The Secret of the Rosary
When my dear friend and editor, Mary O’Regan, asked me to contribute a guest post on the subject of the Rosary, the first thing that came to mind was the old line that, “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” What I wish I could say about the Rosary seems so often to be beyond language.
Many disciples of Jesus Christ much more advanced than me have had their comment on this great prayer of the Church, but I have found them all wanting.
Take one for example: Saint Louis de Montfort, a glorious writer on our Blessed Mother. His True Devotion to Mary is for me a transcendent and exhilarating read. So, after having experienced my own startling encounter with the Rosary, I was very much looking forward to reading Saint de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary to find out why the Rosary was so powerful.
Unfortunately I tried several times but could not get through it. There it sits, The Secret of the Rosary does, silently mocking me for my lack of diligence. And such has been the case with each book I have tried to read about the Rosary. Nothing can live up to or fully explain what actually happened in my interior and exterior life when first I began to pray this powerful and mysterious prayer.
I think the difficulty I have is this: the true secret of the Rosary is revealed to each individual soul by (brace yourselves) actually praying the Rosary. And I do not mean to suggest that this great prayer is in any way gnostic, or that it will provide through some obscure manner a specialized knowledge available only to in-the-know practitioners. No, the Mother of God, given to us so pointedly by God the Son at the Cross, will do what she has always done since the time she was first asked by the hapless figures at the wedding in Cana to intercede about the wine situation. She will direct a soul to her Divine Son, and instruct the soul to do whatever He says.
And in the mysterious scope of God’s economy, such instruction may come by way of signal graces, just one of the many promises made to those who pray the Rosary. How lovely it is to see the few steps ahead lit with the warm glow of an amber light, even though the rest of the landscape so often remains covered in a grey mist.
In my account of conversion, Drunks & Monks, I tried my best to follow the cardinal rule of good literary fiction and memoir: to show the reader and not merely tell about the dramatic experience of what the Rosary is for me. Yet the two most difficult things for me to write about as they pertain to the Catholic Faith are the Rosary and the Eucharist, both of which seem to hover well above the limitations of human language, and represent a true bridge to the supernatural life of grace in the soul.
When first I ventured to pray it, a humble and holy soul from my choir thrust into my hands a fresh copy of The 54 Day Novena Booklet and a little plastic rosary, and bid me pray this grand prayer every day for 54 days. I had no understanding of its history, no knowledge of the promises made to those devoted to the Rosary, no real faith that anything at all would happen.
The spiritually dynamic events that followed included a general confession, deliverance from evil, readmission to the Sacraments and a deep and deepening faith.
There was a vast chasm that separated my young witness to a devout Irish grandmother who had a daily devotion to the Rosary and my own visceral experience of praying the Rosary. I found I cannot borrow my grandmother’s life of prayer, nor can I rely on de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary.
Instead, I saw what now seems obvious: that I must bend my own knees and finger my own beads and dare to venture into the deep meditation on the life and mysteries of Christ for myself. It is only then that I begin to truly discover The Secret of the Rosary.
Many Thanks, dear John for writing this beautiful meditation
on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.
John's masterpiece, Drunks and Monks is available on Amazon, it chronicles John's seven year descent into darkness and brushes with death before embracing renewal through discovery of the means for our salvation. John's physical, psychological and soul-survival are aided by the many denizens of the great swath of Southern California who come alive in the book, but none so well as members of a monastery who help heal the author's spirit and teach him timeless truths.
|John Carmichael's Drunks and Monks|