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Monday, October 6, 2014

Our Lady of the Rosary

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."1 Thess 5:16-18

The rosary is a fascinating prayer. For Catholics born prior to the Second Vatican Council, it was one of the first prayers we learned. Simple, straightforward and clear, we prayed it often individually and as families. While the rosary may have lost some of its luster in the last 40 years, I feel sure it will return to the devotional lives of Catholics in the 21st century because it is a simple form of contemplation and so much like the method at the heart of the Centering prayer movement.

The Cistercian, Thomas Keating, has become one of the best known teachers of Centering prayer, helping found the Contemplative Outreach program which has enlisted more that 40,000 people in 39 countries.(1) Keating suggests we find a quiet place, sit still and straight, breathe slowly and deeply, and then repeat a word or mantra, like Jesus or peace or help me Lord. The classic mantra, known as the Jesus prayer, which has its roots in Eastern Christian spirituality, is: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. When our attention wanders, we begin again by repeating our mantra, word or the Jesus prayer.

Isn’t that what the rosary helps us do? As we repeat Hail Mary after Hail Mary we focus on a mystery of Jesus' life to help us stay centered and rooted in Christ. There is no need to concentrate on every word of the Hail Mary. Rather, we breathe, enter into one of the mysteries of the Lord's life and ask the him to keep us “centered” in his presence. The rosary is very simple and, especially for those who might find the idea of centering prayer intimidating, it is a wonderful invitation to contemplation, a prayer form to which all of us are called.
Today, ask the Lord to keep you quiet enough interiorly so that you might be startled by the God who is always with us.

Do you have a special devotion that helps you pray everyday?

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