OLMC Launches New Group Dedicated to the Rosary
If you were to spend even five minutes researching “why should I pray the Rosary,” you’d find about thirty-five different answers, many of them accompanied by clever and insightful analogies (the Rosary is like the ocean - there’s something in it for everyone; the Rosary is like a treasure map, leading countless people from all walks of life to the priceless riches of peace, joy, and clarity; etc.). And if you were to spend five more minutes researching “how do I teach children how to pray the Rosary,” you’d find about thirty-five more answers, many of them accompanied by cute illustrations or adorable photos of well-intentioned family prayer time gone awry.
There’s no cookie-cutter answer to either question, but perhaps a good starting point for the first is this: It works. As St. Augustine once famously pointed out, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Most of the ills that plague us both as individuals and as a species can be traced back to this restlessness: If we are not living in and for God, our hearts are hopelessly agitated, and there’s no depth of conflict and sin to which we will not eventually sink in desperate search of something - anything - that might soothe our blistering, uncontrollably itching and scratching heartburn, all the while descending farther and farther from the One True Balm.
Prayer, by contrast, is one of the most powerful antidotes to human restlessness because it restores the heart to its rightful place in God. The Rosary is particularly efficacious in this for a number of reasons, including:
its soothing rhythms calm our chaotic minds and reach deep down to put our souls at ease;
its mysteries transport us to the most significant moments of human history, both uniting our own lives with the whole of salvation history and giving us a little perspective on the relative hardships we bear;
it never gets old: no many how times you pray the rosary, there’s always a new insight to be gained, a new conversation God is inviting us to enter
it gives us some quality time with Mary, the perfect model of love and devotion to Jesus
when two or three (or more) of us gather in Jesus’ name to pray the Rosary, He is truly present in our midst - and there’s just no telling what will happen from there
Like any good habit, these divine effects usually don’t occur immediately, and for most people they don’t happen every time. We live in real time, with real-life joys and struggles, and we’re not automatons: Our minds can be more or less willing to live in that moment, our hearts more or less capable of being lifted high to the Lord. The experience we have in any single Rosary is not as important as the longing for God that spurred us into it. As St. Catherine of Siena taught, the greatest gift we can give to God in prayer is not the finite work of saying the words, but the “infinitely desirous love” for God that is expressed in those words and is being drawn out of our souls when we pray - whether we realize it or not.
As for how to teach kids to pray the Rosary, it’s easy enough to find any number of helpful tips from veteran parents and teachers, but the quickest and effective way, like all education done right, is to immerse them in its truth, goodness, and beauty. Pray it with them - lovingly, gently, and with unquenchable patience. Afterwards, talk honestly about their experiences, and yours - both the sublime and the completely distracted. Quite simply, the best way for children to experience the peace and joy of the Rosary is to just do it in an atmosphere of supportive love. Because their hearts tend to be less tethered to the cares of this world, kids are actually more likely than adults to realize the Rosary’s full potential sooner and more often.
To that end, OLMC parish and school has launched a new Rosary prayer group for students, families, and parishioners, in which the children will lead the prayers. There will be a devotion box, candles, roses, pictures, and illustrations, all geared towards enhancing the participants’ experience of this powerful prayer. The group will meet weekly every Wednesday at 2:45 in the church, and all are welcome. We invite you and your children to join us for this transformative initiative, and we look forward to praying with you!
Any questions, please contact Jeffrey Burke at 973-896-9469.