IS THE ROSARY IN MY POCKET?”
- Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
My earliest memories of prayer was to be with the family, praying the daily Rosary. For my parents (and grand-parents too) one could (with good reason) skip a meal or even the school homework for next day, but never the Rosary. It is a tradition that has always stayed. No arguments about that. It’s the family Rosary that, in more ways than one, kept the family together.
As we enter October, the month of the Rosary and the year dedicated to the Rosary in the Diocese of Ahmedabad, I would like to share some dimensions of what praying the Rosary means to me:
It is first and foremost a time for recollection. The Rosary can be prayed anytime of the day and anywhere. It helps us cry “halt” to the business of everyday, to focus on the lives of Mary and Jesus. Praying the ‘beads’ has always been an integral dimension of Indic religions: Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism. It helps meditation and recollection.
The Rosary is a time for repentance. We plead to Mary to intercede for us sinners - more than fifty times in a given cycle; besides, we pray the Our Father at the start of every mystery. Above all, the Passion and Death of Jesus reminds us of the role we play in it because of our own sinfulness.
The mysteries of the Rosary helps us to rejoice on the birth of Jesus, his public life, his Resurrection and Ascension. We accompany Mary all the way in these moments of joy and we ask her to be a companion to us too. It is a time when we energize ourselves to be cheerful disciples of Jesus in today’s world inspite of the many difficulties and hardships we constantly have to face.
Providing ourselves with a time for recollection, repentance, and rejoicing also energizes us towards renewal. A Rosary meaningfully said gives us a Marian outlook into the life of Jesus. It helps us to do more and to do good, even better. It gives an added impetus to our other works. It renews us in all ways.
Above all, the Rosary is also a time for reaffirmation. When we truly love someone, we do not hesitate in using his / her name a thousand times and more; we do not stop thinking of that person. The Rosary therefore, helps us to reaffirm our love for Mary and Jesus. So saying the ‘Hail Mary’ (fifty times and more) is not merely repeating from our minds and lips, some formula, but actually saying from the depths of our hearts “I love you”. It’s a reaffirmation of our love and our commitment to Jesus and Mary.
So the Rosary for me is surely a bouquet of roses! It is a time for recollection, repentance, rejoicing, renewal and reaffirmation. Several times a day, I need to check if my Rosary is in my pocket…. It does not matter if it is entangled with my many keys….. It’s still there, a great reminder that I should not miss praying my Rosary for the day….!
(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace.)