Susanna Parent

Lord, Teach Me to Pray With Your Mother - Part 3

Question: How do you pray the rosary? Do you have tips for how to incorporate this in a prayer life?

Answer: 

Growing up in a home-schooled family of seven, every Monday-Friday morning included family morning prayer time in the living room at 8:00 a.m. My favorite day of the school week? Tuesday. This is because Tuesday was chaplet day, which could be prayed in five minutes or less. The Rosary on the other hand took at least fifteen. 

I wish I could tell you I savored those mornings of quality, spiritually enriching time with my family, but that didn’t happen until I had grown a bit “in wisdom and stature”. I also wish I could tell you that during those times of prayer, I deeply meditated upon each mystery of the Rosary, but unfortunately I probably spent more time meditating on how great it would be when the rosary was done.

It wasn’t until I became an adult, I learned to actually reflect on the Scriptural basis of the prayer as a tool to enter more deeply into the life of Jesus. The Rosary is steeped in Scripture. One way is that the prayers themselves come from scripture. We begin each mystery with the Our Father, the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray with in the Gospels. The beginning of the Hail Mary comes from Luke 1:28 when the angel announced Jesus’ birth and says, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” The last part comes from Luke 1:42 when Elizabeth greets Mary and “cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’”

In addition to the actual prayers we pray during the rosary, the four Mysteries of the Rosary are scriptural as well. They walk us through the life of Jesus and we are directed to pray them on the following days:

Joyful Mysteries: Monday, Saturday, and during Advent on Sundays

Sorrowful Mysteries: Tuesday, Friday and during Lent on Sundays
Glorious Mysteries: Wednesdays and outside of Advent and Lent on Sundays

Luminous Mysteries: Thursdays

Okay, great. But how do we  actually delve into the mysteries with our heart, mind, and soul, instead of letting our minds wander halfway through our first Hail Mary? First, don’t be too hard on yourself. One of the beautiful things about the rosary is that even if your mind wanders a bit, by simply deciding to pray the rosary you have made a concrete act of the will, showing Jesus and Mary your desire to grow closer to them. Despite our weakness, great graces are still poured out simply by making this act of faith.

As great of a grace as that is, it does not mean we should simply allow our minds to wander. When you catch yourself thinking of something else, recognize it, refocus on the decade you are praying, and ask Mary to obtain for you the grace you need to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary. Something that has been helpful for me was to learn about the specific fruits that accompany each decade. One resource that I find helpful to learn these fruits is marian.org. It is a site I often refer to, to help focus my prayer and appropriately pick a specific intention for each set of ten Hail Mary’s. 

While I love praying the Joyful Mysteries, because, well, they’re joyful-I think that my favorite mysteries are actually the Sorrowful Mysteries. In times of suffering it is one of the most powerful prayers I feel that I can pray. Entering into Jesus’ passion helps to alleviate my own pain and helps me to find joy by uniting my suffering with that of Jesus’.

Here are the fruits of the mysteries for the Sorrowful Mysteries along with an example of how I may focus my prayer for each decade.

1st Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

Fruit: Sorrow for Sin
Personal Prayer: Jesus, please help me to have true penance for my sins and give me the grace to have a greater resistance from falling into temptation. 

2nd Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar 

Fruit: Purity

Personal Prayer: Jesus, please purify my heart and mind, and help me to be more charitable in my thoughts towards others.

3rd Mystery: Crowning with Thorns

Fruit: Courage

Personal Prayer: Jesus, please give (insert name) courage in the current struggle he/she is facing and make your presence known to them.

4th Mystery: Carrying of the Cross

Fruit: Patience

Personal Prayer: Jesus, you know that I lack the quality of patience. Please replace my lack of trust with patience in your plan, while being rest assured of your goodness. 

5th Mystery: The Crucifixion

Fruit: Perseverance

Personal Prayer: Jesus, please put to death in my life this specific sin which I so often fall into and want to overcome. Please help me rise out of this sinful act and be resurrected with you.

Your own personal prayer may vary from an intention for yourself, or those of your family, friends, etc. 

While I still cannot say that I pray the Rosary on a daily basis, I did commit to praying the Rosary every day during Lent this past year, and it became a great source of comfort to me while also bringing me closer to Mary. I hope this prayer can bring you closer to Our Lady as well.

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This post is part 3 of 3 -- click here for part 1 and here for part 2. 

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Susanna Parent is a Wisconsin native who begins her morning brewing French press coffee in the home she shares with her husband in charming old Saint Paul. When the sun sets, you’ll find her with friends enjoying a glass of red wine, preferably outside underneath twinkly lights. When not exploring all that the Twin Cities has to offer, she is indulging her wanderlust spirit and writing about it later on her blog fiatandalily.