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.