Dan Burke has a great post today over on Catholic Spiritual Direction on how to pray a Clausular Rosary. You can see it here.
From “Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
For the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary
Presence of God – O most holy Virgin, may the Rosary be my spiritual armor and my school of virtue.
1. Today’s Feast is a manifestation of gratitude for the great victories won by the Christian people through the power of Mary’s
Rosary; it is also the most beautiful and authoritative testimony of the value of this prayer. The liturgy of the day is not only a
commentary on the Rosary, but an amplification of it : the three hymns of the Office as well as the antiphons of Matins and
Lauds, review its different mysteries; the lessons chant its glories, and the continual references to the Virgin, who “blossomed as
it were, among the flowers, surrounded by roses and lilies of the valley,” are a clear allusion to the mystical crowns of roses
which Mary’s devoted children weave at her feet when they recite the Rosary. This Feast tells us that to honor the Rosary is to
honor Mary, for the Rosary is simply a meditation on Our Lady’s life, accompanied by the devout recitation of the Hail Mary. It is
for this reason that the Church praises this practice and recommends it so insistently to the faithful. “O God,” she prays in today’s
Collect, “grant that meditating on the mysteries of the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what
they contain and obtain what they promise.” The Rosary, if recited well, is both prayer and instruction; its mysteries tell us that in
Mary’s life everything is judged in relation to God ; her sorrows are, so to speak, the very sorrows of God, who being made man,
willed to suffer for the sins of mankind. Mary’s only joy is Jesus : to be His Mother, to clasp Him in her arms, to offer Him for the
adoration of the world, to contemplate Him in the glory of His Resurrection, to be united to Him in Heaven. Mary’s unique sorrow
is the Passion of Jesus : to see Him betrayed, scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified by our sins. This, then, is the first fruit
which we must gather from the recitation of the Rosary : to judge all the events of our life according to their relation to God, to
rejoice in what gives Him pleasure, in what unites us to Him, to suffer for sin which separates us from Him and is the cause of the
Passion and death of Jesus.
2. The second fruit that we should derive from the daily recitation of the Rosary is a penetration into Christ’s mysteries; by Mary
and with Mary, who opens the door to them for us, the Rosary helps us penetrate the ineffable grandeurs of the Incarnation,
Passion, and glory of Jesus. Who is there who has understood and lived these mysteries as Our Lady did? And who better than
she can make us understand them? If, during the recitation of the Rosary, we really know how to put ourselves in spiritual contact
with Mary and to accompany her in the various stages of her life, we shall be able to perceive something of the sentiments of
her heart concerning these great mysteries which she witnessed, and in which she played such an important part; this, in turn,
will serve wonderfully to nourish our souls. Thus, our Rosary will be transformed into a quarter of an hour’s meditation–we might
almost say contemplation–under Mary’s guidance. This is what Mary desires, rather than many Rosaries recited with the lips,
while the mind wanders in a thousand directions! The Hail Mary, continuously repeated, should express the attitude of a soul who
is striving to approach the Blessed Virgin, hastening toward her in order to be captivated by her and given insight into the divine
mysteries. “Ave Maria!” the lips say, and heart murmurs : “Teach me, O Mary, to know and love Jesus as you knew and loved
Him.” Saying the Rosary in this way requires recollection. St. Teresa of Jesus says that “before beginning to recite the Rosary, let
the soul think of whom it is going to address, and who it is that is speaking, that it may speak to Him with due respect” (cf. Way,
22). The Saint, with her keen wit, laughs at those people “who are so fond of repeating a large number of vocal prayers in a great
hurry, as though they were anxious to finish their task of repeating them daily” (ibid., 31). Rosaries recited in this way cannot
really nourish our interior life; they will bring little fruit to the soul and little glory to Mary. On the other hand, if recited with a
real spirit of devotion, the Rosary becomes an effective means of cultivating devotion to Mary and of bringing us into intimacy
with Our Lady and her Divine Son.
October is traditionally the month devoted to the Rosary. October 7th was the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Rosary is a daily “pause for prayer”. It is a spiritual aid that shouldn’t be underestimated. Praying the Rosary is not always easy and our praying it is in constant need of renewal in order to keep it from becoming dry and performed out of routine thus losing its spiritual fruitfulness.
Perhaps a look at Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter on the Rosary can help us to renew our efforts to pray this beautiful prayer better. Rosarium Virginis Marie was written in October 2002 and in it the Holy Father added the new Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary and presented a catechesis on this devotion.
When praying the Rosary it is good to announce each mystery. A biblical passage that is related to the mystery should be read to help meditate and to supply the biblical foundation to this prayer. Long or short biblical passages can be used before each decade. Making use of an icon or picture of the mystery also aids in focusing on the particular mystery.
After the biblical passage is read a short period of silence should be included to nourish listening and meditation on the Word. A pause in order to focus on the mystery is quite appropriate before moving on to the vocal prayers. This way while praying the Rosary we are listening to the Word, focusing on the mystery and lifting our minds up toward the Father as we say, “Our Father…”.
The ‘Hail Mary’s’ should be recited with great love and affection for our Blessed Mother. It should be noted that this prayer with its two parts hinge on the name of Jesus. Each time we say the Hail Mary we are praising His name and telling our Blessed Mother how much we love her.
The ‘Gloria’ should be given prominence in our hearts. This prayer in praise of the Trinity is the high point of contemplation.
The Holy Father suggests that at the conclusion of each mystery a personal prayer be included for the fruits specific to that particular mystery. For example, after praying and meditating on the First Joyful Mystery we can add a personal prayer for the virtue of humility or for openness to God’s will.
The Rosary is a beautiful meditation on the Gospels and a path to contemplation. With renewed efforts to praying it well and a commitment to praying it daily, especially as a family, we can grow closer in our union with God.