Why I pray the rosary

By  Jasmine Canaria, Youth Speak News
  • January 26, 2007
At Mass, I often listen to people as they say the Our Father and the Apostles' Creed, wondering whether they ever stop to think about what those words mean. It's funny how you can recite prayers without paying attention to the important words you say. Sometimes when saying repetitive prayers like the rosary, I find myself just going through the motions, either because I'm worried about school or just not focusing, so I stop myself and consciously reflect.

This spring, as I prayed the rosary at the Eucharistic Congress Summit in Quebec City, a group of young people reminded me that there is much more to the words we recite in prayer. My view of the Hail Mary was changed when one of the female youth led this prayer, because her use of intonation reminded me of the power and love behind prayers. She added warmth and beauty into her words, like she was thinking of the events that are recognized and honoured through this prayer.

The words "full of grace" and "now and at the hour of our death" reminded me of how, through faith, the Holy Mother triumphed over the many trials in her life, but still loves and watches over us all. Mary is an example of the grace that God brings us, as well as the forgiveness we should show to others. This recitation of the rosary refreshed me and reopened my eyes to the beauty, power and meaning of prayer. 

Praying the rosary is one of the many ways to reflect on the lives of Mary and the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus, but how much do we really know about that prayer? 

How many people know that when the Blessed Mother appeared at Fatima in 1913 for the final time, she revealed to the unbelieving pilgrims there that she was the Lady of the rosary? Over the course of her apparitions to three children, she made many promises to Christians who pray the rosary, including that of protection, virtue and "the abundant mercy of God." Not that anyone needs incentive to pray, but knowing that Mary made these promises emphasizes the hope that the rosary brings.

The complete rosary consists of 20 decades, each recited to honour one of the mysteries, which focus on important events in the Gospels, and celebrated in Catholic Mass. On Monday and Saturday we reflect on the Joyful Mysteries, Tuesday and Friday on the Sorrowful Mysteries, Wednesday and Sunday the Glorious Mysteries, and Thursday on the Luminous Mysteries.

The pattern of the rosary is an Our Father followed by 10 Hail Mary's, the Glory Be to the Father and the Fatima prayer. It gives the rosary a beauty and rhythm that comforts and strengthens my faith through their repetition, history and tradition.

At the start of the New Year, my priest from St. Catharines, Msgr. Dominic Pizzacalla, charged our congregation with the task of living more prayerful lives. This is not to say that we must say more prayers, but to think more about the words we use. I have the ability to live my whole life more prayerfully, with more respect, meaning, love, attention to my blessings and what the mysteries of the rosary teach. So I will pray for the strength to listen to the meaning of prayers and to know that they actually mean something.

(Canaria, 22, studies psychology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.) 

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