Praying to Mary always seemed natural to me. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a Catholic home where we regularly recited Hail Marys. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I share in her femininity and now in the gift of motherhood. Whatever the case, I never really questioned my devotion to our Holy Mother.
That is, until I belonged to a multi-denominational Christian bible study group a few years ago.
While my Christian sisters certainly did not attack my beliefs on Mary by any means, they did repeatedly question things like her perpetual virginity and her role as a mediator to Christ.
More recently, a family member who has a very strong relationship with Christ but has left the Catholic Church mentioned the words “idolatry” and “Mary” in the same sentence when referring to the Catholic teachings on Mary. Admittedly, when I’m put on the spot, I often come up short in my attempt to defend the Catholic faith’s Marian doctrines; yet, even when I’m confronted with doubt, ignorance or confusion when it comes to the Mother of God, my love for her is unwavering. She is not only God’s Mother; she is the Mother of the Church and her spiritual motherhood reaches out to all men and women whom Jesus came to save, even those who would never think to pray to her.
But for those of us who do pray to Mary, the rosary offers one of the most powerful ways to seek her aid and to draw closer to her son. Praying the rosary and reflecting on the mysteries is one of Catholics’ greatest gifts in their arsenal of spiritual tools. It’s not something we worship, nor is Mary. But it is something we use to get to know Christ better.
If you’re not familiar with the rosary, think of it this way. We use our voices to talk, but we use telephones to be heard by loved ones far away. Similarly, there are many ways to pray, but the the rosary is one method of helping our prayers be heard by someone – God’s own mother – who has a definite “in.” We’re using our “connections,” if you will. Just as we pick up the telephone or shoot off an email asking friends and family to pray for us in times of needs, when we pray the rosary, we are asking Mary to pray for us, too.
And those who faithfully pray the rosary will not be disappointed. In the 1400s Saint Dominic and Blessed Alan received 15 promises from Our Lady, including the promise of receiving all you ask of Mary through the recitation of the rosary.
Although that’s surely enough to inspire you to pick up those beads and start praying, you can savor some more loveliness of the rosary over at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. Here, Sarah has compiled a Loveliness Fair that shares myriad reflections on the rosary in honor of the month of Mary. It’s a beautiful collection and a reminder of why we should carve out prayer time for Mary and her beads.