As we celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7, Reverend Ismael N. Ayala, Associate Rector and Director of Liturgy at the Basilica, offers a reflection on the practice of praying the Rosary.
This past June, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I was pleased to lead the National Shrine in praying the 13th Annual Global Rosary Relay for the Sanctification of Priests. This special time of prayer, with the Shrine faithful and thousands around the world, was an opportunity to give thanks to God for priests and to implore the protection of Our Lady for all priests. Certainly this moment of worldwide prayer drew grace upon the world. Leading the Rosary on this day reminded me of Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., affectionately known as the “Rosary Priest,” who often said, “The family that prays together stays together,” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”
The Rosary is a meditative prayer that can transform hearts and change lives. The Rosary is our prayer to God through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. When we gather for a funeral vigil, family and friends gather to pray the Rosary. It offers us peace of mind. When a close friend of mine learned that a family member fell ill, he prayed the Rosary, offering his worries and prayer intentions to God. As we meditate on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, be it the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, or Luminous mysteries, we reflect on Scripture and enter key moments of the life of Jesus Christ. And the closer we dwell on the love of God for us, the more our own faith, hope, love for, and trust in God increases.
We need to remind ourselves, however, that praying the Rosary need not be limited to those occasions when we are facing challenges and difficulties in our journey of faith. When I was Pastor, I would often join parishioners at their home for supper and together we would pray the Rosary before sitting at the table. I would often see parishioners quietly praying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament in church. I would join the Men’s Group on Saturday mornings and begin the day by praying the Rosary. And I know many individuals who pray the Rosary on their commute to work because it is a peaceful start to their day. I begin my day by praying the Rosary. It truly is a beautiful, daily encounter with the Lord.
All of us live busy and distracted lives – whether we are a student, working from 9-5 (or longer), or if we are retired. No doubt, you are now reading this blog post from your computer or smartphone. All of us need to step back to retreat from the busyness and distractions of our day, switch off the phone, and social media, and quiet our minds. Take a moment today to pray the Rosary. Offer it for a friend or family member, for peace of mind, for peace in the world.
Praying the Rosary allows us to encounter Mary and to enter the mysteries of Jesus Christ. From his Incarnation, to the Cross, to the Resurrection, we come to understand that God has revealed himself and saved us. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, continue to inspire us to a life of discipleship.