We, as Catholics, know and understand that the Mass is the most powerful prayer since Jesus commanded us to “do this in memory of me”. As Vatican II stated, the Holy Eucharist is the “Source, Center, and Summit of our Faith.” Of the numerous Catholic prayers and devotions, the Holy Rosary is arguably the second most powerful prayer.
History and Origin of the Rosary: before Christianity, the ancient Hebrews used to pray the 150 Psalms and used to tie 150 knots to represent all of the Psalms in the Bible. The origin of the Rosary is rooted in the 13th Century, when Saint Dominic de Guzman was sadly praying to the Blessed Mother about his lack of progress in his preaching to the Albigensians who were a growing group of heretics in France at that time. The Albigensians denounced the Incarnation and the dignity of human life and even praised suicide. In response to Saint Dominic’s lamentations, the Blessed Mother appeared to him and taught him to pray the Holy Rosary to which she referred as “heavenly dew” which would bring an “abundant harvest” and that it did for St Dominic. In subsequent apparitions (ie, Lourdes and Fatima), our Blessed Mother has strongly encouraged us to pray the Rosary. Starting with Pope Urban IV, numerous Popes throughout the centuries have strongly endorsed the Holy Rosary including Pope John Paul II who wrote an encyclical on the Rosary. In fact, it was Pope John Paul II, a staunch advocate of the Rosary, who added 5 more decades to the traditional 15 decades.
The mechanics of the Rosary are simple with the main prayers being the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. However, the real power of the Rosary is that it is a meditative prayer with which we pray to both Jesus and His Blessed Mother and meditate on the Scriptural verses which depicts key events in the lives of Jesus and His Blessed Mother which are found in the Sorrowful, Joyful, Glorious, and Luminous Mysteries. 18 of the 20 decades have direct links to Sacred Scripture while 2 have indirect references in Sacred Scripture. According to St Louis de Montfort, a spiritual disciple of St Dominic who was strongly devoted to our Blessed Mother, meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary will produce some wonderful results:
1. It will gradually give us perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ
2. It purifies our souls, washing away sins
3. It gives us victory over our enemies
4. It makes it easy to practice virtue
5. It sets us on fire with a love of Jesus
6. It enriches us with graces and merits.
Note: Meditation is very easy. You just think about the mystery that is described in the Bible as you pray the decade of Our Father with 10 Hail Mary’s. For example, for the sorrowful mystery of the Crucifixion, you visualize the stripping of Jesus’ clothes; nailing Jesus to the cross; Jesus’ suffering on the cross; people shouting at Jesus; etc
1. Luke 1: 28 (what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary at the Annunciation)
And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”
2. Luke 1: 42 (how Elizabeth greeted Mary at the Visitation)
And she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
1. Paragraph 2708
“Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.”
Small Group Questions
1. For those of you who already say the Rosary regularly, what have been the benefits for you, your Family, and the people for whom you pray?
2. If you meditate on Sacred Scripture as you pray the Rosary, why is this NOT boring?
3. What opportunities do you have to pray the Rosary in your busy schedule?
4. What makes the Rosary such a powerful prayer?
5. Do you have opportunities to pray the Rosary with your Family? If so, when?
1. The Rosary “The Little Summa” by Robert Feeney
2. Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer by David N Calvillo
3. David Calvillo’s website: http://www.realmenpraytherosary.org
1. Take the 33 day challenge offered by David Calvillo at his website.
2. Before you begin your Rosary, look at the Sacred Scripture that describes the mysteries. For example, the scriptural verses related to the Sorrowful Mysteries (the Passion and Death) will provide you with much for your meditation. After you do that for the Sorrowful Mysteries, repeat this process of reading applicable scriptural verses for the Glorious, the Joyful, and the Luminous Mysteries. This will help your meditation tremendously.
3. If you need help, purchase a Rosary prayer book at your local Catholic book store. These prayer books normally have the scriptural verses related to mysteries of the Rosary.
1. The 33 Day Challenge from David Calvillo’s website
Pray the Rosary daily. Not for 30 days but 33 days. 33 represents the number of years that Jesus dwelt among us in the fullness of his humanity. 33 constitutes a direct connection to the fullness of the Divine- made man, a connection to Jesus himself. One day of praying the Rosary for every year that Jesus gave us, setting aside his glory as God, and living and breathing and walking among us. Pray the Rosary daily for 33 days. Focus on the content of the mysteries. Meditate upon that Gospel story and apply the lessons to your life. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to receive the fullness of His mystery-the fullness of faith.
You won’t be alone. We’ll all be praying with you. Beginning May 1, the entire RMPTR community, the Body of Christ, will pray along with you. Share your journey with us – on Facebook- or post a comment on this page. Share your reflection on a mystery of the day. You can subscribe to our daily reflection and receive it by email. Ask the RMPTR community to join in your intentions. Share your journey. Share your laughter. Invite someone you love to join the journey. We know it will change your prayer life. We know praying the Rosary daily will change your life.
Praying the Rosary daily permits us to employ the full gospel story — the new covenant salvation story — within our continuing faith journey. Those who pray the Rosary daily and who respond to the call to faithfully meditate on each day’s mysteries, find that within one week, they have lived through it. They revisit the imminent joy of Advent and the birth of our Lord; they cherish the illuminating reality that Jesus walked among us, talked to and taught us directly; they intimately observe, with Mary by their side, the sorrowful cruelty meted upon him by our sinful humanity and marvel at his loving response; they experience the glory and wonder of promises kept as they stand at the tomb and begin to understand the reality of the covenant satisfied.
Our circle of faith is completed by the visceral story prayed by us and lived by us in this daily prayer.
Such frequent relationship with Jesus and Mary for 25-30 minutes a day is bound to change us. As Pope John Paul II reminded us: “Just as two friends, frequently in each other’s company, tend to develop similar friends, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar converse with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, … we can become similar to them” and live that elusive, virtuous holy life.
At the end of the 33 days, pray it forward. Share your experience with a loved one. Invite them to continue the 33 day Rosary challenge for themselves. And for you, notice the arrow on the logo- it continues in perpetuity. The 33 day Rosary challenge invites you to make praying the Rosary a permanent and integral part of your spiritual journey. Pray it forward.
Take the “Real Men Pray the Rosary 33 day Challenge.” Love made you do it!