In January of this year, I wrote about The Rosary Revival and in that post, I said this –
“In ‘Marialis Cultus’, Pope Paul gives a hint as to the reasons why the praying of the Rosary was falling to the side –
‘In our time, the changes that have occurred in social behaviour, people’s sensibilities, manners of expression in art and letters and in the forms of social communication have also influenced the manifestations of religious sentiment. Certain practices of piety that not long ago seemed suitable for expressing the religious sentiment of individuals and of Christian communities seem today inadequate or unsuitable because they are linked with social and cultural patterns of the past.’
Put another way, the Rosary was seen as in some way being old fashioned.”
For a variety of different reasons, over the last few decades the Rosary had fallen out of use with many; even ten years ago, it was possible that the only people you would be likely to see praying the Rosary in Church would be elderly ladies.
And then, the pendulum began to swing in the opposite direction.
That original post was making the point that there is something of a resurgence happening in the praying of the Rosary, but I was making that point at a general level. Now, in this post, I am taking that original point and going one step further.
I am seeing something else beginning to take shape – a resurgence of the Rosary amongst men.
My most recent experience of this – but certainly not the only one – was at Mass yesterday morning in a neighbouring parish, St Columbkille’s in Rutherglen. It is a beautiful and prayerful Church, which maintains a strong sense of reverence for the One who resides there awaiting us. Long before the Mass began, there were several other men praying in the Church and I noticed a curious fact; every single one of them was praying the Rosary. This was such a beautiful sight to see.
Another example was the at the time of the death of my aunt, some months ago. At the Rosary in the house each evening, we stood around the coffin, men and women together. On this particular occasion, all the men present pulled Rosaries from their respective pockets. While this might not sound unusual, it represented a real change and I was quite aware of it, and thankful for it. You see, on similar occasions in the past, the women would generally have a Rosary in their bag, while the men would not be carrying one. Although they took part in the prayers, they were without the beads. This was a pity for two reasons – firstly, because the actual Rosary itself is a Sacramental of the Church and to carry one means always to have something blessed with us; the second reason is that without visible reminders to pray, we are more likely to forget to do so and we are, therefore, more likely to get out of the habit of praying.
I have also noticed that there are at least two online groups which are specifically dedicated to encouraging men to take up their beads once more and to pray the Rosary; one of these groups has even published a book on the subject of men and the Rosary. I have also seen a few interviews featuring men speaking about their experience of the Rosary and – in particular – the ways in which they came back to this form of prayer.
So here are my suggestions for any man reading this post.
If you do not already have one, get yourself a Rosary. It makes no difference at all what it is made of or what it looks like, so long as it is usable for prayer.
Now, get it blessed by a Catholic Priest. If you have forgotten how to pray the Rosary, ask that same Catholic Priest to help you, or there are plenty of sites online giving the information you need.
Once you have done that, carry it with you always and never leave home without it – make putting it in your pocket as much of a habit as checking you have your house keys.
Finally, and most importantly of all – go somewhere quiet (any Catholic Church is the perfect place, but prayer is good regardless of the location) and actually PRAY THE ROSARY.
But be warned – it is at this point that the evil one will start his campaign to persuade you to put the beads down and stop; he knows perfectly well just how powerful the Rosary is. Persevere; do not give in or give up. Get into the habit of praying the Rosary regularly – preferably, every single day.
And if you do all this, you will be a happy man, and you will be following in the footsteps of the greatest Saints in the history of the Church. Who knows, one day you may even become one of them.