The months of May and October are usually dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In many catholic churches, they would gather to pray the rosary in these months. It is good for a catholic to pray the rosary daily, though it is not required by law. It is required by law to attend Masses, at least on Sunday. It is required by law to go for confession, at least once a year. But the rosary is a private devotion, and so not required by law. However, it is a very powerful prayer that has changed many lives and has helped many people to fall in love with Jesus.
Because the rosary is not a liturgical prayer, we are free to be more creative with it. For example, some people prefer to pray the rosary on their knees, while people like me prefer to take a rosary walk in the morning. We cannot come to mass and decide we will only do the readings and go home. But a person can pray just one decade of the rosary if they have no time to pray the whole rosary. In our creativity, we have added so many little prayers to the rosary, which were not originally part of it and sometimes we pray as if without them, the rosary is not complete. I prefer to keep things simple, because God is One, and One is simple. Simplicity is the footprint of God.
However, there is something I have seen people do at the beginning of the rosary, which I have found helpful when I pray the rosary. At the beginning of the rosary, we have the Creed, the Our Father, and three Hail Maries. There are at least four things one can do with this part. First, the one Our Father, three Hail Maries and one Glory be can be prayed for the intentions of our holy father, the Pope. Praying for the Pope is also praying for the church because the devil always goes for the leader. He knows that when the leader falls, the followers have little or no chance. Secondly, it can be dedicated to the Blessed Trinity with whom Mary has a special relationship. Mary is daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. One Hail Mary for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit can be said by using the format, ‘Hail Mary, daughter of the Father, full of grace, the Lord is with you…’. One can also say ‘In honor of the Father, Hail Mary, full of grace…’, etc. It can also be said in the normal way with the understanding that they are dedicated to the Blessed Trinity. Another way is to pray for the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. In this case, one can begin all three by saying, ‘For the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love…’ or by mentioning the virtue at each Hail Mary. This part can also be completely omitted.
I would not encourage my reader to impose this on a prayer group or on the parish. Something like this is better done when one is praying privately. If it is imposed, it can give the impression that it has to be done that way. Sometimes in our prayers, we can be so foccused on doing it the ‘right’ way that we are not foccused on the God we are praying to. In these situations, we would be praying more to ourselves than to God. When you are praying on your own, you can dance and jump and do whatever you want, as long as you do not become a disturbance to other people, or even to yourself and as long as the creativity does not degenerate into doing and saying sinful things. But when we gather as a group, it is important to respect and follow what the group is doing. Otherwise, our prayers can become a little show or a little competition of who knows how. This way of pride will be an easy road to hell and we should avoid it. I find this helpful in my private prayer. If you do not find it helpful, please do not feel obligated.
I am Fr. Ifeanyichukwu Henry Nwokoro, CSsR. I am your fellow child of God and this is my way of sharing my daily reflections with you. Please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or question. Let everything that lives and that breathes give praise to the Lord.
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