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:: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 ::
"One From the Vault" Dept.; (Dialogue with Fr. Thomas Carleton on the Rosary and Private Prayer)
The following text was completed in October of 2005 but for reasons I cannot recall at the moment was not published. Anyway, since nothing has been posted to this weblog in a while, it seems appropriate to tweak the thread and post it now since the subject involved (prayer and how to pray) is hardly one that will be obsolete anytime soon. (The subject referred to in the posting was a then-recent guest editorial on the rosary and private prayer which was written by Fr. Thomas Carleton and formatted/posted to this weblog by yours truly.)
On the subject of the rosary and private prayer, I advanced the following question to Fr. Thomas Carleton[.] in the message boxes below. As I think the advice he offers could get lost in the comments box shuffle, I want to transpose it to the main weblog; ergo the purpose of this posting.
Do you have a particular recommendation viz. praying the rosary in one sitting vs. praying a decade here and there throughout the day??? And to what extent should we use addon prayers???
I ask because generally when I pray the rosary, I tend to add on the decade prayer, the Hail Holy Queen, a prayer to St. Joseph, the Prayer of St. Michael, etc. Do you think that is wise or should it be built up to if you will (the decade prayer excluded of course since it is so short and does not add really to the time factor in reciting the rosary)???
Father responded to my questions in the following manner:
Naturally the important thing is that we are trying to pray, trying to listen to God, trying to speak to God, trying to follow Our Blessed Lord's wishes:
"And (Jesus) spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint".
If you have a way that fits your situation, I would not want to argue with it.
I believe that the Pope's Letter is basically saying the same thing, offering various ideas that each may feel free to utilize or not.
Since the Rosary is often used in group prayer, obviously there must be a somewhat standardized form, but even here various communities and families have differing customs.
Not every time I say the Rosary, do I feel that I did it well.
When you nail down the daily habit, that always gives you the opportunity to do better tomorrow. The supernatural origin of the Rosary seems to be generally accepted by traditional Catholic spiritual writers and that on a number of different grounds: Lourdes, Fatima, Saint Dominic, the many miracles granted in reply to the Rosary etc. etc.
Our Blessed Mother's request that we "Say the Rosary every day" repeated at each of the 5 apparitions, leads me to believe that its particular form best conforms to the needs of man's prayer life.
It has more or less a set amount of time: anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. None of us feel that we "pray always" or as much as we should, but it is comforting to be able to say to ourselves: I did follow my heavenly Mother's wishes which must, in some sense, imply an acceptable amount of specific daily prayer. Likewise we know that not only explicit vocal prayer is needed, so is meditation. For most people not practiced in meditation, that would be difficult without the Rosary's form of "Aves" that can fade into a type of background music the more our meditation takes off and can support the pray the more our meditation faints away, or stumbles.
The decade prayer is in fairly common use. The Hail Holy Queen at the end of the 5 decades is standard (although in Italy, they are more apt to add the Litany, at least when it is said in Churches before the daily Mass -which it almost everywhere is and lead usually by the Pastor! - practice what you preach!).
I myself add after that the Saint Michael prayer. I do believe that there is always the danger of "mission creep", the tendency of holy people to keep adding on, sometimes with the danger that average people may at some point throw the whole thing up - so that is a distinct danger that we have to guard against. It would obviously be counter-productive.
Pray is very necessary. Like the apostles we must learn how to do it. It is, as studies on meditative prayer now show, very helpful to our mental health as well as it's primary purpose, our spiritual health. Twenty minutes a day to withdraw into our heart to be with God is not a beyond anyone, and maybe the best eternal and temporal investment one ever makes.
I notice a very thoughtful and well researched piece there on the words of Consecration. Let me take this opportunity to "enter into the record" what I passed on about that for the benefit of many troubled by the new Mass. How this fits into what your new inquisitor has come up with, I'll let others work on...
At that point, Father wanted to point Keith to a piece he did on Pro Multis. As that piece was posted in guest editorial form at Rerum Novarum over two years ago, I will note the link here for the benefit of Keith and the others.
Oh, and thankyou for the response to my question Father. I am trying to recultivate a pattern here and your advice will be helpful in that area.
:: Shawn 5:54 PM [+] | ::