The Rosary: A House of Prayer
The Rosary is an invitation to prayer. There are, of course, set prayers but these are the foundation on which to build a house to dwell in. Over the years, we’ve come across a number of ways to build up our Rosary house.
A good way to begin is to use the Our Father prayer as the door. When the mystery is announced, there should be a short pause to call this mystery to mind and connect it to the Our Father. Some mysteries are easy to connect to a petition of the Our Father. The Nativity, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, The Crowning with Thorns and The Coronation all connect well with “Thy Kingdom come”. What kind of kingdom will it be? It’s for the weak (Nativity), it’s brought about through hearing the word of God (Proclamation) and through sacrifice (Crowning) and ultimately it’s everlasting life (Coronation).
The Annunciation, The Baptism, The Agony in the Garden and The Resurrection all make me think of the words “Our Father”. Jesus takes our flesh, our Baptism makes us children of God, children should do the will of their Father and the Resurrection opens up our heavenly home.
Here are a few other connections:
Who art in Heaven (Presentation, Finding, Transfiguration, Ascension)
Hallowed be thy name (Visitation, Crucifixion, Baptism, Resurrection)
Thy will be done (Annunciation, Presentation, Descent of the Holy Spirit, Agony)
Give us this day (Carrying the Cross, Wedding, Eucharist)
Forgive us (Carrying the Cross, Crucifixion, Wedding, Transfiguration)
Lead us not into temptation (Carrying the Cross, Assumption, Visitation)
But deliver us from evil (Scourging, Visitation, Ascension, Eucharist)
This last petition is a favorite of mine because I like to think of Jesus placing a hook in my heart which will draw me to him and away from evil.
Now that the decade has been opened, how can the family enter together into this prayer? This is where building on the foundation of the prayers can become very specific and meaningful to each family or group.
Our family has quite a number of Rosary houses that we like to build. Our favorite one is Bible verses. We don’t use the obvious verses. We take a section of the Bible from a Gospel, a Letter, the Psalms or the Prophets. The chosen reader proclaims a verse before each Hail Mary. These unexpected verses can really open up a rich stream of meditation. Sometimes we take turn saying verses from memory. “Cheating” (having an open Bible) is permitted.
We also like to choose a theme and take turns announcing intentions before each “Hail Mary”. Some popular themes have been: Thanksgiving, sick people, Countries, Bishops/Priests, those who have died, and groups in trouble (i.e. prisoners, homeless people, refugees etc.). You can relate the intention back to the mystery so that it all comes together into a beautiful shelter of prayer for your family and all those you have brought into your hearts through your intercession.
These I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.
Thus says the Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered. (Isaiah 56:7-8)