The Rosary is arguably the most recognizable Catholic devotion. Sadly, it is a devotion that has fallen out of fashion for many Catholics. This is deeply unfortunate, as the Rosary is one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal for spiritual warfare and one of the greatest aids in the pursuit of a fruitful spiritual life.
Among the most common excuses for failing to pray the Rosary one hears are that it’s “boring” or that it takes too much time. What many Catholics aren’t aware of, however, are the benefits – promises from Our Lady herself – associated with its faithful recitation.
A History of the Rosary and How to Pray It
While the specifics are unclear, tradition and the Church hold that Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche sometime in the 13th century to impart the devotion of the Rosary. The monks of the time had already developed the habit of praying the psalter – all 150 Psalms daily recited by memory. Mary gave the Rosary to these two spiritual sons to promote the habit of daily prayer among all the faithful, not just those in the religious life.
Structurally, the Rosary is divided into five decades; a decade is made up of 10 Hail Marys preceded by an Our Father and concluded with a Glory Be. Each of the five decades is associated with a mystery from the life of Christ, and there are three sets of mysteries: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries. An entire Rosary consists of all 15 decades. Fifteen decades of 10 Hail Marys each equals a total of 150 Hail Marys, thus leading the Rosary to be known as “Mary’s Psalter.”
Mary’s Promises for Daily Devotion
The most amazing thing about the Rosary is that Mary made 15 promises to those who recite it daily. These aren’t insignificant promises, but rather enormously helpful graces provided to those who are trying to live a good and faithful Catholic life:
- To all those who shall pray my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and great graces.
- Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my Rosary will receive signal graces.
- The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against Hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin, and dispel heresy.
- The Rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
- Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish.
- Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly, reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God nor will he perish by an unprovided death. The sinner will be converted; the just will persevere in grace and merit eternal life.
- Those truly devoted to my Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
- Those who are faithful to recite my Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces and will share in the merits of the blessed.
- I will deliver promptly from Purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary.
- True children of my Rosary will enjoy great glory in Heaven.
- What you shall ask through my Rosary you shall obtain.
- To those who propagate my Rosary I promise aid in all their necessities.
- I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court.
- Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
- Devotion to my Rosary is a special sign of predestination.
Mary, who is our true spiritual Mother, always desires what is best for us. She who was conceived without sin and sits as the Queen of Heaven and Earth enjoys a will that is in perfect unity with the will of God. What she wants for us is nothing less than what He wants. And He who made us knows precisely what we need to do to do the work He has assigned us, and the surest path home to Him.
These promises of Mary show us how the rosary serves as a spiritual weapon that every soldier for Christ and His Church needs to fight succesfully in the spiritual battle that comprises much of our earthly sojourn. Those who trust in the Rosary and are faithful to Mary through it will have access to many additional graces that those who choose not to pray it won’t. Graces we desperately need to help us make it through the narrow gate that leads to heaven.
Why You Should Pray the Rosary Daily
In addition to the 15 promises that Mary herself gave, I would offer some additional reasons for praying the Rosary daily that are taken from my own personal experience.
Daily recitation of the Rosary will help you get to know your Mother better. By getting to know Mary better, you will in turn get to know Jesus better. When you look at each mystery of the Rosary, you reflect upon different aspects of Jesus’ life through the eyes of His mother. Mothers know and see their children much differently than others do.
Because the Rosary was given to us by Mary, it has great power. There have been many miracles associated with praying the Rosary. Our Lady of Fatima mentioned that the main reason for the loss of souls into the fiery abyss of Hell is that no one is praying for them. When you pray, you can offer up your Rosary for a particular intention, whether it be for the conversion of souls or for an end to abortion. Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary (Pine Bluff) in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, has been leading online groups in 54-Day Rosary Novenas for different intentions. The miracles that I have seen come from that are amazing. For example, on the last day of our 54-Day Rosary Novena for Purity, the Hobby Lobby ruling was issued.
Finally, the battle between Heaven and Hell is real. The Rosary has a special power against evil. Satan hates Mary with all of his might. Through Mary and her Magnificat, her “yes” to God, we have Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have our salvation, if we choose to accept it. Demons know and fear the Rosary. Blessed Pope Pius IX said, “Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” This is how powerful the Rosary is. St. Francis de Sales, the great master of the spiritual life, wrote, “The greatest method of prayer is praying the Rosary.”
And of course, Our Lady of Fatima said, “Pray the Rosary daily.”
The Rosary is one of the most powerful weapons that we have against Satan and his minions. It will help to ward off temptations. Prayed together with the family, it will create a locus of stability and peace in the home. There are also a number of indulgences attached to the Rosary, which can bring about the remission of temporal punishment due to us even if we die in a state of grace. If there is any reason why the Rosary is not recited as often today as it was in the past, you can be certain that Satan himself is behind it.
The inconvenience of praying the Rosary daily, which can seem at first tedious or burdensome, grows lighter with every recitation. Let us equip ourselves for battle. Make a commitment to pray the Rosary every day – and keep it.
Originally published on August 2, 2014.