The origins of the rosary date back to St. Dominic, a fervent preacher, determined to combat heresy. He is the founder of The Dominican Order aka The Order of Preachers (O.P.). When his mother was pregnant she had a vision of giving birth to a dog with a torch in his mouth, going around the world setting fire to each place he went. That is why in pictures of this saint there is often a dog with a torch in his mouth standing next to him. Of course, that fire is symbolic of The Holy Spirit and saving light of Christ.
One day, St. Dominic came to his wits end after years of going into towns and preaching the good news especially the saving mysteries of Christ’s life. He found initially that his preaching was to little avail. He journeyed 3 days into a forest in France coupled with fasting, fervent prayer, and mortification.
During that time, Our Lady appeared to him along with her angels. She instructed him on the solution to his agonizing pain. Which he felt at the thought of the loss of so many souls. By combining what was known back then as the Marian Psalter (which was a predecessor of the now known Rosary) with the mediation of the saving mysteries of Christ’s life. Tradition has it that she instructed him on which ones to meditate on.
This revelation is powerful because the secret of the power of the rosary is the meditation on the Word of God, which brings us closer in union with the most perfect human God ever created the sinless Blessed Virgin Mary who brings clarity and light to our darkened minds and hearts. The rosary is a powerful summary of the truths of Christianity.
It’s so simple anyone can pray it, yet so loaded with graces that it is efficacious for anyone and everyone.
It’s tempting to slide into the trap of believing this devotion is for beginners but yet the recent Saint Padre Pio was rumored to have prayed 35 rosaries a day! Don’t be afraid, if your not exactly at that level yet, neither am I. This Champion of the Rosaries is a spiritual heavyweight; just like an athlete, the spiritual life is similar in that there is no shame in starting off small. Try praying even just one decade a day which would take no longer than a minute. Let’s be honest, we all have a minute to spare.
A man blessed with so many miracles and extraordinary events testifies that the anchor of his whole spiritual life was this simple prayer. Some might wonder, how can a man giving so much time to Mary be so close to Jesus? Mary seeks to bring us closer to Jesus. Mary was and is the closest person to Jesus by virtue of her perfection and her motherhood. For she was spared the pain of original sin at conception in order to be a perfect vessel for Jesus to enter the world. It only makes sense if we want to get close to Jesus we have to get close to Mary or else our efforts fall short due to our sins and weaknesses. Where Mary is present - there Jesus is as well. Where Mary is, there is the Holy Spirit, as she is fittingly called the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
It can be tough to pray the rosary. The Catechism states that prayer is a battle and some days we experience that more than others. One trick I find very fruitful is to grab a book or pamphlet with pictures of each mystery. A mystery is an event in The Lord’s life here on earth. Start with praying an Our Father followed by praying ten Hail Mary’s, a Glory Be, finished with the O My Jesus prayer given to us at the Fatima apparition all while meditating on the given mystery of that particular decade. You can easily do an Internet search and find plenty of websites with the mysteries of the day (each day The Church recommends a particular set of mysteries) for free and meditate on the picture along with the bible verses associated with each mystery as you pray each decade, as your attention wavers bring it back to the picture or the words of scripture and allow Mary to show you what’s happening in each scene. You can imagine yourself in any number of positions in each mystery, for example, The Crucifixion you can imagine what it was like be St. John at the foot of the cross or Mother Mary or even yourself. You can imagine what the scene might have looked like, what sounds could be heard, what it smelled like, etc. You can even place yourself in Our Lord’s place and imagine what he must have felt, especially the great love he had for those who were crucifying him, the people who went to great lengths to make sure he didn’t make it out of this alive.
This is just one way to pray the rosary to trust me when I tell you if you’ve ever tried praying the rosary and failed, there’s a method out there, which can help, don’t stop until you find it!
Mother Mary lead us!