By: Fr. Burke Masters, Vocation Director for the Diocese of Joliet & Chicago Cubs Team Chaplain
As someone who didn’t grow up Catholic, it was hard for me to get used to praying the rosary. Scripture says that there is only one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ. So I didn’t understand how or why we would pray for the intercession of Mary and the saints.
Several years ago I read the book Made for More by Curtis Martin. He explained that one of Jesus’s titles is “Son of David”. Jesus came to establish His kingdom based on the kingdom of King David. In 1 Kings 2:19, King Solomon, the son of David, reigned in Israel. Solomon’s queen mother, Bathsheba, entered and King Solomon “stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right.” Bathsheba’s role was to listen to the petitions of the people and whisper them in the ear of her son. King Solomon could not refuse the petitions from his mother (even though in this story Solomon’s brother tried to take advantage of her position.)
The light bulb went on for me. Jesus is now seated on His throne in heaven and Mary, the Queen Mother, sits at His right. She listens to the petitions of the people, you and me, and whispers them into the ear of her Son. It gave me such consolation to think that Mary is interceding for me, her son, to Jesus, her Son! Now that is what I think about when I pray the rosary every day. I lift up all of the people in my life to Mary and entrust them to her maternal care, knowing that Jesus is listening as well.
Just as I ask people on earth to pray for me, I ask Mary and the saints to pray for me as well. I don’t pray to the saints, but I ask for their intercession. And what better intercessor in heaven do we have than Mary? She was given to us as our Mother at the foot of the cross when Jesus told John, “Behold your Mother”.
Why should we pray the rosary?
1) It is Scriptural. We meditate on the mysteries of Jesus, based in the Gospels, from the Annunciation through the resurrection. The Our Father is the prayer that Jesus taught us. The Hail Mary is based on words from the angel Gabriel and Elizabeth in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke (1:28, 1:42).
2) It leads us into the mysteries of faith. While we pray the rosary we are to meditate on the mysteries of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, which are also scriptural. It is not meant to be just a repetition of words, but an opportunity to enter into the deep, inexhaustible mysteries of Jesus Christ. Take time to place yourself in the scenes of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Imagine being with Mary when she encounters Gabriel, Elizabeth, the three kings, Simeon, and so many others. Stand with Mary during the passion and death of her only Son.
3) Mary told us to pray the rosary. Mary appeared to St. Dominic (1170-1221 AD) and asked him to spread the news to pray the rosary. When she appeared to the three young people in Fatima, Portugal, she identified herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary”. Read about these apparitions. Mary never asks for attention. She always points us to her Son and asks for repentance and conversion of hearts. She continues the mission of her Son.
4) The rosary moves hearts to Jesus. Our world needs peace and conversion of hearts to Jesus. The people that I know that pray the rosary daily are generally very close to the heart of Jesus. The rosary has had a big impact on me personally, leading me to a deeper desire for holiness and purity.
Pray the rosary as a family in your homes. Teach your children how to pray the rosary and to learn about the life of Jesus. I like to pray for different people on each bead of the rosary. Lift up the people in your life to Jesus through Mary, who sits at the right hand of her Son and intercedes for us, her beloved children.