Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Let me say something about how saying the Rosary can be an easy and a fine way of spending your time.
The rosary is a simple devotion. You say a Hail Mary on each of the small beads, and an Our Father on each of the big ones; and if you haven’t your own rosary beads, you can say the Hail Mary’s on each of your ten fingers, saying the Our Father’s on your thumbs. That’s what I do all the time.
As simple as that is to do, there is a rule that complicates saying the rosary. That rule tells us that at the same time we are saying the Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s we are supposed to be thinking about the mysteries. That is what they call important things in the life of Mary and Jesus. Like one mystery is about the angel telling Mary she is to be the mother of the Savior, another is about her being taken up to heaven at the end of her life. Then, there is a mystery about Jesus dying on the cross, and another one about him rising from the dead.
Now, I always found that it was nearly impossible to be thinking about things like that at the same time I was saying Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers. But then, I found a way for doing both. And, it isn’t complicated at all. It is very pleasant.
What solved the problem for me was remembering something that used to happen with me when I was four and five. With Christmas coming on, my mother would take me with her to the big department stores. They were like the malls we have now: Orange Park, the Avenues, Regency, but each of the department stores was like eight stories high. With my mother hanging on to me, we would ride up and down the escalators; or she would squeeze us onto the crowded elevators. The aisles were crowded too. I had to hang on to my mother’s hand for dear life.
Funny thing, though, while hanging on to her, I wasn’t thinking about her at all. My full attention went to the elves and Santas, to the colorful displays, to the Christmas carols blasted out around us; to the skinny boys, the chubby boys, to the girls in red coats, and the ones in weird hats.
So, now with the rosary, saying the Hail Mary’s, is like holding mother Mary’s hand. I don’t need to think of the words of the Hail Mary’s or Our Father’s I am saying. I just think of the mystery. I think of the angel appearing to Mary, or I think about Jesus in the Garden of Olives the night before he died. He was asking his Father to keep him from dying. I think of the whip landing time after time on his back. I think of his Crown of Thorns, thinking he was making up for all my bad thoughts. All the time I am hanging onto mother Mary’s hand by saying the Hail Mary’s.