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Sharon Shafer wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is there a proper way to say the Rosary?

We have Mass four mornings a week and several of us meet early in the church to say the Rosary.

I was away from the Church for many years and recently came back four years ago. I still have a lot to learn and get confused easily but feel I am on a much stronger, spiritual plain than ever before.

My relationship with God and my beliefs are now a big part of my life. Saying the Rosary is important to me and when I say it alone, I say it slow enough that I can meditate and really think about who I am praying to and what I am doing.

The group says it so fast I can hardly keep up with them and it really bothers me. For that reason, I have stopped going early to say the Rosary. I have been told by my priest and a close friend that it's wrong for me to stop praying with the group. They said I should join them and support them anyway, but I feel it is an insult to Mary to pray the Rosary that fast. I really do not know what to do.

Please give me some advise.

Thanks,

Sharon

  { Should I still consider going to the morning Rosary, even though they say it that fast? }

Mike replied:

Dear Sharon,

First, for our team and the Church, I want to welcome you back to the Church. Though we will always have our mini-family fights, your presence makes us a stronger Body of Christ.

I admire your devotion to the Rosary, as both the Church and I, think it is a important weapon against evil in our lives and in the life of the Church. I also admire that you are able to take to time to prayerfully say the Rosary in a way where you can meditate on the words you are saying while meditating on the mysteries as well.

That said, I am well aware of the situation you are talking about as I have been to various parishes with similar practices. I certainly hope you don't stop going to Mass because of the way they are praying the Rosary.

Although it's great that you have time to meditate on both:

  • the words of the prayer and
  • the mysteries of the Rosary

sometimes, time is short and you want to finish before the scheduled start time of the morning Mass.

The key to the Rosary is not so much the audio words that make up the Rosary, but your inward meditation on the various mysteries for that day. This is one of the main reasons Protestants don't understand the Rosary. The Rosary is more than vocal prayers but that's all they have ever heard. No one has ever told them about the inward meditations we contemplate on. These are meditations or mysteries that:

  • have solid biblical roots (or at least most of them), and
  • focus on the life's of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The Catechism shares the following under the Vocal Prayer and Meditation section (2708):

I. Vocal Prayer

2700 Through his Word, God speaks to man. By words, mental or vocal, our prayer takes flesh. Yet it is most important that the heart should be present to him to whom we are speaking in prayer: "Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of words, but on the fervor of our souls."

2701 Vocal prayer is an essential element of the Christian life. To his disciples, drawn by their Master's silent prayer, Jesus teaches a vocal prayer, the Our Father. He not only prayed aloud the liturgical prayers of the synagogue but, as the Gospels show, he raised his voice to express his personal prayer, from exultant blessing of the Father to the agony of Gethsemane.

2702 The need to involve the senses in interior prayer corresponds to a requirement of our human nature. We are body and spirit, and we experience the need to translate our feelings externally. We must pray with our whole being to give all power possible to our supplication.

2703 This need also corresponds to a divine requirement. God seeks worshippers in Spirit and in Truth, and consequently living prayer that rises from the depths of the soul. He also wants the external expression that associates the body with interior prayer, for it renders him that perfect homage which is his due.

2704 Because it is external and so thoroughly human, vocal prayer is the form of prayer most readily accessible to groups. Even interior prayer, however, cannot neglect vocal prayer. Prayer is internalized to the extent that we become aware of him "to whom we speak;" Thus vocal prayer becomes an initial form of contemplative prayer.

II. Meditation

2705 Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking. The required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of history the page on which the "today" of God is written.

2706 To meditate on what we read helps us to make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is opened: the book of life. We pass from thoughts to reality. To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

2707 There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are spiritual masters. Christians owe it to themselves to develop the desire to meditate regularly, lest they come to resemble the three first kinds of soil in the parable of the sower. But a method is only a guide; the important thing is to advance, with the Holy Spirit, along the one way of prayer: Christ Jesus.

2708 Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in Lectio Divina or the Rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.

While I honor your sediments of not wanting to offend Our Blessed Mother, you honor her more when you increase your ability to meditate on the mysteries, while saying the vocal prayers,
no matter how fast they are said.

Some prayer warriors find this difficult while others find it easier. Just do the best you can as God knows your heart and the good will behind your prayers.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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