I have often written about the Rosary and I will continue to do in the future, as I think that the Rosary is the most beautiful weapon (after the Mass) in the armoury of the Catholic and the motorway to salvation even for the, well, more difficult cases.
EWTN has on its website a short-ish but well-made explanation of this devotion with both a short historical excursus and some briefly but convincingly outlined arguments of why we should pray the Rosary.
I’d add to them that the devotion to the Rosary for one’s entire life has been described by the Virgin Mary as a sign of predestination. In short, this means that developing the habit of devoutly reciting the Rosary will have as effect that Mary’s intercession and the work of the Holy Ghost will allow us to die in the state of grace.
I can’t stress enough how important this is in the life and in the economy of salvation of every faithful. The daily recitation of the Rosary – and the many promises attached to it, most importantly the one outlined above – will help the faithful to get some serenity if they tend to have scruples, to look with confidence at moral improvement and at a good death if they are alarmingly sinful – and perhaps tending to desperation – and to give a quiet confidence and a beautiful, serene hope to all the others.
In very simple words, the practice of the devout recitation of the Rosary is the way a Catholic makes his salvation – to express oneself very bluntly – in some way “irrefutable”. If he perseveres in this devotional habit, Mary’s intercession and the Holy Ghost’s work in him will invariably lead him to a point where he improves his ways at least to the extent that the mercy of God does not deny him salvation. It doesn’t mean that one will become a saintly man, nor that this process will be a gradual or a visible one, nor that a long and painful sojourn in Purgatory will in this way be automatically avoided. Similarly, it is not like going to the gym every day, with the results being soon visible in direct proportion to the regularity and earnestness of the effort. Rather, it is like working every day to the building of an invisible shield with the promise that – if we persevere in this work like honest craftsmen – the shield is guaranteed to be, at the moment of death, strong enough to avoid Satan wounding one’s soul to the point of damnation.
It is, in a sense, a minimum guarantee concerning what is, in everyone’s life, the matter of most importance.
For this reason not only the importance of the habit of praying the rosary can never be sufficiently stressed, but at the same time the benefit of transmitting this knowledge within one’s own circle of relatives or acquaintances appears evident. For example, parents could make an effort to instil in their young children the habit of praying the Rosary every day at the same time as they decide to acquire this habit for themselves; even if there is no guarantee that these children, once grown, will keep the habit it is highly probable that one day – when life’s troubles knock at their door, as they invariably do – they’ll remember the experience and perhaps recover a great patrimony for themselves.
The Rosary is truly, truly important. So important that, in my eyes, it should be looked at with the same sense of importance with which mass attendance is observed, but with the notable difference that a daily rosary recitation is easier to achieve than mass attendance and the failure to attend to this devotion is therefore, so to speak, less easily excusable. I mean by this that one can pray the Rosary even on many of those occasion when he is not in a position to attend Mass: say, when ill or travelling.
If one is honest with oneself, he’ll notice that he does have the time to pray during the day, or before going to bed. As always, it is a matter of priorities and if one discovers that he can’t find 20 minutes for prayer in 16-18 hours of waking time, well this is a clear sign that his priorities are in dire need of re-adjustment! Conversely, if one decides that the daily recitation of the rosary does have priority he’ll soon discover that the opportunities to recite it are in a normal day – and if necessary by splitting the rosary in a decade or more at the time, as one is allowed to do – aplenty.
Forgive me, therefore, for coming back to the same argument again and again. If there is an issue worth of being repeated, it is this one. I also allow myself to stress the benefit of daily recitation of the rosary because – at least for me – this is the only way to make it work. It is in my eyes very difficult to take the decision to pray the Rosary, say, “three times a week” and stick to it, as irregularity of practice facilitates forgetfulness and mañana-attitude. Much easier is it, I think, to make of the rosary a daily habit. No forgetfulness, and no mañanas…..
Devout Mass attendance and devout Rosary recitation are God’s and Mary’s double whammy against Satan’s snares. You do these two and the rest will come to you by itself in the same way as if you leave your front door open in winter cold will unavoidably get in. By devoutly attending Mass and reciting the Rosary, you open the door to Heaven moulding you in such a way that Satan won’t win, guaranteed.
There’s no better deal in your life, no investment with a higher yield, no pleasure or joy that can compare with this.
Start taking the habit of praying the rosary every day. One day you’ll be so glad you did it.
Beautiful article in the Remnant about the reasons why the “luminous mysteries” should be discarded.
The first one is the historic origin of the Rosary in the Psaltery. When monks started to have the obligation to read all the Psalms (150 in number) every day, the increasing number of conversi (lay people who lived in the monastery helping the monks, generally to expiate grave sins or otherwise to perfect themselves but without becoming monks) made it necessary to create a comparable devotion accessible to them. As most conversi were illiterate, they started to be given the task of reciting 150 Pater Noster every day. In time, this devotion spread to the generality of the lay people in form of 150 Ave Maria. Thus we have a direct link to the Rosary with the Psaltery. An addition of a fourth cycle of mysteries makes of the entire rosary a cycle of 200 Hail Marys and the traditional link with the Psaltery is lost.
Secondly, the division of the Rosary in three parts and three sets of mysteries has been traditionally linked to the Trinity. This is why Pope Paul VI says that the Rosary is wisely distributed in three parts. The addition of a fourth part destroys the traditional link of the Rosary with the Trinity.
Thirdly, in any innovation of the Rosary there is an element of change. After the innovation madness of the last decades, we now know that change is not something good in itself; on the contrary, it creates confusion. What has been honoured and considered orthodox praxis by the centuries should be transmitted unaltered to the following generations. If it ain’t broken…….
Fourthly (and this is not in the article, but is a fact nevertheless) the Rosary has been shaped in his main traits by Marian apparitions to St. Dominic, Blessed Alan de la Roche and lastly to the children of Fatima. The idea that a Pope should add his own suggestions on how to improve on various Marian apparitions really, really doesn’t feel right.
Further interesting elements emerge from this article: the first is the attempted ravaging of the Rosary by the notorious Annibale Bugnini (it is amazing not only what damage the man has caused, but what further damage he wanted to cause), attempt stopped by Pope Paul VI who therefore spared the Rosary from undergoing the same treatment Bugnini inflicted to the Mass. The second is the laud given by the notoriously anti-Catholic New York Times to JP II’s “suggested” changes. Please note the words of the Article: JP II is commended for “crossing another frontier”, because in the NYT’s world if you cross a frontier of traditional Catholicism you must be doing something good. More explicitly, the NYT informs his probably unaware readers that the Pope will be “making a significant change in the Rosary, a signature method of Catholic prayer for centuries now”. Now, the NYT is certainly not interested in the improvement of Catholic spirituality. What it is interested in, is that something which has gone on for centuries is now going to change. They know very well that every time someone gives a shove to a traditional devotion, the faith is weakened as a result. The third is that even in the Vatican’s mind the changes reflect the late Pope’s “creativity” and “courage”. That “creativity” in relation to traditional Catholic devotions be not only contemplated, but even praised speaks volumes about the theological approximation and tireless devotion to “change” which used to afflict the Vatican in those years. Only eight years later, we read these words with stunned disbelief. That they could come from the Vatican is even more disquieting than the fact that they should be praised by their enemies at the NYT.
A bad History teacher doesn’t change History and a bad teacher of Catholicism doesn’t change Catholicism. But both will transmit their mediocrity to their pupils.
This is, of course, no theological matter. Still, traditional Catholic devotions play (or should play) an important role in a Catholic’s life and should be therefore left alone. It is now high time to abandon the shallowness and fashion-conscious thinking making us believe that “change” be something good. Change for the sake of change is not good and is not courageous, and “creativity” is nothing to do with tradition.
I invite you to recite the Rosary every day, and to do it as many generations before us have done.