The Holy Rosary has been a major influence in Roman Catholic thought for over 500 years while paving the way for a greater understanding of the mystery of Christ celebrated within family prayer.
The Rosary is the tradition-distilled essence of Christian devotion in which vocal and mental prayer unite the whole person in effective and purposeful meditation on the central mysteries of Christian belief. The Rosary thus joins the human race to God through Mary whom God chose from all time for the specific purposes of mother and intercessor.
The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. According to an account by fifteenth-century Dominican, Alan de la Roch, Mary appeared to St. Dominic in 1206 after he had been praying and doing severe penances because of his lack of success in combating the Albigensian heresy. Mary praised him for his valiant fight against the heretics and then gave him the Rosary as a mighty weapon, explained its uses and efficacy, and told him to preach it to others.
The Rosary is Christocentric setting forth the entire life of Jesus Christ, the passion, death, resurrection and glory. When reciting the Rosary, the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived. The various steps of Christ's mission are traced. Of course, the Rosary honors and contemplates Mary too, and rightly so, for the same reason that the Liturgical Year does likewise: "Because of the mission she received from God, her life is most closely linked with the mysteries of Jesus Christ, and there is no one who has followed in the footsteps of the Incarnate Word more closely and with more merit than she"142 (Mediator Dei). Meditation on this cycle of Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous Mysteries makes the Rosary not only "summary of the Gospel and of Christian life."
Our Holy Father is highlighting the importance and the significance of what he calls this "simple yet profound" form of prayer for all the world. We believe, as the Holy Father does that the Rosary is an important form of prayer for individuals, for families, for communities, for the world.
Despite all the additions and changes, the important core of the rosary has always remained the same. It is a way for God’s people to make holy the day, and to remember the life of Jesus and his mother. May these humble origins always be with us each time we pray the rosary.
“The Rosary is a prayer that always accompanies me; it is also the prayer of the ordinary people and the saints ... and a prayer from my heart.” - Pope Francis
As a prayer for peace, the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family. At one time this prayer was particularly dear to Christian families, and it certainly brought them closer together. It is important not to lose this precious inheritance. We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families...
The family that prays together stays together. The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God. (Rosarium Virginis Mariae Para 41)