In our last issue we shared with you the history of the rosary, as well as a primer on how to recite it. For those that haven’t taken the time lately (and it does take a bit of time, relative to our busy lives), you should consider giving yourself a gift this Advent season and saying a heartfelt rosary. Grab your beads, sit quietly somewhere, and actually commit to the 15 minutes or so it takes to say all five decades and meditate on the mysteries.
My mother taught me to pray the rosary. I will be forever grateful that she did. I had no idea, as a restless second-grader saying it with her during the season of Lent, that it would be a prayer that I would say so often during my adult years. I remember watching my Italian grandfather stroll back and forth in our backyard during his visits from Pennsylvania, holding his rosary beads and praying to the Blessed Mother – to whom he was deeply devoted. My own mother would kneel at her bed each and every night, rosary beads in hand. I remember walking by her half-closed door and seeing her on her knees, deep in prayer. Those are memories that helped shape my respect and reverence for this special prayer.
Among my most cherished possessions is my own rosary. It is the one I used to pray over our then-six-month-old son, whom we were told would likely need a rare surgery. I prayed over him as he slept in his crib, using the rosary my cousin had sent to me, along with a note explaining that the medal attached to it had been blessed by the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje. I have never, ever, prayed as hard as I did for my baby. After several doctors confirmed the diagnosis and probable surgery, a specialist at Loma Linda examined my child and declared, “There is nothing wrong with this baby.” I’ll never forget those words and my prayers turned to prayers of thanks.
That same rosary brought me comfort as I sat at my father’s bedside as he waited to enter eternal life. I wrapped the beads around his hands and held them as I prayed on his behalf for a peaceful passing. The words in the Hail Mary, “…Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” struck me like a lightening bolt as I was praying. How many times during the course of my life had I said those words in the many rosaries I had prayed? At that moment, I realized that THIS was my father’s “hour.” I was so grateful I knew how to pray the rosary. Just as I finished the last words of the Hail Holy Queen, he passed.
I’m blessed to have a mother who taught me how to pray to our heavenly mother. If you’ve not yet shared the rosary with your own children, make time to pray it together. Whether in times of great need or gratitude, it’s a prayer for life.