Going deeper in prayer with the Rosary — to be contemplative — is a gift from God.
During the month of the Rosary in October, Catholics acknowledge the gift of the Rosary, which is a special devotion, described as “the compendium of the entire Gospel” by Pope Pius XII.
Through the Rosary, “we get to know Jesus and our Blessed Mother so deeply and so well,” said Mary Knollmeyer of Our Blessed Mother’s Rosary and Scapular Program, a local ministry that teaches people how to make a rosary and pray with it. “To know Jesus and our Blessed Mother is to love them.”
Our Blessed Mother’s Rosary and Scapular Program has been in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for 25 years. Volunteers primarily visit schools and other groups to talk about the importance of the Rosary and the Brown Scapular. Individuals also have the opportunity to make their own rosary and to be enrolled in the Brown Scapular by a priest.
The group has witnessed others grow in their love and appreciation for the Rosary. “The measure of a prayer life is if it’s growing into virtue,” Knollmeyer said. “If we’re close to the Blessed Mother, we will automatically be close to Jesus … That’s all she wants to do, is to take us to Jesus.”
St. Pope Paul VI said that “without contemplation, the rosary is a body without a soul.”
Praying the Rosary is an opportunity to visit with Jesus and the Blessed Mother, said Knollmeyer. “When we pray the Holy Rosary, we’re meditating on what’s going on in that particular decade. We’re praying and reliving their earthly lives and getting to know them so well. It brings such great spiritual fruit and joy … .”
St. Pius V instituted Our Lady of Victory as a feast day on Oct. 7, marking the Christian victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title to Feast of the Holy Rosary, and in 1960, St. Pope John XXIII changed it to feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The recitation of the Rosary “calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord,” St. Pope Paul VI wrote in his 1974 apostolic exhortation, “Marialis Cultus.” “In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are unfolded.”
The U.S. bishops also note that the Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. “It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ’s life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and — added by St. John Paul II in 2002 — the Luminous.”
>> Resources for further reading
“The Secret of the Rosary,” by St. Louis de Montfort
“Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary,” by Mary of Agreda (J.M.J. Book Company)
St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also has resources on praying the Rosary. www.bit.ly/2DJntA7
>> Our Blessed Mother’s Rosary and Scapular Program
Our Blessed Mother’s Rosary and Scapular Program is a ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that teaches young people and adults how to make and pray a Rosary. Participants also have the opportunity to enroll in the Brown Scapular. For more information, contact Mary Knollmeyer at (314) 434-0115.