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When I was small, I used to pray the rosary with my family. But now that I am an adult, I don’t seem to appreciate it anymore, with its repetitive praying of the Hail Mary. I may sound skeptical, but why pray the Hail Mary much more than praying directly to God? What good will it make to me and to my faith? But I am still making rosary bracelets though.
“Marian devotion takes its origin and effectivity from Christ, finding its complete expression in Christ, and leading through Christ in the Spirit to the Father.
Mary, has by grace, been exalted above all angels and persons as the most holy Mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ. Hence, the Church appropriately honors her with special reverence.
Vatican II clearly proclaims that Catholic do not worship or adore Mary. Rather, their devotion to Mary is “most favorable” for the supreme worship of God.” (Excerpts from Catechism for Filipino Catholics [CFC])
Catholics venerate Mary, which supposedly would bring us to a more intimate relationship with God through Jesus. The motto of the Children of Mary (COM) aptly says it, “To Jesus through Mary.”
If we ponder or meditate on the life of Mary, her role in our salvation history, we will see that through her, by her “Yes”, Jesus came into this world. Through her presence in Jesus’ life, the fulfillment of God’s plan came to be and through Mary’s intercession in Jesus’ life, miracles happened.
The Rosary, with both its prayers and mysteries of salvation, remains to be a popular devotion to Mary among the Filipinos. CFC states that by its nature, the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a contemplative pace. Without such contemplation, the Rosary becomes a body without a soul, a mechanical repetition of formulae that makes us mumble words without meaning.
The constant repetition of the Hail Mary is a way to bring us into contemplation. Contemplation by itself awakens our inner senses and allows us to be open to the inner depths of our being where the Spirit of God dwells. If we contemplate on the mysteries of the rosary, we allow ourselves to be drawn into the life of Jesus and Mary and be transformed by it bringing us closer to God’s presence and reality.
On a more personal level, I prefer to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary, even if I finish only one mystery at one setting, rather than mumble through each bead just to finish praying it. Some would pray the rosary to put them to sleep. Some would pray if they sense danger. Whatever our reasons for saying the rosary, it is a devotion honoring Mary in her role in the history of our salvation, and by imitating her virtues we may become ever closer to God and to his people, especially in the works of justice, peace and care for all of God’s creation.