|Saint Louis De Montfort's book, The Secret of the Rosary, Tan Book's pamphlet on How to Pray the Rosary, and Rosary beads from Medjugorje blessed by Jesus at St. James Church and Our Lady during one of Our Lady's apparitions|
If you have been following my blog for any serious length of time, you have probably come across my Rosary label and the several posts dedicated to it. With October being the "Month of the Rosary," I thought it fitting to publish today's post adding to that list, drawing encouragement and inspiration from Saint Louis De Montfort's book, The Secret of The Rosary.
The Secret of the Rosary, is an especially important read for anyone who is serious about understanding the Rosary and its proper recitation. The book is comprised of four main sections: a Preface, that instills in the reader the power of the Rosary and how effective it was in St. Louis De Montfort's life and ministry (1673-1716); a Dedication to priests, sinners, devout souls, and little children; and the two main sections of Part 1: What is the Rosary; and Part II: How to Recite it.
Saint Louis De Montfort includes many intriguing and informative chapters or "Roses" that will greatly aid and guide the reader to a more devout recitation of the Rosary: a brief history of the origin of the Rosary and how it was given to the Church by Our Lady in 1214, to Saint Dominic; the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary that arose from this devotion; the miracles of the Rosary; how it is a means of perfection and a wealth of sanctification; the numerous benefits; its power as a weapon against the Evil One and his demons; and how to pray the Rosary with attention, reverence, and devotion.
For those who are just discovering the Rosary or have been struggling to pray all four Mysteries—the Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous and Glorious Mysteries—it can seem somewhat daunting to include two hours of prayers a day dedicated to the Rosary alone, to what is already a very busy schedule. It is a daily challenge that we all face, but there is a way to achieve this: praying the Rosary a decade at a time.
The effort to pray the Rosary a decade at a time is explained in chapter, Forty-Fifth Rose: With Reverence, which St. Louis De Montfort dedicated to employing an effective method for the reverent and complete recitation of the Rosary each and every day.
Saint Louis De Montfort first begins by recommending that the Rosary be recited reverently and as much as possible, on our knees with hands joined, clasping the Rosary. Exceptions can be made for those who are: bedridden; travelling; or if infirmity prevents people from kneeling, they can recite it seated or standing.
As to the effective method to successfully complete the entire Rosary each day, St. Louis De Montfort advises the reader to segment the recitation into "three" different times of the day—to which we can add a fourth for the additional Luminous Mysteries introduced to the Church through Saint John Paul II in 2002—each dedicated to one set of the Mysteries.
Saint Louis De Montfort further suggests that if we cannot find the time to pray a "quarter" of the Rosary all at one time, then we should recite a decade, "here and there," so that as he put it, "...[I]n spite of your work and all the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole Rosary before going to bed." (95)
As to how to accomplish this in today's busy world with our hectic schedules imposing upon our time and energy, it really is a matter of rethinking our daily calendar.
If due consideration is given to Rosary, it won't take long to discover that there are several opportune times throughout the day to pray a decade or two, "here and there."
The consideration to pray the entire Rosary can start from the effort of an earlier morning rise for dedicated prayer time, which could be extended to the commute to and from work.
There may even be opportunities at work—depending on what you do for a living—to add a few decades. Those who make such an effort, can expect a reward from Our Lady as St. Louis De Montfort notes:
Of course, since the soul has its limitations and can only do so much, when we are concentrating on manual work we cannot give our undivided attention to things of the spirit, such as prayer. But when we cannot do otherwise this kind of prayer is not without value in Our Lady's eye's and she rewards our good will more than our external actions. (95)If you start to take advantage of those five-to-ten minutes throughout the day, you will discover even more time and eventually come to realize that the recitation of the entire Rosary was never an additional two hours to your day, but in lieu of many things that were not really necessary in the first place.
The added benefit of praying the Rosary a decade at a time, is that, it not only begins to develop consistent prayer habits, but it also helps to develop your prayer endurance. The analogy of training for a marathon comes to mind.
Much in the same manner as preparing for a marathon, the daily recitation of the entire Rosary cannot be something you embark on without proper training. As one trains for a marathon by building up one's endurance by running a few kilometres, and increasing that distance over time, so too does praying the Rosary a decade at time, build up your "prayer endurance." Eventually, you will be able to pray many decades completing the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries so that by the end of your day, before you lay your head down to sleep at night, you will have crossed the "spiritual finish line," and completed the "Marathon of Grace."
The Rosary is such an important prayer, the second most powerful next to the Holy Mass. Its faithful recitation will result in many graces and blessings bestowed upon those who pray it and promote it, as stated in the second and twelfth promises respectively of Fifteen Promises given by Our Lady to Christians who recite the Rosary, "2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary," and "12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities."
There have been many other saints throughout the history of the Catholic Church who have demonstrated a great love for and devotion to Our Lady through the Rosary: the Dominican Father Alan de la Roche, who was given the task by Our Lady of reviving the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, which he began in 1460; the well-known Jesuit, Brother Alphonsus Rodriguez who was known to pray the Rosary with such fervor; we know from the chronicles of Saint Francis of a Franciscan friar who prayed the Rosary so fervently each day, before dinner; Saint Francis de Sales (Bishop and Doctor of the Church) who refused to let exhaustion be an excuse from the complete recitation of the Rosary; Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa); Father Patrick Peyton; and Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) who prayed thirty-six Rosaries a day.
We also know of Pope Leo XIII, the "Rosary Pope," who wrote many documents promoting the Rosary and encouraging its recitation; in particular the encyclical, Supremi Apostolatus Officio, to which I dedicated a blog post,The Rosary: An Effective Weapon Against the Evils of Society.
In more recent times, we have Saint John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, a document that was issued in 2002, not only to promote the recitation of the Rosary and to facilitate a better understanding of its purpose and daily inclusion in our lives, but to also introduce a new, fourth set of mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries.
So significant was this new addition that Saint John Paul II declared October 2002 to October 2003, "The Year of The Rosary," which I also blogged about with my post, Saint John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae.
In addition to the many saints, Our Lady has also encouraged us to pray the Rosary at her apparitions in Fatima and Medjugorje.
There are other resources on the importance and significance of the Rosary and yet with all this—and access to it via the internet for several years—so many Catholics still do not pray the Rosary, and those that do, many do not pray all four Mysteries.
The world would be a much better place if Catholics prayed at least one decade of the Rosary each day; even that would make a difference!
One can only imagine the peace and many blessings bestowed upon the world—not to mention the halting of chastisements upon mankind for participating and promoting evil—if all four sets of Mysteries were prayed, fervently and devoutly, each day.
May many Catholics be inspired to do just that.