Today we celebrate Our Lady of the Rosary. It used to be that praying the rosary was a Catholic identifier. Even growing up as a baptist, when I had never seen a rosary except in movies, I knew Catholics prayed the rosary.
Now I am afraid that the place I most see rosaries is in movies and on television. What happened? It would be easy to oversimplify history, and look for someone to blame. But what is served. The story of Lot's wife reminds us that looking backward is not the answer. We need to look forward, and help each other rediscover the place of this prayer in the daily life of the Catholic.
A first step is the simple carrying of the rosary. Just the presence of the rosary in our pocket can be that constant reminder that our faith must guide every decision we make in our lives. And we all need reminders. Every knight of Columbus is supposed to be carrying his rosary at all times.
The prayer is simple. In its most basic form: three prayers, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. The traditional rosary consisted of 150 Hail Mary's, mirroring the 150 psalms which had been prayed for centuries by monks. A Catholic would usually pray one third of the rosary each day, five decades of the rosary. Each decade begins with the Our Father and conclude with the Glory be, with ten Hail Mary's in between.
From the 16th century until 2002 the rosary remained unchanged until Bl. Pope John Paul II, added the luminous mysteries, which fill in the story of Jesus's ministry.
The beauty of the rosary is its flexibility. While there are varieties of suggested schedules for which mysteries to pray on which days. Some add in the Fatima prayer. There is no one fixed way that is the right way.
Here are the instructions on how to pray the rosary.
Today find your rosary. And most of all pray.