On the Rosary


On the Rosary

Yes, an off-hand comment that I made started this, and I am pleased to see so many responding to it. There is this excellent post at Disputations in response to this equally cogent reflection at Goodform. The quote below is taken from Disputations:

The purpose of a devotion is to bring you closer to God, and if all the Rosary brings you close to is chucking the beads out of a window, then perhaps you should chuck the beads, not out of a window, but out of your prayer life. (Put the beads away some place; there may yet come a time when you'll need them.)

St. Therese wrote, "It's a terrible thing to admit, but saying the Rosary takes it out of me more than any hair shirt ... Try as I will, I cannot meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary. I just cannot fix my mind on them." (I'm told the early editions of her autobiography omitted such passages.) As a Carmelite, though, she had to pray the Rosary, and -- agreeing with Tom -- decided that the sheer effort of doing so would be at least as profitable as twenty minutes of easy meditation.

It used to be that I really disliked St. Therese. Then I studied her life and writings. What I discovered I dislike (as happens more often than not) is what popular piety makes of St. Therese. She is called "The Little Flower," but she is, in fact, "A Mighty Oak." And I share her difficulty with the Rosary. But I also recall the words of our St. Teresa of Avila (further reflected in Therese) that God prizes obedience above a multitude of actions. Teresa was so adamant about obedience, in fact, that she counseled that if you wished to do something that your superior denied you, then obey your superior. If it were in God's will that it were done, He would change the superior's heart, or change the Superior.

So, one Rosary said in obedience to my rule, is better than ten-thousand dedications, consecrations, and acts that I enjoy more. In fact, I know that God prizes daily morning prayer, evening prayer, Office, and lesser hours, but from me, He prizes more each Rosary I can choke out. And I know that He prizes those rosaries done with my four-year-old son. (Actually, doing them in this way, though he does not go through all five decades, removes some of the burden and gives me great cause for joy. Since I've made this parenthesis, I may as well continue to brag--how many other four year olds can recite Psalm 8 and Psalm 23 in toto?)

The Rosary can be a penance, and a very useful penance, but I know that it also serves to strengthen my prayer life by dint of obedience to the promises I have made. I also know a great many people whose lives have improved immeasurably as a result of adopting this wonderful devotion. However, as Mr. da Fiesole indicates, if it serves to move you away from God, then discard it. (See advice from St. Ignatius--here)

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 2, 2002 1:27 PM.

Peggy Noonan on John Paul II was the previous entry in this blog.

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