"The purpose of the Rosary is to help keep in memory certain principal events or mysteries in the history of our salvation, and to thank and praise God for them." From The Rosary-Center.Org
This is a quote from one of the sites that first helped me learn how to pray the Rosary (back when I was still a Protestant). As I have since been praying the Rosary on & off for nearly 2 years now, I can agree that the prayer makes it easier to remember key events of salvation history & also provides ample opportunity for thanksgiving & praise. However, its much more than this.
The Rosary isn't some dusty, old, stagnant prayer our grandmothers prayed. Its not just a rote prayer you pray in part on certain days of the week. Its not reserved for a horrible penance (as a monotonous, droning heap of "Our Fathers, Hail Marys & Glory Bes"). Its a full on story. But its not just about something that happened over 2,000 years ago. Its about what's happening now, in my life & those around me. Its global. Current. Cutting edge. How so? The "mysteries" as they're called, have already been written. Sure, Pope John Paul II wrote some new ones in the 90's (the Luminous Mysteries), but the story remains the same...
My point is this: the Lord God said He "was & is & is to come" (Rev. 1:8). What would happen if we were able to see the Rosary the same way? What if we were able to see it as we see the word of God, "living & active"? When you think about it, the Rosary is actually His word, His story, told to us through the heart of Mary. The majority of the mysteries (save 2) come directly from scripture and while the mysteries are written in a past tense, if we pray the Rosary, we will find them to be surprisingly applicable to our present tension & beyond.
The key is to insert ourselves into the story. For instance, how might the 1st Joyful mystery (the Annunciation) apply to me today? I may look at this mystery & marvel at how God stepped into Mary's ordinary world out of the blue & changed her life forever. I might pray to be on the lookout for His presence & for the faith & obedience to say "Yes" like Mary did. Or I might be confused or afraid about something, but I can choose to seize the opportunity to trust that God will be faithful to protect me & help me work out the details, just as He did for Mary. The Annunciation (& all of the mysteries) are just as much mine as they were Mary's or Jesus'. And just as life typically doesn't remain stagnant from day to day, so it goes with the story of the Rosary.