by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
I remember decades ago, my mother would always bring me with her to attend the block Rosary in our community. At first, I thought she’s just bringing me for free snacks but later on realized that it’s for me to memorize the prayers. Also, you would always find a Rosary in my left pocket else in my bag, a habit I got from my father. Dad never fails to bring one every time he goes out of our house.
The Rosary is a very staple tradition amongst Catholic that traces back its history even since pre-Christian era. The word Rosary means a crown of roses. At that time, pagans would crown their statues and idols with roses symbolising their offerings to the gods. With their loyalty to their gods and the advent of Christianity, Roman persecution started. During these persecutions, Christian Virgins dressed in white garments crowned with roses would embrace their martyrdom at the sandy arena of the colosseum. Christian brethren would collect these crowns and offer a prayer for each rose; among the prayers was the Lord’s Prayer.
Over the years, the Hail Mary was formulated from the words of the angel of the Annunciation and after the Council of Ephesus concluded that truly Mary was the Mother of God. In the middle ages, the monks who could not read the 150 psalms would instead repeat praying the Lords’ Prayer or the Hail Mary, which they call the psalters counted using knots.
Later on, the Rosary became more structured through the visions of St. Dominic of the Order of Preachers. It was said that Mother Mary herself instructed him about the Rosary to fight against the Albigensian heresy. Along with Dominic, there were other visionaries who would testify about Mary instructing them to pray the Rosary for world peace and for the reparation of sins — the little shepherds of Fatima, the young lady of Lourdes, a native peasant from Tepeyac, etc. St. John Paul, in the latter years of his pontificate, added the fourth mystery, the Mystery of Light which all focuses on the public ministry of Jesus.
Many Catholics are so in love with this form of prayer however we cannot deny that there are some who would see praying the Rosary very mechanical, tedious and but a repetitive recitation of formula prayers. They would find the Rosary as babbling vain repetitions like the prayers of the self-righteous hypocrites. Nonetheless, the Rosary is really but full of mystery.
The Rosary is a compendium of the Gospel. It teaches us the life of Jesus offered for us. A life that must always be remembered as a life lived for others, a life full of love.
The Rosary is a prayer exercise for our spiritual endurance. Praying the rosary entails one’s patience and creativity. It nurtures one’s spirituality to see and feel God beyond human capacity.
Repeating our prayers isn’t for Mary nor it is for Jesus. It is for us that we may be reminded that Mary, our Mother will never leave us unaided and Jesus, our brother is our loving and forgiving Messiah.
Pray for us, o holy Mary Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.