Praying the rosary has been a powerful experience of prayer for me on this Camino. In the dark, cold morning as I hit the trail, I make the sign of the cross and start praying the rosary. The five joyful mysteries start my immersion in the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. And the mysteries of JOY, LIGHT, SORROW and GLORY, and all the Hail Mary’s, create a beautiful blanket of prayer that surrounds me as I walk. So many of your names, families, petitions and hopes surface, giving color and texture to this Spiritual blanket.
I don’t use the rosary beads because both hands are grasping the hiking poles, without which I could not make this journey. And so, I just keep repeating the Hail Mary’s, creating a mantra that slowly opens my heart to the mercy of Christ’s love for us. Learn the rosary as one way of praying amidst of many other forms and methods. What’s wonderful about the rosary is you don’t need a book, nor do you need any training or formation. You learn it by doing it. And their is NO correct way to pray the rosary, all you need is to memorize the Our Father and Hail Mary. If you can’t remember the mysteries, no problem…Mary doesn’t care, and most certainly, Christ doesn’t either. Just think of a moment in Christ’s life and pray over that event or “mystery.”
I have expanded the Sorrowful mysteries to include Jesus standing before Pílate; Jesus in front of the crowds as He hears the name “barrabas” being shouted; Jesus waiting alone in the “holding room” before he receives the cross. These have enriched my prayer of the rosary. Most often, I don’t think about any particular mystery, I simply keep repeating the words as a mantra that allows God to inspire me in ways known only to God.