Ok, so this post is probably going to offend some people, and worry others, but so be it. This is my blog. If you want to write against my views, start your own blog. Then send me the address, 'cause I'll want to read it.
Lately I've been praying the rosary more often. I find it exetremely helpful, as have millions of Christians for millenia before me.
This morning I took a walk around the park, going through most of the rosary as I walked. It was foggy, and damp, and I could hear church bells through the mist. It was great.
Why do I pray the rosary? Several reasons:
1. As stated above, millions of Christians before me have prayed it, and found it "effective" (though I don't like that word). The tradition behind it is grand. Incidentally, it was not imposed by the Church, but a grassroots prayer that finally found acknowledgement at top levels. It's a prayer of the common people.
2. People I value very much personally recommend it, and have found it helpful. These include people at my church, favorite writers, and Pope John Paul II, who has been a hero of mine for many years.
3. I myself find it "effective." Now to explain what I mean by effective. While I do believe that prayer can and does change the world around us through God's grace and power, it also changes me. I shape my very soul through prayer. Some prayers work better than others in that regard. I have always been completely hopeless at spontaneous prayer. Some people are good at it, and it's helpful to them, and I say great. But when I make it a discipline to pray the rosary, I find myself freed immensely: I know what to say, I don't have to fumble for words, or worry about whether what I'm saying is accurate or correct (these are all fine things, but they get in the way of the action of prayer). I find myself free to mediate, letting my mouth ramble on with the familiar sentences. I also find myself changing. More on that below.
One of the common objections to the rosary is the attention that it focuses on Mary. What this does is allow one to identify with Mary and try to become more like her. This is the point of saying, over and over, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you." This is the angel's greeting to Mary, and brings to mind her response: "Behold the Lord's handmaiden; be it unto me according to thy word." This is the most perfect response to God in human history (excluding Christ, naturally). This is what all creation should say to God. Looking at the events of Christ's life through the eyes of Mary allows the person praying to learn to respond to God in perfect faith as she did. When praying the rosary, I find myself becoming more open to God, more willing to do what He asks, and more able to find joy in whatever He sends.
So hopefully I didn't offend anyone with this post. Comments are welcome, as long as they are not virulent anti-Catholic or anti-liturgy posts.