Grab yer beads & get on yer knees, people! We're goin' to the Rosary Races!
Lately, I've been devoting some time to learn how to pray the Rosary. I must admit, I do like the way the beads feel in my hands. But I see the whole thing as sort of an experiment at the moment. The Rosary supposedly brings peace & a greater depth of fellowship with Christ & Mary (among other things), so I say, "prove it".
The Rosary is aired multiple times a day on the local Catholic radio station & I'm usually able to catch it on my way home from work. I've found in many recordings of the Rosary prayer (& some other common Catholic prayers as well) that people jump in & recite the words like they're in a race. The prayers are said in unison or in a call & response type format, but the timing is a little spastic. For the individual trying to pray along, its hard to keep up! Breathing actually becomes an issue. I don't understand how one can find this format meditative. That's what the Rosary is, afterall... a meditation on the life of Jesus & occasionally, Mary.
At this point, I'm still not sure why "Hail Mary full of grace... etc." is recited 10 times. Perhaps my latent Protestant skepticism concerning Mary hinders me. Maybe its the recall that Jesus said not to pray with vain repetitions like the heathens do... When I hear Catholics racing through their prayers, I'm in awe. If one doesn't contemplate the meaning & audience of their prayer, what's the point? You may as well be talking to yourself. When I pray a (specifically Catholic) prayer on my own, I try to think about what I'm actually saying & who I'm actually talking to. As I repeat words like "Our Father or Hail Mary", I'm looking for something new each time. If it begins to become monotonous or rote, I pause & direct my attention back to Jesus & Mary & the "mystery" at hand. It can be meaningful, but only if I slow down & take my time. So it is with many things in life.