Monday, October 4, 2010

Month of the Rosary

“His care is to seek the Lord, his Maker, to petition the Most High, to open his lips in prayer…who will direct his knowledge and his counsel, as he meditates upon His mysteries.” Sirach 39: 6-7

When I was growing up with my two brothers, October usually meant three things in my family: football, raking leaves (and jumping in them) and praying the rosary. This was because 1) we were boys, 2) there were leaves and 3) we were Catholic. Praying the rosary in October (and celebrating other Catholic feasts, holidays and observances) helped to instill a strong Catholic identity in my brothers and I. The Faith was literally infused in me through these celebrations and encounters with Christ.

Many Saints have said that praying the rosary is the second most powerful prayer after the Mass. Yet, so often this devotion has fallen by the wayside as more and more Catholics are integrated into our culture and find themselves with a stronger American identity than Catholic identity. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Church still holds October as the Month of the Rosary. A special time marked aside to either begin or to renew our Marian devotion. But why would we want to do this? Because we want to become closer to Jesus. And Mary always points us to her Son.

Contrary to popular opinion, the rosary is not simply a set of rote, meaningless, insincere prayers spoken over and over with mindless repetition. Rather, it is five sets of prayers said while meditating on one of 20 “mysteries” of our Faith, almost all of them an important and profound time in the life and ministry of Jesus. Moments like His resurrection, His crucifixion, His miracles, His institution of the Eucharist, etc. Key doctrines of our faith that we would do well to meditate on more often in order to bring us more deeply into the mystery of His grace and its meaning for our lives.

Perhaps this is why it is often so difficult to pray the rosary on a consistent basis, or to pray it with fervor and attention. Obviously Satan works with all of his power to keep us from using such an incredible spiritual weapon against him. But let’s not let him win this battle. Let’s all renew (or try for the first time) our commitment to praying the rosary with consistency and passion. And maybe, just maybe, we can form a good habit this month that will help to guide us and bring us closer to Jesus--not just for this month, but throughout our entire lives.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of Your mercy. Amen.

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