My friend is urging me to say the Rosary but I find it very difficult to concentrate. Aren’t these devotions optional? Should I persevere with it?
It is true that outside the sacred Liturgy, we are left free to pray in different ways. However the Rosary does have the recommendation of Our Lady herself at Lourdes, Fatima and on many other occasions, and has been encouraged by the saints and most of the Popes of the past 500 years. Therefore I would encourage you to persevere.
The Rosary combines both vocal and mental prayer. At times, we might focus on the words of the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be, repeated lovingly as to a dear friend. We are also invited to ponder the great events of Our Lord’s life, death and resurrection, raising our minds and hearts to God in praise and thanksgiving, and drawing new resolve for our Christian lives. Both the vocal prayers and the mysteries on which we meditate, draw us directly to Christ. Our Lady does not ask for attention for her own sake but for the sake of her Son. In any kind of prayer we are prone to distractions. The Rosary can make these more obvious, leading us to try (though always in tranquillity of soul) to resist them, to bring our cares to Jesus, and to turn our attention gently away from ourselves and back to Him.
In 1959, Blessed John XXIII wrote an encyclical letter (Grata Recordatio) to the Bishops of the world. He began by speaking of the Rosary, and in the context of this call to prayer, spoke of his hope for the future, his prayer for rulers, and the danger of secularism and materialism. He closed by asking the Bishops of the world to recite the Rosary during October with particular devotion and to ask Our Lady to pray that the “forthcoming Ecumenical Council” would add “wondrous growth to the universal Church.” On the 50th anniversary of the Council, we could recall this intention of Blessed John XXIII, and ask that the Church might experience such a wondrous growth. [Note: this column was first published in 2012]
Catholic Dilemmas column published in the Catholic Herald
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Tuesday, 3 February 2015
People travel to visit Margate, but not usually over a distance of 9,000 miles. To be fair, Fr Michael Rowe has been in Europe for other reasons, notably the international conference in Rome of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy which I was so sorry to miss in January. Nevertheless, he took the train down from St Pancras today to visit one of the oldest missions in the Archdiocese of Southwark and it was great to catch up on news from Australia and many friends there.
I was mortified to discover, after hearing confessions in the school, that it was actually snowing when I went down to the town centre to meet him. I thought that a good lunch was in order after such a journey and we were well looked after by the excellent bastion of good honest British restaurant tradition, Bentley's Lounge and Grill, at the bottom of the High Street.
Father Rowe is Rector of the Traditional Latin Mass Centre at St Anne's in Belmont. I promised to post a photo for his people as he told me that some are kind enough to read this blog. Greetings from Margate! Father is standing in our beautiful Lady Chapel at St Austin and St Gregory, designed by Edward Pugin, the son of Augustus Welby Pugin.
Sunday, 1 February 2015
For young adults in Scotland (aged 16-25), the Faith Movement offers a series of Thursday evening talks on the theme of "Friendship with Christ."
These talks take place at 7.30pm in Turnbull Hall, University of Glasgow Chaplaincy, 13 –15
Southpark Terrace, Glasgow, G12 8LG and are followed by refreshments and Night Prayer. The nearest subway is at Hillhead or Kelvinbridge.
‘Seek the things that are above’ (Col 3:1) – Prayer at the Centre of our lives
Fr Stephen Brown
‘Lord, Teach us how to pray’ (Lk 11:1) – The Our Father
Fr Michael Kane
‘Things both Old and New’ (Mt 13:52) – Finding Christ in Scripture
Canon Luiz Ruscillo
‘The seed that fell on good soil’ (Mt 13:8) – Christ and Culture
‘Planted in Love & Built on Love’ (Eph 3:17) – The Family: school of prayer
The Faith Movement is running a series of talks on The Church and other beliefs. They offer a great opportunity to deepen our faith and to connect with other Catholics. The talks are folllowed by wine and pizza. All are welcome.
Talks take place on alternate Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm in the Crypt of Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church (entrance via basement steps to 24 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JR).Nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus.
The list of talks remaining in the series is as follows:
Tuesday 10th February
Are all religions equally valid?
Tuesday 24th February
Can I love Christ but not the Church?
Sr Andrea Fraile
Tuesday 10th March
The cosmic meaning of the Eucharist
Fr Roger Nesbitt
Tuesday 24th March
Should the Church impose lifestyle choices?