I was pleased when Paul suggested that we invite people at church, and beyond, to say a decade of the rosary, for a day, or a few days in October, traditionally called the month of the holy rosary. This suggestion is a way of encouraging a chain of prayer, and helps us to see ourselves as links in that chain.
The connection is not only made among the living. Within my family the rosary of my great great grandmother (born 1843) is carefully preserved. I treasure a rosary which belonged to my grandfather who died at the young age of 26 in 1937.
My mother, who loved saying the rosary, kept her father’s rosary close to her pillow throughout her life, and now I do the same. For me this rosary is a physical reminder of the value of prayer in, and for, our families, and through the generations.
For many Anglicans the rosary is an unfamiliar and infrequently used form of prayer. Encouragingly in some Anglican circles it is becoming more used. We are fortunate to have a parish rosary group. My experience, from parish, university and prison ministry, is that young people, and the unchurched, are often very willing to try saying the rosary, and find the touch and the repetition helpful.
For myself when my mind can seem too restless, and the whirl of modern life seems endless, I value the steady, familiar rhythms of the simple prayers of the rosary. They bring stillness, and a connection with others around the world and, indeed, with past and present generations. The rhythms and familiar words often bring a peace similar to that one can get when watching gentle waves on an open beach. It is a peace which leads to openness to God.
On the first day of the month of the rosary, as I pray the first of the mysteries, I shall take time to pause and look at an image of the Annunciation to Mary. It will be encouraging to think others I know are praying the same prayers and mystery. I shall pray that I may be as attentive to God’s messengers as Our Lady was, and with this in mind I shall pray the decade’s ten Hail Marys, the Lord’s Prayer and the Glory be. Who knows I may be lead to pray another decade or two after that…