Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception so I decided to do a post on the Rosary in honor of this feast day. I am mentioning the Rosary on its own because it combines vocal prayer, meditation, intercessory prayer and praise all rolled into one prayer. The Rosary is Christ-centered, essentially scriptural and intensifies our union with Jesus, through whom in the Spirit, we are one with the Father. The only way to the Father is through Jesus, He is the Beautiful Gate all must enter through. Mary helps draw us closer to Him through her prayers as Mother of the Church. Just as she was Jesus' mother on earth so she is the Mother of the Body of Christ on earth [us], given to us by Jesus himself on the Cross.
The seed of contemplative prayer is often sown during the Rosary. It "preps" our hearts to receive the gift of contemplation and sometimes the Lord draws us into contemplation during the Rosary. If this happens, let go of the prayer. God pulls your attention away from the prayer and you feel caught up in intense love and joy - encompassed by Him; it could last for minutes and sometimes it can last for weeks. Sometimes He infuses knowledge into us during the Rosary, too. You may find that you have a knowledge of God that you did not previously have. These things can happen anytime, not just during the Rosary, but I have noticed that many people seem to have these experiences while praying the Rosary. Personally, I think it is a grace Mother Mary obtained from God for those who recite the Rosary faithfully and pray with their hearts. Consolations are common during the Rosary, also.
Mother Mary was the greatest contemplative of all times, she always pondered things in her heart. She is also a great intercessor and as our spiritual mother she would like to help us deepen our prayer lives. What is necessary on our part is good will and the intention to pray well, with love; she can help us with the rest and turn us into powerful prayer warriors because she is great at obtaining graces for those who entrust themselves into her care.
St. Thomas Aquinas mentions that 3 levels of attention are possible during vocal prayer such as the Rosary. The first and lowest level is our attention to the full and proper enunciation of the words of the prayer. The second and higher level is our attention to the literal meaning of the words. The third and still higher level is reached when, leaving the literal meaning aside, our attention rises to thoughts on the Mystery or to particular praise of God. This third level may rise to the point of contemplation.
My thoughts are:
In Mary, we find the perfect model for contemplation and union with God. Mary shows us what complete abandonment to God is. " Let it be done to me according to your word" and "Do whatever He tells you" are perfect examples of this. She was filled to the brim with grace and it is through grace that we too become like Jesus.