Katie Faley: Praying with Mary through the powerful tool of the rosary

"No matter what aspect of the faith we meditate upon while praying the rosary," writes Katie Faley, "we are assured that Mary is listening to our prayers and imploring the Father to shower us with His grace." (CNS/Reuters)

May is such a wonderful month, isn’t it? We finally get to see the May flowers that the April showers worked so hard to nourish, the world regains its color, and we get to celebrate our earthly mothers and our heavenly mother.

There are so many ways to honor Mary — May crownings, the Memorare, Marian altars — but one of the most classic and simplest ways is by praying the rosary. The rosary is not praying to Mary, of course, but it’s our way of praying to God through the woman who was set aside to care for every one of us in the same way she cared for the Son of God.

The rosary is a powerful tool for our pursuit of virtue and grace. It’s a weapon of peace. It is stronger than any force of evil, pain, suffering, or disorder. And like our hometown saint, Fulton Sheen, said, “The power of the rosary is beyond description.”

UNITED THROUGH THE MYSTERIES

I have always loved meditating on the mysteries of the rosary, reflecting on the significant moments in the lives of Jesus and Mary that unfolded the work of our salvation. For me, the rosary is a very structured way of calling to mind the love of God and all that He accomplishes for us from the beginning of time.

I have always loved meditating on the mysteries of the rosary, reflecting on the significant moments in the lives of Jesus and Mary that unfolded the work of our salvation. For me, the rosary is a very structured way of calling to mind the love of God and all that He accomplishes for us from the beginning of time.

I especially appreciate that we as a church can come together, in every corner of the world, and be united through the same daily meditation. Each day of the week is assigned one of the four mysteries of the rosary — Luminous, Glorious, Joyful, and Sorrowful. I know that I am praying the same mystery as my friends in other time zones, the same mysteries as the pope, and the same mysteries that some of the greatest saints prayed on that same day in history.

It is obvious why we pray certain mysteries on certain days of the week. On the same day of the week that we call to mind the Passion of Jesus Christ, we meditate on the Sorrowful mysteries — His agony in the garden, scourging, crowning with thorns, carrying of and dying on the cross. On Thursdays when we recall the Last Supper, we meditate on the mysteries of light, which culminate with the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the greatest gift given to us at the Last Supper. On Sundays when we celebrate the rising of Jesus from the dead, we meditate on the Glorious mysteries, which start — just like that happy first Easter Sunday — with the glory of Jesus conquering death by rising.

 MORE THAN MYSTERIES

And as wonderful as meditating on these mysteries is, we aren’t limited to meditating on just these events as we pray the rosary. We can use these beads and prayers to meditate on a whole plethora of things.

Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima children to whom Mary appeared, wrote, “Meditation or mental prayer consists in placing ourselves in the presence of God in order to reflect on one or other of the revealed Mysteries, some episode in the life of Our Lord, some point of doctrine, the Law of God, or even about one or other of the virtues which we find in Jesus Christ, in Our Lady or in the Saints, as an example for us.”

The possibilities are endless for all that we can dive into while praying the rosary. The mysteries themselves can lead us into different areas of the faith that aren’t just the snapshot of the scene on which we meditate during the Glorious, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Joyful mysteries.

No matter what aspect of the faith we meditate upon while praying the rosary, we are assured that Mary is listening to our prayers and imploring the Father to shower us with His grace — especially during May.

Katie Faley

KATIE FALEY is a member of St. Mark Parish in Peoria and a writing coordinator for OSF HealthCare. She has a master’s degree in theology and theological studies from the University of Notre Dame. Write to her at katiefaleywriter@gmail.com.

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