The Rosary: Speaking God’s Language

In my previous post I shared a video expressing the joy of praying the rosary. The video quotes several excuses and criticisms people often have about praying the rosary. The one that really struck a cord with me was, “that I always pray the same thing.” However, prayer is not only about the words, but it is also about setting aside time to focus on our relationship with God.

Hail Mary Full of Grace
Image by Raymond Brown via Flickr

In my previous post I shared a video expressing the joy of praying the rosary.  The video quotes several excuses and criticisms people often have about praying the rosary.  The one that really struck a cord with me was, “that I always pray the same thing.”  I not only hear this from others, but that thought often crosses my mind before I pray.  Sometimes the engineer in me wants to utter the equation, “(Our Father + (Hail Mary * 10) + Glory Be + Fatima Prayer)*5*4” and tell God to fill in the details.  Or I want to tell God that He already knows what I usually pray for so He can just take what I said yesterday and pretend I said it today.  As efficient as that may seem, it defeats the purpose of prayer.  For prayer is not only about the words, but it is also about setting aside time to focus on our relationship with God.

Think about your favorite movie.  Think about one that you’ve seen a hundred times and wouldn’t mind watching it a hundred times more.  I know that I can watch any “Star Wars” movie a countless number of times and still be thrilled (excluding “The Phantom Menace“).   I’m not sure why this is the case for certain movies.  Maybe there is a certain level of comfort viewing something that is familiar or invokes good memories.  In a very loose way, the same can be said about the rosary.  We should look forward with happy anticipation to pray the rosary although we recite the same prayers every time.  After all, praying the rosary is our time to talk to God.  And while the words may be the same, the way God reveals Himself to us is always different.  Praying the rosary, like a good movie, should be a time of peace and happiness.  After all, at the heart of the rosary is God and God is all good.

The rosary may be made of simple parts, but that does not mean that it is a mindless prayer.  The “Hail Mary” and “Our Father” prayers serve as a backdrop so that we can focus our hearts, minds, and souls on God.  Think of these simple prayers as the building blocks for deeper contemplation and meditation.  For example, professional swimmers must coordinate basic strokes in order to win a gold medal.  When they first start training, they focus on the mechanics of each individual stroke — their arm and leg placement, breathing, etc.  But over time those movements become second nature and they can concentrate on really pushing themselves to do better.  The same goes for prayer.  These relatively-simple prayers are the building blocks we need to form a deeper relationship with God.  The more we pray, the more receptive we become to hear how God wants us to live.

Through prayer, we bring forward all the important issues in our lives and place them before our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We have our whole day to focus on other tasks — work, family, friends, traffic, finances, daily chores, etc.  But praying the rosary is our time to concentrate on our relationship with God.  I’m not saying that work, family, and friends have no place in prayer.  Quite the contrary, they are an important part of prayer since we bring all our concerns from our daily lives and place them before God.  And when we pray earnestly, God speaks to us and provides us guidance.  He doesn’t make our problems magically disappear, but He will show us the way to handle them if we make ourselves receptive to His Word.

So let us pray the rosary with joy.  May we view the rosary as our chance to bring all our problems, concerns, and thanks before God.   If we really have faith knowing that our prayers go directly to God then we would never view fifty “Hail Mary” prayers (one mystery of the rosary) as too long or just mindless repetition.  For the rosary is the God’s language and we owe it to ourselves to learn it.

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Medjugorje Message: May 25, 2009

The May 25, 2009 message from our mother Mary at Medjugorje. She sends a message that the Holy Spirit will lead you on the way of witnessing your faith.

St. James Church in Međugorje.
Image via Wikipedia

The latest message from our mother Mary at Medjugorje:

“Dear children! In this time, I call you all to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon every baptized creature, so that the Holy Spirit may renew you all and lead you on the way of witnessing your faith – you and all those who are far from God and His love. I am with you and intercede for you before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Let us pray for all of those who have wondered away from God’s grace whether it be deliberately or inadvertently.  As I discussed in my Third Glorious Mystery meditation, the Holy Spirit’s greatest give is the strength and courage to live the faith and remain in God’s grace.  The question is, will you let the Holy Spirit into your life or are you blocking Him?  Let us make an effort to quiet our hearts and minds so that we may hear the Holy Spirit and let Him guide us.   We must also pray double for those who are the furthest away from God’s Word and truth since they need the intercession of the Holy Spirit the most.

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Rosary Meditation: The Second Luminous Mystery

Miracle at Cana
Image by Loci Lenar via Flickr

Today’s rosary meditation is the second Luminous Mystery — The Miracle at the Wedding at Cana.  At a wedding party, Jesus turned water into wine in His first public miracle.  This started his ministry of healing the sick, giving site to the blind, and mobility to the paralyzed.  There are two main threads that are common to all the Gospels and they are Jesus’ miracles and parables.  Why are Jesus’ miracles so critical to his ministry?  And, if He could perform all these miraculous deeds, why did He not eliminate everyone’s problems and hardships instantly?  Why do we still have sick, blind, and paralyzed people today if it is so easy for the Lord to heal someone?

In order for Jesus’ miracles to have any meaning you must understand the reason behind them.  They are not performed for the sole purpose of making peoples’ lives easier.  We cannot reduce Jesus to a mere genie who will grant us all our wishes.  They are performed in order to increase our faith and open us up to His word.  When Jesus gives sight to the blind He does a lot more than just heal one person.  The miraculous act is a sign of His divinity and power so that many more will come to recognize him as Christ our king and follow His path.  We are like children where His miracles are a way of getting our attention so that we will be more receptive to His message.  The miracles are not only for the one who is healed, but also for those who witness them so that our doubt will be transformed into unquestioning faithfulness.

However, Jesus’ asks a lot of those whom He heals.  They must make a firm commitment to transform their lives, follow Him, live according to His will, and have faith that He will guide them to His heavenly kingdom.  Luke’s Gospel talks of Jesus healing ten leapers.  Of that ten only one came back to thank and praise Him at which point Jesus said that his faith made him well.  The other nine eventually died, as we all do, so their physical healing was only temporary.  But the one who returned to the Lord received more than temporary, physical healing.  He received the gift of faith which is the true purpose of the miracle and more important than any physical healing we receive in this life.  Ask yourself, would you return and thank Him for His wonderful works?  If yes, then ask yourself how many times you have thanked our Lord for the great miracle of a new day?  For the miracle of friends?  For the miracle of family?  Many times we are the nine healed leapers who are given so much and yet we never return to thank the one who provides it all.

Do we pray for miracles for the right reasons?  Do we ask for them in order to grow in our relationship with our Lord or do we ask for them just so that our lives will be made easier?  We must remember that a miracle that only makes our lives easier is worldly and temporary and will eventually fade away and be replaced by different challenges.  Let us remember that God always hears us even when our request for a miracle goes unanswered.  God, in His infinite wisdom, knows that many of our requests only serve to make our present lives easier and would not bring us any closer to Him.  Like a good parent, He knows when to tell us “no.”  Jesus did not come to us to make our lives easier in this world, but rather He came so that we may be with Him for all eternity in our next life.  Let us pray this decade that Jesus’ miracles heal our soul, increase our faith, and lead us closer to His love.