Please don’t think me rude, but, I often wonder why groups of people get together to chunner out the Rosary in a quasi Liturgical way ? Rules are so important. Not just the right prayer on the correct bead, but, whether or not to include the Fatima prayer, the alternate ‘cantoring’ of the first half of each prayer and of course saying the correct mysteries on the proper day. Who could ever pray the glorious Mysteries on a Friday ?
To my mind the mysteries are central to the Rosary. They are a like reading a passage of scripture or holding a dogma in your heart. We think carefully about the mystery, using our imagination and inspired by the Holy Spirit are led into a prayerful restfulness with a still mind, “at rest as a child in it’s mother’s arms . . . . .”
This sounds very much like the Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina, formalised by the 12th century carthusian monk Guigo II. St John of the Cross taught Guigo’s method of prayer. A passage of scripture is read, meditated upon leading to prayer and contemplation. Lectio-Meditatio-oratio- Contemplatio. Some maintain this strict order, whilst others suggest a weaving between the elements should not be considered second rate lectio.Contemplative prayer has only recently been rediscovered by the wider church, having been considered the preserve of mystics or cast aside in favour of popular devotions arising from the Counter Reformation.
As a child I read the stories of Lourdes and Fatima where we were asked to pray the Rosary in response to Mary’s request. I don’t think I understood it then, but now I wonder has Mary been calling us back to renewal of the contemplative tradition and wisdom that had been so buried and neglected in the triumphalism of the Counter reformation and the fog of the enlightenment?
What journeys into the mystery of God will be 'present' next time I come across a group ‘chunnering’ the Rosary.