THE LUXURY OF BEING ABLE TO PRAY
Perhaps at some time you have had a rosary in your hands. Among the prayers and devotions of the Church, the Rosary has been especially popular. Its frequent use in past times has fallen, at least in some parts, into disuse. The Rosary, they say, comes from the Latin rosarium (rose bed). It is a traditional Catholic devotion which recalls twenty ‘mysteries’ of the life of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. After each ‘mystery’ an Our Father, ten Hail Marys and a Glory be are recited. The string of beads used to pray the decades are also called a ‘rosary’. The decades are separated into groups of ten by others of a different size and the beads are joined at each end by a cross. Something similar is used, I understand, in India to recite mantras and also in Islam.
With the Word ‘mystery’ we usually refer to what is very difficult to understand or to discover, that is to say, what is strange or inexplicable to us, perhaps impossible to describe, for being hidden or obscure. In reality, the whole person, the life and mission of Jesus of Nazareth, has this dimension of ‘mystery’, it is more than how his contemporaries were able to perceive.
It is not easy for us, with just a superficial glance, to discover who this Jesus of Nazareth is deep down. Nor who is the Father or what is the Kingdom. The Rosary is an exercise of prayer to get inside some of these mysteries or, if you prefer, into ‘the mystery’ of Jesus of Nazareth, into some specially important episodes of his person and his life, to do it as well by being taken by the hand of Mary, his mother, in such a way that we contemplate these episodes with her believing look, deeper and more penetrating than ours so as to be able to pick out the beauty, goodness and truth of the person of Jesus. The Christian knows he has to fix his eyes on Jesus of Nazareth, contemplating, watching and seeing him with the cleansing and profound look of faith. If the disciple learns by watching his master, what can we not learn by contemplating and seeing Jesus?