The Rosary - An Ideal Family Prayer
The Rosary - A Sacramental
Families should pray as families everyday. Not only does daily family prayer give glory to God and bring blessings on on the home, but it guarantees the spiritual survival of families. Parents know that daily family prayer is not easy. It requires leadership and and effort.
Pope Paul VI in his apostolic exhortation, Marialis Cultus - Marian Reverence - of February 2, 1974, recognized the difficulties we face. But, at the same time, he stressed the need for a determined effort on our part.
'We are well aware that the changed conditions of life today do not make family gatherings easy and that even when such gathering is possible many circumstances make it difficult to turn it into an occasion of prayer. There is no doubt of the difficulty. But it is characteristic of the Christan in his manner of life not to succumb but to make an effort. Families which want to live in full measure the vocation and spirituality proper to the Christian family must therefore devote all their energies to overcoming the pressures that hinder family gatherings and prayer in common.'
As the Holy Father Pope Paul VI pointed out, it is of our Christian vocation to pray. A Christian family must pray together. Your family cannot stay close to God without prayer. Your family cannot ignore God in the home and hope to resist the increasing pagan pressures of our society that tend to destroy all that is Christian and decent in family life.
What prayers should we say in the home? Among the variety of prayers and devotions available to us, we should give the Rosary a place of prominence. As Pope Paul VI said in the same document quoted above: 'We....recommend strongly the recitation of the family Rosary.
Why should families say the Rosary?
1) The Rosary has a long and cherished tradition in the Church, from the time of St. Dominic, who so fervently preached its adoption, to modern popes and conferences of bishops throughout the world who have encouraged the faithful to maintain its practice.
2)The Rosary prayers, such as the 'Our Father' the 'Hail Mary' and "Glory be to the Father' are splendid prayers which should be learned in the home and frequently said by families.
3) The Rosary is a prayer form and devotion based on Sacred Scripture. The Scriptural riches of the Rosary are of permanent value to family life.
4) The Rosary is a summary of many important saving events, or mysteries, in the life of Jesus, episodes in which his Mother shared. Pope Paul VI beautifully brought out this point when he said:
'The Jesus that each Hail Mary recalls is the same Jesus whom the succession of the mysteries proposes to us - now as the Son of God, now as the son of the Virgin at his birth in a stable at Bethlehem, at his presentation by his mother in the Temple, as a youth full of zeal for his Father's affairs, as the Redeemer in agony in the garden, scourged and crowned with thorns, carrying the Cross and dying on Calvary, risen from the dead and ascended to the glory of the Father to send forth the gift of the Spirit.' (Marialis Cultis).
5) The Rosary not only brings the family closer to Mary our Mother, but through her it brings us closer to Jesus her Son, who is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life'.
6) The Rosary, because of its emphasis on meditation, encourages families to deepen their prayer life and be open to the Holy Spirit.
7)The Rosary is a devotion easily shared with others and this in itself encourages a growing sense of community within the family and, indeed, within the parish and the Church generally.
8) Mary herself in apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima has commended its use and asked that we say her Rosary.
Arguments have been raised that the Rosary is a devotion more suitable to past ages, that it uses too much repetition and that it is too simple for our sophisticated way of life. These arguments, it would seem, stem from a misconception of the nature and function of the Rosary, and from a failure on the part of homes to bring their members to a true understanding of the Rosary. Pope John Paul II summarizes many of the advantaged of the Rosary and the reasons why we lay people should maintain this beautiful prayer in our homes:
'The Church proposes to us...a very simple prayer. the Rosary, which can be spread out calmly according to the rhythm of our days. The Rosary, recited slowly and meditated upon, in the family, in community, personally, will gradually let you enter the sentiments of Christ and his Mother, recalling all the events which are the key of our salvation. As you recite one Hail Mary after another, you will contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ....., the Redemption of Christ...., in the light and the tranquility of God. With Mary, you will open your soul to the Holy Spirit, so that he may inspire all the great tasks that await you. With her, mothers will carry out their role as bearers of life, guardians and educators of the home'. (L'Osservatore Romano, May 26, 1980).
"The family that prays together, stays together". (Father Peyton)
Source: The Rosary in the Home.