Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Rosary: A Marathon of Grace

As a continuation on the theme of October being the "Month of The Rosary," today's post is my encouragement to all who have made this month, the beginning of a new or renewed effort to pray the Rosary. Whether you are entirely new to the Rosary, have infrequently prayed it or consistently recited the daily required mysteries, if you are striving for the complete daily recitation of the entire Rosary, this post will assist you in your effort.

No matter where you are in your prayer life and faith journey, prayer takes effort. The Rosary certainly is no exception, especially when endeavouring to pray the entire Rosary each day. Very much like a marathon, the daily recitation of the entire Rosary can not be something you embark on without proper training. Like an athlete who begins to train for a marathon by running only a few kilometres, and building upon that to eventually to run the entire distance and cross the finish line, so too must you take on a similar goal with the Rosary by building up your capacity to "pray the distance" and cross the spiritual finish line.

Saint Louis De Montfort in his book, The Secret of The Rosary, provides guidance for the faithful so that each day, at the end of the day, when laying your head down to sleep, you will have completely recited the entire the Rosary. Saint Louis De Montfort states in the Forty-Fith Rose - With Reverence:
...I advise you to divide up your Rosary into three parts and say each group of mysteries (five decades) at a different time of day. This is much better than saying the whole fifteen decades all at once. If you cannot find the time to say a third part of the Rosary all at one time, say it gradually, a decade here and there. I am sure you can manage this; so that, in spite of your work and all the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole Rosary before going to bed...
The division of the Rosary into three parts, is now to be divided into four parts due to the fact that back then in the 17th century during Montfort's time, the Luminous Mysteries were not apart of the Rosary recitation. The Luminous Mysteries were given to us by Mary, through her most faithful servant, Pope John Paul II, who in 2002 revealed them to the Church in his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (21). Separating the mysteries into four parts throughout the day, requires the faithful devotee to allocate approximately 25-30 minutes four times a day, to pray each one of the four sets of mysteries: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries.

Taking the effort one step further with St. Louis De Montfort's aforementioned recommendation, the Rosary can be broken down into individual decades so that if you are pressed to set aside 25-30 minutes for prayer, then reciting the Rosary a decade at a time, becomes part of the daily pursuit for complete recitation. If you are new to the Rosary, each of the four sets of mysteries is comprised of five individual prayer decades. For example, the Joyful Mysteries: the first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation to Mary, the second Joyful mystery is the Visitation of Mary, the third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity, the fourth Joyful Mystery is the Presentation of the Lord and the fifth Joyful Mystery is the Finding of the Lord in the Temple. The prayers of each decade are as follows:  Our Father, 10 Hail Mary's, Glory Be and O My Jesus. The approximate time to complete an individual decade in about five minutes. So if you can strive to find five minutes of your time, here and there, by the end of the day, you will have completed the entire Rosary.

In today's busy world our calendars can easily be filled with a variety of projects, social activities, home renovations, gardening, family events, sports activities and a host of "things to do." To seriously commit to the Rosary devotion requires a diligent and determined effort each and everyday. This entails a "rethink" as to what we are willing to change in order to free up time for increased prayer. For some, freeing up time in their day may mean a reduction of television, for others reducing that daily gym session to only 2-3 times a week, less internet time etc. Some may be willing to take it a step further, by the realization that we are mentally free to think and pray while performing certain physical activities. Such opportunities may present themselves for example, while vacuuming, gardening, walking for an hour after dinner etc. You probably have thought about many things while performing chores, work, exercising etc., why not think and pray about Jesus and Mary with a partial recitation of the Rosary. 

How much time and training will you need to cross the "spiritual finish line?" That will depend on God's grace and your sincere effort. God and the Blessed Virgin Mary will not be outdone in generosity. If you are generous in your efforts, a generous amount of graces will come to you through Mary's, God's dispenser of grace. As St. Bernardine has stated, "All the gifts, graces, virtues of the Holy Spirit are distributed by the hands of Mary, to whom she wills, when she wills, as she wills and in the measure she wills." Pray to Our Lady of The Rosary for all the graces you need to "pray the distance" and cross the spiritual finish line.

Rest assured that all who visit my blog are in my daily Rosary. In a very special way, I pray for those who are striving for a daily recitation of the entire Rosary, endeavouring to complete the marathon of grace. 

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