and then – in the wake of the aggiornamento – almost forgotten traditions now experiencing a revival in line with the general recovery of Catholic practices and devotions.

Novenas are very numerous and different in structure (say: a Padre Pio Novena is different from a Francis Xavier Novena) but all of them contain invocations specific to the one who is invoked and various combinations and repetitions of traditional prayers.

Their origin seem to be in the special significance of the number nine. Jesus died on the ninth hour of the day according to the Jewish (and unless I am mistaken, Roman) hour counting (starting at 6 am in the morning). In addition, the Romans knew the parentalia novendialia, the yearly celebration of a set of rituals for nine consecutive days to remember the family’s dead. Moreover, the number nine seemed to be an apposite number because as the number ten symbolized perfection, the number nine symbolized the flaws and sinfulness of human nature. As already stated, it is generally acknowledged that a Novena is rather strictly linked to a situation of petition for the granting of some grace, whilst for more festive occasions the Octave is the favourite form.

To start a private Novena is extremely simple: google the text of one Novena particularly suited to you among the very many available and recite the prescribed set of prayer every day for nine consecutive days. The first thing you will notice is that a Novena forces you to a minimum of discipline and it is ideal to start creating a habit. If you are inconstant in your prayer life, there’s nothing better than a Novena (which doesn’t allow you to “skip a day”; if you do you’ll have to start again) to give your prayer life some discipline and structure. Public novenas may be recited in a church near you, at certain times of the year.

The author, who is devoted to Padre Pio, suggests the beautiful “Novena to Padre Pio”, which is modelled on the Novenas padre Pio himself used to pray. As you will see if you follow the link, this beautiful Novena is comprised of the following:

1) an invocation to Padre Pio, reflecting every day on a different aspect of this wonderful Saint;

2) a quote from Saint Padre Pio, also different every day and in keeping with the tone of the invocation;

3) a set of prayers (click on “Prayer to the Sacred Heart” to let it appear). In this case, the set of prayer is the “Prayer to the Sacred Heart”, which is in itself a set of traditional prayers.

This Novena will require around five minutes a day and, most importantly, some discipline and attention. Catholicism is not primarily about dramatic conversions and spectacular enlightenments, but about the simple, humble habit to stay with the Lord and the Saints every day. The idea is that real spiritual advancement is more easily achieved through slowly improving one’s habits than through the seeking of explosive emotional experiences in “Blues Brothers”-style.

Gutta cavat lapidem. Tell this to the friendly Protestant near you when you next hear him complaining about Catholic “superstitions”.

Mundabor

The Rosary

Source: vivificat1.blogspot.com

Has a priest ever told you anything about the rosary? If he has, you can count yourself among a tiny and fortunate minority of the faithful. More likely, your priest has rather preferred to entertain you about so-called anthropogenic global warming, social justice, the necessity of not kicking the cat, and such like. Let us correct this unfortunate situation with some short remarks.

There are some regional variations of the rosary and every faithful can adjust some parts as he likes. In short, a typical rosary would be recited this way:

1) Sign of the Cross. Creed of the Apostles; Pater Noster; three Hail Marys; Glory Be; Fatima prayer.

2) Five decades each composed of the following: Pater noster; ten Hail Marys; Glory Be; Fatima Prayer. At the beginning of each decade you can introduce a short pause to reflect on the mystery and/or to ask Our Lord or the Blessed Virgin for a particular grace.

3) “Hail, Holy Queen”. Sign of the Cross.

During the three Hail Marys of the introduction you can meditate on the three Theological Virtues (Hope, Faith and Charity). During each of the ten Hail Marys of every decade you can meditate on the traditional mysteries of the day or substitute them with some other meditation you prefer. The traditionally used mysteries are – in this context – 15 episodes of the life of Our Lord or of the Blessed Virgin. They are divided into groups of five, whereas every day you meditate on a different set of five mysteries, one mystery for every decade. The five mysteries added for some reason by John Paul II are not traditional and are therefore not considered here, but again there is no obligation as to what is the object of the meditation.

The way to pray (and the beauty of the rosary) is to allow your lips to regularly go through the Hail Marys whilst keeping your mind fixed on the relevant mystery. The mind being what it is, you’ll discover that you are easily distracted but the fact that you are vocally (much better than mentally) reciting the Hail Marys will help your mind to wander its thoughts on the meaning of the words of the Hail Mary and failing that, the vocal recitation will contribute to your fast recovery from your distraction.

Traditionally, a vocal recitation of the prayers will not require you to be sure that you never, ever lose concentration (and you will!). What will initially happen is a constant bouncing of your mind from the meditation to the words of the Hail Mary to what you want to eat for dinner and back to the words of the Hail Mary or to the meditation, in a constant play of wandering thoughts whilst still remaining more or less anchored in the meditation. In time, you will discover that you become more and more focused on the mysteries and your rosary becomes more spiritual, more relaxed (because you are not constantly “trying to stay focused”) and somewhat more rapid.

When a good practice has been attained, allow some twenty minutes for the rosary in its entirety (meaning here: the daily five decades). You can split the rosary into its components but if you interrupt a decade you’ll have to recite it again from the start.  To remain attentive it is a tradition to imagine that every Hail Mary is a rose you are giving to Mary, with the rosary being a beautiful garland.  You want your garland to be beautiful  and your roses fresh, right?

The rosary is a beautiful way to transform boring times of your day into an uplifting experience: for instance whilst waiting for the train or as an alternative to reading junk newspapers during your commute. A complete decade will take you (with practice) not more than three or four minutes. You’ll see how refreshingly beautiful it is.

Many are the Internet sites dedicated to the Rosary. Therein you will find descriptions of the mysteries and visual helps to aid your meditation efforts. The spiritual meaning of the rosary will also be discussed more in-depth and you will often find interesting historical information about the history and evolution of this beautiful devotion. Two links are given here on the right, under “Devotions”. Please do not neglect to read the Promises of Mary to the Christians who recite the rosary!

Here ends this little introduction. I hope that you will find the Rosary uplifting and that you will one day start his recitation as a daily practice. I have found the practice extremely beneficial and cannot imagine a life without it anymore.

Best wishes to you.

Mundabor

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