As the clock struck a new hour I could hear my great-grandmother’s voice whispering, “Remember to say, ‘I love you sweet Jesus,’ every time you hear chimes welcome another hour of the day.” It was little practices like these that taught me as a young child how subtle prayer can grow into something powerful.My great-grandmother, Grandma Lo, was without a doubt a prayer warrior, and the Rosary was her strongest weapon. I rarely saw her without Rosary beads clutched in her hand or bulging in her left pocket. Even though I full-heartedly trusted this strong, faith-driven woman who snuck one-dollar bills under my siblings and my dinner plates, I still had a difficult time understanding the joy of repeating a set of ten Hail Mary’s five times and reflecting on stories you only sort of understand.
Wasn’t it boring to chant the same prayers over and over again? I didn’t see, or possibly couldn’t comprehend, the power of the Rosary. I simply wanted to get through it.
When I was older, I was introduced to the idea that repetition is meant to emphasize the profoundness of words. That is, we repeat the same prayers or mantras to stress their greatness. Slowly, I began appreciating the complexity of this meditative prayer and realized my Grandma Lo had great reason to clutch tightly to her Rosary beads.
In Father Phalen’s book Living the Rosary, he compares this idea to telling your parents, siblings, significant other, and children that you love them. You don’t tell these dear ones, “I love you,” just once in a while. No! They need to hear it often because life is constantly moving, changing, and growing. They know you’ll always love them, but they need to be reminded of the great words.
It’s the exact same thing with the Rosary. To truly understand the depth of what we’re saying, who we’re praying to, and why we’re praying. We repeat and repeat and repeat. And slowly you create a space of meditative prayer. With every bead, every Hail Mary, you fall into a deeper connection— a deeper conversation with Jesus through Mary.
I know now that the Rosary is so much more than a chain of 59 beads, a Marian medal and a crucifix. It’s more than monotonously repeating the Our Father, ten Hail Mary’s, and a Glory Be. The Rosary will deepen your faith. It will lift you up beyond the stars to rejoice with you. And it will gently comfort you on your darkest days. It will enhance your relationship with God and set your prayer life on fire.
The Rosary, as my curly-haired soft-spoken great-grandmother knew all along, is powerful.