The First “R” of the Rosary

Post Date: October 8, 2021
Author: Laura Stephens

Why this…? Why that..? What’s that?

Dad! Dad! Mom! Mom!

Help me! Help me!

I love you! I love you! I love you!

These examples of repetition we have all heard in daily family life might seem monotonous on the surface. However, what is conveyed in its repetition is a complete trust and dependence. As parents whose hearts are full of love for our children, we can (when we are not especially impatient or exhausted) cherish the trust and dependence that our children express as they repeatedly call out to us.

Repetition found in the praying of the Rosary is the first “R” of the Rosary!

The Rosary is a prayer that allows our hearts to repeatedly call out with child-like confidence to our Heavenly Father and Our Blessed Mother.

Child-like Trust

Praying the Rosary is very powerful. Like the children’s repetitive calling out to their parents, we are calling out with love and trusting in the effectiveness of our prayerful requests because of who we pray to. During each decade of the Rosary, we say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and 1 Glory Be.  A full Rosary consisting of 5 decades empowers us to call upon Our Lady and the Trinity a great number of times! Each time we repeatedly speak aloud (or quietly) these prayers, we can ultimately proclaim these aspects of trust and dependance:

  • Because she relied completely on God, we can fully trust Mary to teach us the why’s and what’s of our complicated lives.
  • God, as our Father, and Mary, as our Mother, will ensure our needs are provided for, especially if we continually call out to them in prayer.
  • We must seek Mary’s guidance to help us follow God and strive for holiness.
  • Since prayer is an authentic exchange of love, we will become more and more aware of the love of God and of Mary for us.

Beads

Repetition is one of the gifts of the Rosary in the reciting of the predictable pattern of prayers. The beads of the Rosary we hold in our hands allow us to easily participate in the flow of the Rosary prayers without having to get too preoccupied with how many we have said so far. The placement of the beads in relation to each other and their respective sizes permit us to know which prayer to say. There is comfort in the echoing structure as it allows us to focus on what we are praying instead of on what prayer to say next. The holding of a Rosary during prayer allows our hearts to focus better, but when you find yourself praying the Rosary without one available- remember that God gave your 10 fingers to pray with too!

Prayers

Another gift of repetition in the Rosary is in the reiteration of some essential prayers. This repetition is not for the clearing of the mind through the speaking of a repeating mantra (reoccurring word) as used in other types of spiritualities. The repetition of the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be prayers are a continual proclaiming and making present in our minds the love of God and Mary for us.  

The first prayer that is repeated is that of the Our Father. Praying this prayer follows Jesus’ teaching of the Our Father as the perfect prayer. We acknowledge God the Father who provides for us, teaches us to forgive and guides us away from sin. This prayer is essential to growth in our faith; and, therefore, is a fitting prayer to be repeated in the Rosary.

The principal prayer that is most repeated is that of the Hail Mary. The prayer itself recalls the Biblical stories of both the Archangel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary well as Elizabeth’s greeting upon Mary’s Visitation. These are profound moments when Jesus was made Incarnate, and when His Incarnation was recognized by Elizabeth and her child still within her womb, St John the Baptist. These proclamations that form the first part of the Hail Mary are not for the worship of Mary but rather for the gift of Jesus whom she would be blessed to carry within. It is a moment of humble acceptance by Mary and profound amazement of what God was doing for His people through Our Blessed Mother. The Hail Mary concludes with asking Mary to pray for us now and when we die.

Reflection upon these Biblical events of our salvation history lead us easily into the Glory Be prayer, where we give glory to the Trinity for all time. The Glory Be prayer concludes the key prayers of each Rosary decade. Along the way, other prayers have been added to each decade such as the Fatima prayer. There are other prayers to start and end the Rosary. However, the focus today is on the repetition found within each decade and its important, but often overlooked, gift for those faithfully praying the Rosary.

The repeating prayers invite our hearts to focus on more than the mere stating of the words but to enter the gift of the prayers themselves. The repeating Rosary prayers invite us deeper into the life of God and His incredible plan for our salvation. Allow the words to awaken your heart to love and dependence upon God.

“Say the Holy Rosary. Blessed be that monotony of Hail Mary’s which purifies the monotony of your sins!” – Saint Josemaria Escriva (Catholic Gallery)

References:

Catholic Gallery quote retrieved from https://www.catholicgallery.org/quotes/rosary-quotes-3/

Author: Laura Stephens, FF Homeschool Coordinator

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