Friday, November 12, 2010

Praying the Rosary and Purification of the Soul

  I am a huge advocate of praying the Rosary.

 Praying the Rosary on a regular basis has an interesting effect on the soul. The more you pray it, the more sin begins to repulse you. Especially your own sins. Can a person pray the Rosary daily (with sincerity) and not be changed? I don't think so. Mother Mary must have obtained some great graces for those who pray it because ... it is life changing.

  One of the first thing I started doing after my conversion was to pick up my beads daily and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary. I had led a sinful life for years and was not really aware at the time just how deeply sin wounds us. I was susceptible to certain weaknesses and sins, especially in my thought life, and the Rosary became the weapon of choice for me. Actually, sin had dulled my soul to such a degree that the Lord had to "cheat" and poured extraordinary graces into it. He was "waking up" my soul and our Lady was helping.  It was necessary because one doesn't come back from sin on their own. It's pure grace. And sometimes this grace comes in ordinary ways, other times extraordinary. I am guessing that the Lord allowed me many glimpses into the work He was doing so that I wouldn't lose heart or despair over my sinfulness. God never stops knocking though we may stop answering the door at times.  A long time in my case. Thankfully, God is persistent.

I use the Rosary for intercessory prayer, to obtain virtues and special graces, as reparation for my sins and to meditate on Scripture. While meditating on certain Bible passages other verses often come to mind and I am often amazed by the connection between the verses. I don't always stick to the mysteries during the Rosary. Often I just try to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and see where this takes me.

When I pray the Rosary I'll notice thoughts that try to sneak into my meditations. Distractions. These are my "attachments and concerns" usually. If I can't ignore them, I sometimes pray about them because I know they are popping up for a reason. They tend to be the same distractions with slight variations over and over so this is a good hint from the Lord about things I need to work on.

Another way that the Rosary has benefited me is that over the years I have become aware of its purging effect. Slowly but surely Our Lady cleans house. When I go through these purging stages I often feel like Pigpen from Peanuts with a cloud of dirt and dust surrounding me and clouding my vision. I feel filthy but the truth is that I am actually just more aware of my faults at these times than during times of consolation. I had a humorous dream years ago about Mother Mary with a broom and have no doubt that she's working hard still.

The Rosary has become my "signal" to the Lord that I'm ready for more cleansing and that I am opening myself up to whatever work He desires to do in me. My tacit permission to go on. God doesn't force himself on us and respects our free will. Some people use a holy word to show their acquiescence to the work of the Spirit, I often use the Rosary. It seems to work better for me, plus I am also fulfilling my promise as one who is consecrated to Our Lady to pray the Rosary.

If I could give 2 pieces of advice to those who have recently returned to the Church it would be this:

Receive the Eucharist as often as possible and pray the Rosary. Oh, and one more - go before the Blessed Sacrament. These three things will change your heart no matter where you are on your journey.


  1. You are so right Mary, especially with the 'triple whammy' in your last paragraph :)

    Our Lady and the Rosary have been life-changing companions for me too, and I hope such a beautiful relationship will continue. I just love the divine liturgy of the Mass, and quality time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

  2. Pip,
    "Triple whammy" - I like that!
    I often pray the Rosary right before Mass. This helps prepare me to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and to focus on Him alone :)

  3. Beautiful post, Mary. I do not pray the rosary often, but when I feel called, I do. And it is usually for intercessory prayer. It is a beautiful prayer, but rote prayer for me doesn't work well. The other 2 parts of the "triple whammy" I do as often as I can. God bless!

  4. Good advice in that last paragraph. I smiled at your comment about God's persistence. "The Hound of Heaven." I imagine you are familiar with it.

  5. Praying with your distractions-that makes so much sense and maybe it's just because the rosary is longer than most prayers, distractions pop up more frequently. You're so right that the Lord must have put those thoughts in your mind because He is calling you to give them to Him through your prayer.

  6. Yes, perhaps distractions are not always distractions, but actually the fruits of meditating on the mysteries...perhaps the Lord is bringing up issues that need attention

  7. Colleen,
    Thank you. I know that not everyone is drawn to praying the Rosary daily. Maybe it depends on a person's nature. The Rosary has a tremendous calming effect on me and brings me peace. This is a good state to be in when God is trying to get some work done :)

  8. Elizabeth,
    I am very familiar with it. I think it's one of the greatest poems ever written :) In the top ten, anyway!

  9. Anne and Pip,
    The silly distractions are easy to push away but there are times when certain thoughts crop up regularly and aren't so easily dismissed. These are the ones I bring up during prayer. It seems to make sense that these are issues the Lord wants to address or else they wouldn't come to mind so often.

  10. Thanks for this post. I have been getting angry with myself for the distractions that creep into the Rosary. But reading you post reminds me that (a) I'm not alone, and (b) I can use them in prayer.

    Thanks Mary, God Bless.

  11. Michael,
    Sometimes I'll go for long periods without any distractions and at other times I get blasted :) I think most people have distractions now and then. I joke with the Lord and call it spiritual ADD.