By the time I was 12 years old, which is my eldest son’s age, I could recite the rosary from the Creed at the beginning through the Hail Marys, Glory Bes, Our Fathers and back to Hail Holy Queen. I was aware of the Mysteries and when to reflect on them. I knew that May and October were the months specially dedicated to praying the rosary. Also, I could do the Novena.
Three decades later, a few months ago when I was in a difficult situation, I got the rosary I always wear and prayed. Most times, we tend to resolve issues and find answers on our own. Just knowing there is a Higher Power is comforting but reaching out for divine intervention is a moment of clarity.
Back to that situation, I was shocked when I could not remember the Apostle’s Creed, which is the opening prayer when reciting the rosary. It is said while holding the cross. I was equally blank on the bead before the three Hail Marys.
Then I could hardly go beyond the 10 beads known as a decade. I realised that I was not just being unfair to myself but I had to re-learn how to pray, to not only recite the words but search for the depth of each word and phrase uttered.
Being a Roman Catholic, it was shame that I had reduced the rosary to an accessory. It had become more of a necklace than a means to prayer, connecting with the Holy Trinity of God and reflecting on the life of Mary and Jesus. It is such a central part of the Catholic faith as Swallah is to a Muslim.
Back in the day
I was taught about the rosary and other tenets of the religion by my grandmother. These lessons were emphasised by my parents who ensured we said our prayers as and when required. They made sure we went to church every Sunday, reminded each of us about the feast days, and why we do certain things that people of other Christian persuasions find strange.
One of these “strange” things is significance of rosary in the month of October. After my shock discovery in May, a month dedicated to Jesus Christ, I resolved to relearn how to recite the rosary. But I would do this with the benefit of hindsight as well as the foresight to impart the same lessons to my sons. It is an exciting time that we are both learning—while they discover, I rediscover.
Indeed God works in mysterious ways. It was through a rough patch that I realised I had neglected a cardinal duty of parenthood—to show the young ones how to walk in their chosen faith.
Why say the rosary
St Louis de Montfort said, “When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.” For this reason, Davis Kabanza, a Catholic, attributes his successes to saying the holy rosary. “I do not just wear my rosary but I say it every morning and evening. I believe that The Blessed Virgin Mary always intercedes for me. Every request/favour I have asked for comes to pass.”
He says this was not an overnight feat. In his teens, he used to recite the prayers for formality. “The older I grew, I noticed my grandmother had much favour and always took my prayer requests which would come to pass,” Kabanza explains. He often visited his grandmother who taught him that it required a contrite heart with devotion. “When you pray the rosary, you meditate on the events in Jesus’ life. There are the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.”
According to reference. com, some specific benefits Catholics associate with praying the rosary are the creation of peace, diverting the mind from material desires, increasing awareness and intuition and strengthening love in relationships. The rosary may also serve as a source of comfort during difficult times and is considered a form of spiritual protection against negativity.
Did you know?
• The word rosary comes from Latin and means a garland of roses, the rose being one of the flowers used to symbolise the Virgin Mary.
• The prayers that comprise it come mainly from the Bible.
• A Pope’s favourite prayer. Early in his pontificate, Pope St. John Paul II said that the Rosary was his favorite prayer.
• Nearly all of the 20 Mysteries of the most Holy Rosary are taken from some Biblical passage or Biblical scene.
• The decision to designate October as the month of the Rosary apparently stems from the Church’s desire to extend its thanksgiving to Our Lady for victory in the Battle of Lepanto from one Sunday to a whole month.