I don't know if it was triggered by the Feast of the Immaculate Conception yesterday or just my dippy little brain ticking over but on the train this morning I found myself thinking about the rosary. Most non-catholics seem to think that all we ever do of an evening is sit at home with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes praying this little string of beads...but, as with most things people think Catholics do (or don't do), that simply isn't the case. In fact from some of the things I've heard people say and read in books/articles/blogposts etc. the rosary seems to be...well, a bit like Marmite I suppose. You either love it or you simply can't stand it. I mean I've read lots of gorgeous things about the beautiful stillness and calmness of this prayer, how it helps a person to focus all their attention on God with Mary's help...and plenty of others going on about how hard it is to make time to pray it, how easy it is to get distracted and how much "better" or "user friendly" other forms of prayer are.
So if it's such a chore why exactly do I bother? Why not try something else? Well probably because the rosary is, by it's very nature, something that challenges me (and it's healthy for me to be challenged and brought down a peg or five on a regular basis.) I mean it makes me stop, for twenty minutes a day, and think about someone other than myself, to meditate upon the events from the life of Christ and his mother, to pray for other people and not just my petty immediate needs. And the rosary is a profoundly life changing thing. I won't bore you with all the intricate details but the number of times Mary has shown me areas in my life that aren't "up to scratch" as it were is gob smackingly staggering. And she has helped me to view so many situations through different eyes, helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the Church and its teaching, held my hand through times of great doubt and distress. She has never let me forget for one moment that I owe everything to God. So yeah, the rosary can be very hard work. But we are never, ever left to do it on our own and even though we are sometimes brought into sharp relief with regards to the direction our lives are moving in it is always done with an incomprehensible amount of gentleness and love.
This article may be of interest to some who find the rosary to be pointless or "not for them." It may well effect differnt people in different ways...but it always has some form of impact.