We also look at October as the month of the Holy Rosary. This month offers us a chance to see what a wonderful form of prayer we have. It is a chance to reflect with our Blessed Mother on all the mysteries of faith that are part of the story of our salvation. In that sense I sometimes think back to the days when my father took photographs with slide film. Every so often we would set up the projector and screen in the living room and have a slide show. We would remember our family stories, and as the youngest, I would feel a certain connection even with events that happened before I was born or when I was too young to remember. Having Mom and Dad there to tell the stories made them real to me in a deeper sense. So reflecting on the story of our salvation in the presence of our Blessed Mother can help us relate and can show us that the stories in the Scriptures are not so distant from us. They are our stories. And reflecting on the mysteries brings us close to the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom we share the grace of her Divine Son.
I like to say that one of the great aspects of the rosary is its flexibility. By that I mean that you can pray it in different ways. Some people like to concentrate on the Hail Mary, while others allow the repetition of the prayer to block distractions so they can open their minds to meditate more deeply on each of the mysteries. Some people get more out of praying the rosary in a group, while others (like me) prefer to pray it alone. For one thing, I like to do it at my own pace rather than go at someone else’s speed. And there are quite a few factors that could make me either speed up or slow down. We can pray in church before the Blessed Sacrament, but I like praying while I go for a walk or take a drive. For such a purpose, I prefer to carry a one-decade ring rosary, though I also have my favorite rosaries of the more traditional style. Also, I will occasionally draw upon my seminary training and do one decade in Latin. I know the basic prayers (the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, and the Gloria Patri) in Latin well enough to do it without reading them, but I still need to stop and think about the words, which is the main point in my using Latin. It forces me to remember what I am saying.
Thus the rosary is a prayer that we can use in many different ways. So if you find yourself frightened by a Halloween ghost, grateful at the beauty that God puts into beautiful autumn foliage, or even depressed that the Pirates are not in the World Series, take it as an opportunity to pray the Rosary. Allow Mary to bring us closer to Christ and His saving love.