Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. These words were said over and over by my cousins family this past Advent. She and her husband and their four sons gathered each day to pray the Rosary together as they awaited the coming of the Son of God at Christmas. As they prayed the Rosary and meditated on the mysteries, they embarked on a journey experienced by families for the past few hundreds years a journey that ultimately led to great peace, joy, and love.
A Tradition for Families
The Rosary prayed in common is part of the tradition of the life of the Church, especially the little Church the family. The riches of this prayer have been passed down for centuries through the family. It was not uncommon for families to gather together, sometimes every night, to say the Rosary. Not only with its repetitiously soothing words did the children calm down, but it also united the members of the family in a beautiful way. The Rosary brought together husband and wife, father and son, mother and daughter, and it gave them a chance to join together in a bond that surpassed any fights or discrepancies they may have had. Mary, the Queen of Families, brought together broken homes and aided strong families so that both could grow in holiness, wisdom, and charity. And, she continues to do so to this today.
The Moonlit Path
With each and every Hail Mary, we are better instructed how to love God and to imitate the Blessed Mother as we follow her journey with her Son. It is like taking a leisurely walk on a cool, moonlit summers evening when theres not a care in the world. Walking down this path, it is the Blessed Mother who reflects the light from the Son and so leads us on the path to our eternal home; all the while, we are filled with peace. On this journey, we take breaks to soak in the beauty of the nights sky, and thus we are better able to understand the mysteries of Christs life reflecting at each stopping point on just how important each part of His life really is. Even in the midst of a hectic world, we can actually find peace in the darkness of the nights sky knowing that it is the Blessed Mother who guides us safely on the path lighting each and every step for us as we pray each and every Hail Mary.
This path is the one that I found my cousins family taking when I visited this past Christmas. In visiting them, I noticed an extraordinary love for God and for each other. My four nephews were well-behaved. They obeyed their parents. And, they actually paid attention at daily Mass. Moreover, my cousin and her husband have a beautiful marriage. With their patience, their hospitality, and their love for each other and their children, they gave a witness to what the sacrament of marriage is all about. This is what happens when the Blessed Mother is brought in to teach the family about the virtues.
A Culture of Life and Peace
Bringing back the family Rosary would not only help the individual families, it would also greatly aid the restoration of the family in society. When a culture is built by strong families with members that really desire charity and unity, that culture will surely find its way back to being healthy. A resurgence of the importance of all life, from the unborn to the elderly, will naturally occur. Through this little catechism, as people meditate on the importance of the unborn during the mystery of the Visitation and the importance of suffering during the Sorrowful Mysteries, it will only become normal that we will appreciate human life in all its stages and conditions. The Rosary is a powerful tool in truly establishing a culture of life and a civilization of love. Can we imagine a culture that was built on the humility of the Annunciation, the charity of the Visitation, and the hope of the Ascension?
So why arent more families praying the Rosary together? It might be hard for a family to go to daily Mass together, and many families might not yet know how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. But, the Rosary families know how to say the Rosary. Its easy to learn, its easy to pray, and it doesnt take much time. Especially in an age where it seems we never have enough time to add anything to our schedules, it is amazing to note that when we give God our time, He gives it back to us tenfold. He turns the hectic day into one filled with peace. All it takes is starting with one night a week. A family could have dinner together on Sunday night and gather afterward to pray the Rosary. Moreover, in seasons like Advent and Lent, its a great practice to bring families together to prepare for the great mysteries of the Nativity and the Triduum. The benefits would be tremendous, and it would only be a matter of time before peace reigned within the walls of the home.
The family Rosary has helped countless families throughout the centuries. It has helped them grow in holiness, charity, and unity. By following the Blessed Mother on the path to her Son, families have raised up great saints who have changed the world. And, this still happens today. Last Advent, my cousin said, We have started our Advent devotions and Rosary with the boys this year (first time), and it has been such a blessed experience! After seeing the love in her family at Christmas, I can truly see that it must have been a blessed experience. The family Rosary what a blessing indeed!