The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, is celebrated on the 7 October. This feast is an opportunity to reflect on the Rosary as a prayer.
The Rosary is a way of praying that some people find helpful and others do not. Our tradition gives us many options and we need to find what suits us in that rich tradition of prayer.
The Rosary can be a kind of mantra. A mantra is a repeated prayer which you let go on inside you in an almost automatic fashion. In the eastern Church people use a simple phrase which they keep repeating without putting great effort into it. They use phrases like: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me”.
The Rosary is by its nature a repetitive prayer. It is a prayer which occupies our hands moving across the beads. It is a prayer which uses the same words almost all the time so that our minds and hearts don’t have to be bothered with concentrating on them.
Occupying hands and the words of the mouth can leave our spirit free to be open to God in prayer. So we do not have to put effort into saying the words or into thinking too much about the various mysteries of the decades of the Rosary. Just let the words and the decades flow on and let your mind rest on what strikes you. Be receptive, be open to what might come to you. Over-effort in prayer is counterproductive.
So the Rosary can be a way into prayer, a way of relaxing in prayer. It can in this way it acts as a mantra. Prayer is more a matter of our opening up to God, or of our making space for God than the result of our efforts.There will of course be distractions, there are always distractions in prayer. Don’t over concentrate on them- set them aside quietly.
Distractions are a bother to us but not to God.