The Rosary: a Pilgrimage

The ancient prayer of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary has always been part of the spiritual life of the saints since its conception. Countless many have found comfort and consolation in it. And the 15 promises our Lady gave to those who are faithful to its recitation are reason enough to persevere in its prayer.

Yet, understandably, many of us still find the Holy Rosary to be taxing and, most of the time, a great challenge to be consistent with its daily recitation. One decade could really feel like a decade. The involuntary wandering of the restless mind will find us thinking about the Annunciation one minute and wondering what we’ll have for dinner the next. Not to mention, the routine of the Our Fathers and the Hail Marys can at times produce a trance-like effect that will bring us to sleepy town—argued as deep contemplation when later asked. But same with all great things, the Holy Rosary is worth every effort, exponentially more. As our Lady has promised, “the soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish”, this is enough for us to exert all effort for perseverance and endurance. The Holy Rosary is a pearl of great price that costs all we have.

There have been numerous books and publications on tips and techniques in praying the Holy Rosary that has added a dimension to this prayer—from only thinking about a particular intention to a more complicated Lectio Divina. But what I found to be most useful for me is in St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, particularly the “Composition of Place”. To simply put it, Composition of Place is a component of contemplation where one puts oneself in the scene of the Scripture. You are not merely an audience. You are part of what is happening. In our context—it will be the specific mystery of the Holy Rosary. I found this to be most beneficial and enjoyable especially for someone whose imagination has the tendency to go overdrive.

With the Composition of Place, mental questions arise like: what does the place look like?; what does it smell?; who and where are the people involved?; what are they doing?; who am I in this scene?; what is my role?; am I one of the characters or am I a new character of the scene?; how do I interact with everything? As the Hail Marys roll out from my fingers gliding through the beads, the scene of the mystery starts to unfold and be composed, and the past is made present—in my own prayer space. The Rosary is not anymore a chore to be finished as soon as possible like a marathon, but a journey where I savor the beauty, grandeur and sometimes the horror of the event and place, and go through time and space. I am now part of the great drama of salvation. The Holy Rosary has become my pilgrimage.

A word of caution. The meditation/imagination I will be presenting in the next posts does not equate as an official teaching of the Catholic Church about a particular mystery. They are simply my own reflection and imagination (an imagination gone wild at that) at the service of my praying the Holy Rosary. You might find the language used to be exaggerated. It is on purpose as a way of bringing out the full flavor of the mystery. At times I use the 1st person point of view to really get the feeling of the scene. Other times, I simply act as an invisible observer merely narrating but nonetheless an integral part of what is happening. Having said that, let us go to Israel, 2000 years ago, and follow the footsteps of the holy.

The 1st Joyful Mystery, here.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact uhere.

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