Through the Rosary, Mary led me to my betrothed. While in school, Wayne would spontaneously call between classes, asking, “Would you like to say a Rosary with me?” How could I snub such a study break?
Prayer drew our friendship to love. Wayne proposed on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and our wedding date is set for this October 2, during the month of the Rosary.
Marian devotion is familiar ground for me. As we grew up, my friends and I wove wildflower crowns for Mary and placed them on her stone statue in our parish’s grotto. In college, praying the Rosary brought comfort during the joys, trials and confusion of life.
The Prayer After the Rosary, as I learned it, was the Collect in the Tridentine Missal for the Mass of Our Lady of the Rosary. This prayer reminds me why I spend time in the company of Our Lord and Lady through the Rosary. My gaze is directed to heaven and my hands and heart to action while I pray that “meditating upon these mysteries” I may “imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.”
For some, reciting the Rosary is Chinese water torture: the Hail Marys, deathly boring. But those who find meaning in the mysteries receive a lifetime of insights to meditate upon. These can be found even in unlikely places.
For me, the repetition of the Hail Mary becomes a childlike litany of “Hello, Mom, I love you. Pray for me.” This prayer connects me to Mary, who points always to her Son.
Meditation is important and the words, especially the names of Jesus and Mary, have power. But filling a quota of beads with the right words is not the admission price to heaven. Prayer should lead to action, as Portia says in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice: “We all do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.” Often this action is imitation.
Imitation seems to be a staple of childhood. “Mom! Tell Rose to stop following me!” my sister Gloria once hollered, irked by her younger shadow. Mom calmly answered, “She only does that because she loves you.”
I identify with the Prayer After the Rosary because of my mom’s answer. Just as Rose copies her sisters’ actions, I hope to imitate the virtues displayed by Mary and Jesus.
I see Mary’s humility at the Annunciation and her trust at the wedding at Cana. I pray to shoulder my cross daily, climbing Calvary and looking for the Resurrection.
Through a revelation to St. Dominic, Mary promised great graces to those who pray the Rosary: Virtues and good works will flourish. Souls shall not perish without the sacraments. They shall be delivered from purgatory.
Mary knows how easily her children fall into sin. Out of love, she offers the Rosary as one method for receiving grace.
My response, also out of love, is to make my life a prayer. Saying the Rosary, I weave a crown of thanksgivings and petitions. Like the wildflowers of my youth, I bring to Mama Mary my hopes, fears and dreams. I lay at her feet those I love: my future husband, my family and friends, but especially those I have trouble loving.
I pray for purity, guidance, patience and an increase in charity. I pray for perseverance to pray the Rosary, and the prayer that follows, not only with my lips, but also with my life.
Next month: Prayer Before a Crucifix