I recently made a meal for new parents, pouring attention, prayers for the new baby, and love into all of the dishes. As I was preparing the meal, I was listening to Christian music, soothed with being able to cook and bake only being interrupted occasionally by the toddler, rather than the two older kids who were at their respective schools. Cook times meant I had plenty of time in the kitchen with my music, and at one point, I briefly considered praying a Rosary with one of my apps. But, I was enjoying the lack of spoken word, and basking in the joy of song and the random groove to the music, and didn’t recite the Rosary that day.
As we fought through traffic to deliver the meal post-school pick-up, my oldest asked why we “always” make a meal for a new family. In a subtle way, he was trying to figure out why the baby didn’t get a new toy. His question made me think of the mystery of The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, and I reminded him that, in the same way that Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, I find it very good to visit new parents and drop off a meal so that they only have to focus on eating and the baby, rather than preparing a meal.
Yet, as the days slipped by, I began to consider the Rosary in a new light. I began to see how the Rosary, as a devotion, brings us close to Christ – and, in an equally amazing manner, radically transforms us into doing what He desires. And, while I can’t say I picked up the Rosary and began praying it immediately in the aftermath of the conversation with my oldest, I can share some of the reasons the ways we have an opportunity to benefit from frequent, if not regular, recitation of the Holy Rosary.
We find ourselves transformed to be more Christ-like. When we sit with the Rosary and contemplate the mysteries and the fruits of the mysteries, we begin to see the Rosary change our own outlook. We stop living in our own world and start seeing those around us in a new light. We have a tendency to begin to look for and recognize the little ways we live out the mysteries in our daily lives. This challenges and encourages us to extend ourselves, even when we doubt our own abilities. We begin to make life about others, rather than about ourselves.
We are brought closer to Christ. The monotony of the memorized verses of the Our Father and Hail Mary affords us the opportunity to get to know the mysteries and the fruits of the mystery a little better. When we pray the Rosary, we are meditating on the life of Christ – significant milestones in His life, from conception through Assumption. While meditating on those, we are able to see parallels in our own lives, that show us the splendor of Christ’s fully human and fully Divine nature. We recognize the frailty of our own humanity, as we meet the perfect nature of love and sacrifice through Christ.
Christ and His life come alive. Sure, we all know the story of the angel appearing to Mary, but how frequently have we contemplated that unique, historic, glorious occasion? We have all read about Anna and Simeon approaching and honoring the baby Jesus in the Temple, but how often have we contemplated the fidelity and faith they held in order to wait year after year for the Savior? We all know the Stations of the Cross, but how often do we have the courage to rest with the events of that fateful, yet necessary for our salvation, day? When we pray the Rosary, we begin to view the events of Christ and His life in a different light. We begin to be active participants in the bible stories we either read as children, or heard aloud read at Mass. In any case, we begin to experience the “stories” of Christ’s life in an altogether different way.
Our relationship with God becomes deeper and richer. As the events of Christ’s life begin to truly unfold, we find ourselves brought deeper into a relationship with a Father Who loves us so much, He sent His only Son to ensure a salvation for our souls. Those who have hardened hearts will slowly start to see them soften, as they begin to recognize the magnanimous love that God holds for each of us. Our souls begin to take refuge in knowing God and loving God, and our actions begin to orient toward God and His will.
We become more confident and courageous. Have you ever noticed small children have confidence that makes them act quickly, surely, and without excuse? As our hearts soften and our relationship with God deepens, we begin to display the confidence we see in little children. We become confident in our role as beloved children of God, and as our faith life becomes richer, we find ourselves leaning more on God’s will, rather than our own. With that comes the confidence to seek, know, and do God’s will, without excuses or remorse.
Praying the Rosary will lead to the most aggressive spiritual attacks, as we begin to find ourselves bombarded with self-doubt, with self-criticism, and even with attacks against our character by other people. The goal of these attacks will be to derail us from reciting the Rosary. It is important that we recognize these attacks for what they are – a mission to drive us further from God.
Yet, even hidden within the first Joyful Mystery, we find the antidote to the attacks that will inevitably come. We will find our source of strength from the humongous fiat uttered by a “small” human girl. If Mary could help us defeat Satan by agreeing to carry our Savior in her womb, then she can certainly help us defeat Satan every time we are tempted to put aside the Rosary for any length of time.
Change is absolutely scary. Praying the Rosary will change us. It will transform each of us, and this transformation in turn transforms the world. In the end, a world transformed for love of God is beautiful.
So, if it has been a day, a week, or even a decade since you last picked up the Rosary, I invite you to join me in picking it up again today. If you can’t commit to praying a daily Rosary, I invite you to join me in starting small. Pray a Rosary once a week – specifically this Month of the Holy Rosary (October), with your goal to truly, radically transform into being the most loving Christian you are able to achieve. Call upon your prayer partners, your Guardian Angel, your patron saints, and more to help you dedicate a greater portion of your prayer life to unfolding the deep mysteries and treasure contained in the Rosary.
As you present a rose to the Blessed Mother with each Hail Mary, and your life begins to radically transform, know that your reward will be great in Heaven. No matter where you are beginning, join me in having faith and trust that with God, all things are possible – especially when we grow with Him through the Most Holy Rosary.
AnnAliese is a proud Army wife to her husband Chris and mother to their two young children. She has a BA in History, a Masters in Social Work, and has worked with disabled veterans, troubled teens, and in early childhood intervention therapy. Since the birth of her children, she has dedicated her time to volunteering with Army Community Services and several military chapel communities. As a cradle-Catholic, AnnAliese has been active in the Church since she was a child. As an adult, she has spent time serving as a lector, EMHC, Adoration coordinator, and Catholic Women of the Chapel (CWOC) chapter president and vice president. She also blogs about topics of Catholicism, parenting, and military life at A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life. You can also follow her on Twitter @BeautifulCamoMe, on Instagram at beautifulcamouflagedmess, or on Facebook at A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life.