Ireland’s Loyalty to Mary
For centuries the prayer of the Rosary has been an anchor in keeping the Catholic faith alive in Ireland. This reality is highlighted in a book recently rediscovered and reprinted by James Mahon; Ireland’s Loyalty to Mary by Capuchin Priest, Fr. Augustine. The Family Rosary in particular says Fr. Augustine, was the practice that “charged with supernatural strength the souls of the Irish people of bygone times, enabling them to conquer the heretical enemy when the priest was banished and the Mass proscribed. It was the Family Rosary that then linked them together as with hoops of steel, keeping the land safe for God and Mary.”
At this time, while the Coronavirus is causing great distress to many of our land, we would do well to listen to the words of Father Augustine once more who says that “no matter how the wind may blow or the storm rage, it can and will do it again, if each one of us, inspired by the memories of the past and warned by the menaces of the present, here and now make a firm resolution to be always loyal to the Mother of God in the daily practice of the Rosary.”
How to Pray the Rosary
The Rosary was our ancestors spiritual weapon of choice and I have no doubt that as they look on from heaven they are urging us once more to take up this great and powerful prayer.
1. The first thing to do, is to dig out the old rosary beads which have been lying dormant in that old, dusty box under your bed. Or perhaps you’ll need to ask a family member if they have a pair of rosary beads. I’m sure, if you cannot find them at home, you could order a pair online? Or perhaps you could get creative and make a pair? If none of the above work, that’s OK, you can count on your hand! God gave us ten fingers for a reason
2. I was going to write out an explanation of how to pray the rosary however…. Busted Halo have created an excellent video on how to pray the rosary in 2 minute. Click here to see how!
3. Create time and space. How you ever felt welcome and comfortable in a person’s home? Often, two basic things create a welcome atmosphere: Time and Space. Carve out time for God in your day and create a space for prayer in your house. This can be as simple as choosing the right chair, lighting a candle or coming before a holy image.
4. It is often recommended that you offer each decade of the Rosary for a specific intention. It could be for anything happening in the world, the Church, your local community, family, friends or your own personal intentions.
Praying in community
I would like to offer a suggestion for praying the rosary with those you are living with during the lockdown; or you could try this over Zoom or Skype? It’s a creative way to connect with each other and to tune in to how God is speaking through your Catholic brothers and sisters. It can also help us to tune in to what God is asking us to pray for.
It is quite simply to share on your experience of prayer after each decade of the Rosary. I would encourage this sharing to be real and also for it not to take over the prayer. You might simply share, “to be honest I was very distracted during that mystery!” or “I was imagining Jesus appearing to the disciples after the resurrection and I was struck by how amazed the disciples must have been to see Jesus risen from the dead!” It may also be that you experience things like joy, peace or even sadness. “I felt sad during that decade because of how I imagined the guards treating Jesus so badly,” or “I felt peaceful during that decade, my mind was pretty still but I felt peace in my heart.”
The exercise helps us to pay attention to both our mind and our heart, our thoughts and our feelings, or more precisely, the interior movements in our souls. It also helps us to get to know each other and can help us to tune into God. I would recommend that one person lead this prayer and discern after each sharing a common theme and an intention for the next decade.
-Written by Gerard Hanley