This week was the fourth session at St. Hubert’s in Chanhassen of the Fall Prayer Series I’m offering this Fall at both the University of St. Thomas and at St. Hubert’s. (The UST one has already concluded.) The series is designed to introduce participants to different prayer forms and styles (although even those with some familiarity and experience with the particular styles and forms of prayer can benefit from hearing something they have heard before in a different way).
One of the topics at St. Hubert’s that was not part of the UST series was the topic of Monday night’s session – Praying the Rosary. The Rosary is one of the oldest and most popular forms of prayer in the Catholic tradition. It invites us to look at the life of Christ through and with Mary. In the talk I gave at the session (which I intended to record, but neglected to actually hit “record” on the digital recorder), I emphasized the importance of contemplating the mysteries as we are reciting the prayers of the Rosary. This was something important to Pope John Paul II. In his writings he emphasized that the Rosary is not simply a matter of reciting a lot of words, but of providing a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace to allow us to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord. The repeated mantra of familiar prayers frees our mind to reflect on the lives of Jesus and Mary, to consider how these events are lived out in the world and to discern how we are called to respond.
During the session, I also suggested different ways of engaging in contemplation on the mysteries. I then invited the participants to pray with one of the Luminous Mysteries, the Wedding Feast at Cana, after which they shared with each other in small groups the fruits of their contemplation. The handout we used for our in-session prayer is here.
A number of the participants said after that they had not prayed the Rosary in years. Hopefully the session inspired some to spend some time with this form of prayer that John Paul II said “goes to the very heart of Christian life; it offers familiar yet fruitful spiritual and educational opportunity for personal reflection.”
There are many good resources online to learn more about praying the Rosary. One is here.