I’m Giuseppe G. and I’m 19. It’s not the first time that I write to you.
I have a great joy in my heart, I have just started University a few weeks ago and, therefore, with the joy, friendliness and sympathy that the Lord gives me along with many other gifts, I have begun to make friends.
Amongst others I met this girl, her name is S .. We started talking in order to get to know each other, and also to discuss various subjects (I am not one who is ashamed to speak his mind, especially about being of Christ and belonging to Him).
I found out that she is a believer too, but she never prayed the Rosary except once as a child.
I am so devoted to Our Lady … and I am also devoted to the Holy Rosary, a safe haven for every time there are stormy waters to face. I never understood how someone can deprive himself of such a prayer which warms the heart so much with the Love that only a Mother knows how to give and not one among many, but Mary, Mother of God.
I had the grace from God to pray the Holy Rosary daily for almost the entire month of October (I hope to continue and cultivate this holy habit) … despite all this I am a little anxious … she asked me to teach her how to pray the Rosary, and to pray it together …
Despite the fact that I love praying the Rosary, it makes me burn with love for Jesus and Mary, I’m afraid of not being able to transmit the beauty of this prayer which is dialogue (unfortunately, it has happened to me too to initially find it so monotonous, almost boring … while it is actually a “treasure to be rediscovered”).
I also read some religious literature, De Montfort, Teresa D’Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux, the writings of Saint Clare and Saint Francis, Saint Francis de Sales, St. Alfonso De Liguori, some books and writings of St. John Paul II.
I immediately asked the Lord and the Virgin to grant me the grace to guide me in the best possible way, I have total trust in them … on the other hand, without their intervention I would be good for nothing, including teaching how to pray the Rosary.
At this point, you and your email immediately came to mind. Tomorrow I intend to go to my priest to ask him for advice too.
I’ll be waiting for your reply, thank you.
Answer from the priest
1. I am happy to hear that this friend of yours has been motivated by the desire to pray the Holy Rosary and has asked you what must be done to pray it properly.
Several times I have had the opportunity to say how the Rosary is to be prayed and I am happy to repeat it once again.
2. First of all, it should be remembered that the Rosary does not simply consist in repeating the Our Father and the Hail Mary in an orderly manner for a certain number of times.
To pray Our Father five times and Hail Mary 50 times is undoubtedly an excellent thing.
Indeed, it is very advantageous because St. Thomas says that the Our Father is never prayed without receiving some benefits.
And St. Bonaventure recalls that Our Lady always repays with some grace whoever turns to her saying: Hail Mary. Here are his exact words: “Mary always greets (responds) with (some) grace if we greet her with affection with the Ave Maria” to those who greet her with the Ave Maria “(” Libenter Maria salutat cum gratia si libenter salutamus eam cum Ave Maria ”, Speculum B. Virginis Mariae, lect. IV).
3. The Rosary is much more than this, which from a certain point of view is already quite a lot.
The various mysteries that are enunciated give the tone to the prayer of the Rosary. They are placed there as if to say: now fix your attention on the events accomplished by Christ for your personal salvation.
Attention to the mysteries, also called meditation or contemplation, not only serves to remember what the Lord has done for us, but, much more, it makes it happen in our life while we stick to this prayer.
4. This is why John Paul II wrote: “The Rosary… is a distinctly contemplative prayer. Deprived of this dimension, it would be distorted, as Paul VI underlined: “Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation risks becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas and contradicting Jesus’ admonition: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words (Mt 6, 7)” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 12).
5. In the contemplation of the mysteries, three essential things should be done:
The first consists in the re-presentation or reconstruction of the salvation event (mystery).
This presupposes that we know what happened in that event or mystery.
For this reason, some, after having mentioned the mystery, read some words of the Sacred Scriptures that refer to it. In this way they help in meditation or re-presentation of the event.
Undoubtedly, the best way to reconstruct the events is to get help from Our Lady, to have her tell them to you to find out how she experienced it.
For some, however, it is flying too high, although it is the most beautiful thing in this world.
For this reason, I will shortly tell you how this re-presentation or reconstruction of the salvation event can be replaced.
6. The second thing to do is to thank Our Lord for the event he has accomplished for us.
Thanking him, we immediately understand that that event is an immense gift that was given to us and that is repeated to us.
It is in this way that love for Our Lord is revived.
We must repeat our thanks to him incessantly for ourselves and also in the name of many others, indeed throughout the world.
7. The third thing consists in asking God for some benefit by virtue of the merits accomplished by Christ in the event we are meditating on.
They are merits that in that moment he generously puts back into our hands so that our questions to God the Father are accompanied by the price that earned them.
8. The Rosary should be prayed like this. If this were the case, one would immediately realize that the time reserved for this prayer is one of the most precious and most fruitful of the day.
But for some this is too difficult, although it is one of the simplest things in this world.
9. What to do then? We can be satisfied with this: that at that moment each one puts his heart next to Jesus contemplated and loved in the mentioned event.
In this case, there will be no particular or high reflections. However, there is a loving heart that, without thinking about it, says that the events of the life of Jesus are the most precious in our life and in our history.
During the prayer, our minds will fly from one thought to another as in a perpetual distraction.
But in this there is something firm, stable, indispensable: being together with the Lord and being with Our Lady, in the conviction that something very important is being done. So important and precious that you don’t want to go a day without having done it.
This method in its simplicity already brings the presence of Christ with his saving omnipotence into our life and also brings the presence of Mary with whom the devil has perfect incompatibility. And this is precisely the reason why at the end of this prayer we experience peace and serenity in our personal life and in our families.
May the Lord bless the holy zeal that prompts you to make this wonderful gift to the friend you met at the university.
On my behalf I remember you to the Lord in prayer, I wish you well and I bless you.
13 January 2022 | A priest replies – Liturgy and pastoral care – Pastoral section