The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th highlights the traditional prayer summarizing the key events in the life of Jesus, and His mother Mary (Mysteries of the Rosary). Although, most don’t think of praying the Rosary as a trendy practice, it can be…really!
This traditional series of prayers of Roman Catholics traces its devotional origins to Saint Dominic in the 13th century. The recitation of the gently repetitive invocations and contemplation of the Mysteries is consistent with the various meditation / mindfulness / centering practices so popular today which are directed at focusing the mind on a specific, limited activity and shutting out other distractions.
Meditation and mindfulness practices are very popular subjects; and one is likely to encounter articles on these topics nearly every day on the news feed on your phone, in the magazines at the grocery check-out stand, and in blogs! The practice of shifting one’s consciousness to what is happening in the present moment (now) can be described by various terms such as meditation, centering or mindfulness. While these terms all are used to mean something that is slightly different, one can say, in a general sense, that one objective of all these practices is to cease thoughts of the past or future (whether anticipation or worry), and to focus only on what is happening at the present moment. To achieve this level of mind control, several techniques can be used including breath control, chanting, and counting – or as I suggest, praying the Rosary.
What is the Rosary?
The Rosary is an easy to learn practice which involves only five prayers: The Apostles Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (The Doxology), and The Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen). One uses a string of beads (or your fingers or knuckles) to maintain a count of the prayers, as well as to aid in concentration while reciting these prayers. A traditional, “full” Rosary, consists of the recitation of 150 Hail Mary’s in groups of ten (decades of the Rosary) marked by saying an “Our Father” at the beginning of each decade, and a “Glory Be” at the end of each decade. Within this repetition of prayers, during each decade, one meditates on each event of the Mysteries of the Rosary – originally fifteen Mysteries (Glorious, Joyful, Sorrowful), now twenty, as the five Luminous Mysteries were added by Pope John Paul II in 2002. See https://churchwonders.com/devotions/traditional-prayers/the-rosary/ for more information on the prayer itself, the Mysteries and the origination of the devotion.
The use of repetition (words, sounds, movements) is common in meditative practices, as is the use of stringed beads as a tool to facilitate this repetition. That said, only The Rosary was requested to be prayed by Our Lady herself, at the apparitions at Fatima in 1917, including the sixth apparition on October 13, 1917 where she revealed her identity as the Lady of the Rosary.
If the Rosary is recited mindfully with thoughtful contemplation of the Mysteries, one will surely be distracted from cares aside from the present, as well as experience a peacefulness beyond this world. Doesn’t this sound like a meditation to you?
Be part of the mindfulness trend and Pray the Rosary!