What the Rosary means to me … 8

What the Rosary means to me … 8

As someone who was preparing to be received into the Church, the Rosary fascinated me. I grew up in a Protestant environment, so I had little idea about the Rosary, other than that it was the most Catholic of things. I arrived early at a weekday Mass one evening, and saw a whole group of people praying the Rosary together … there was something rhythmical, almost hypnotic about it. And what about the mysteries, and the prayers which I didn’t know? It was clearly something that needed further investigation.

The following Saturday, I went into the local Catholic bookshop, and purchased a Catholic Truth Society Rosary Book, and a set of black Rosary beads. The book explained about how to pray it, and offered reflections on the mysteries. It seemed simple in some ways, and yet … fifty Hail Marys seemed like an awful lot! Sitting down to pray for the first time, I was struck by how the Rosary seemed to engage more of the senses than any other prayer I had been used to. Later I came to see how truly Dominican this idea is! The rhythm and flow of the prayer made it easy to pray. I found it suited me to pray it whilst walking, or on a train, a bus or a plane. I find the Rosary important because of the way in which it helps bring the mysteries of our salvation to mind, and keeps them there for us to think and pray about, allowing them to transform us. It is a great encouragement that we do this with Mary as our companion, the one who guides us in our contemplation of her Son, and intercedes for us as we attempt to live in the light of the mysteries.

The mysteries are certainly what make the Rosary. One of my greatest joys in recent times has been to introduce someone to praying the mysteries of the Rosary, rather than simply repeating the ‘Hail Mary’. I now get very excited, animated accounts of thoughts and prayers that have been inspired by the message of the Gospel as presented to us in the mysteries! And this is not surprising – the Rosary opens our eyes to the Gospel, the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, which is a source of joy for us all. The Rosary has a great value to me personally, as it accompanies me on my journey, but has also proved valuable as a way of preaching the Gospel to others.

Robert Gay OP

Fr Robert Gay is Prior of the Priory of the Holy Spirit, Oxford, and he is also a lector in moral theology at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.