How do we Prepare for Prayer? (from the Secret of the Rosary Retreat)
Praying the Rosary….God has attached to it grace in this life, and glory in the next. (St. Louis de Montfort SR 1)
At a recent Secret of the Rosary Retreat Day, held in Alabama during October 2017, Fr. Hugh Gillespie, SMM, teaches us that many Catholics do not prepare for prayer as they should. It is a discipline that has been misplaced over the last century or so and is not given enough attention in people’s spiritual lives. As Fr. Hugh mentions, the mechanics of the Rosary is not the focus of today’s discussion. It is important to attend to the quality and the character of our prayer. In today’s day of age, we Catholics attend to this far too little in terms of prayer having the power to help shape one’s spiritual life. To do it well, one must prepare. In this audio conference, Fr. Hugh discusses Preparation for Prayer by addressing several key Spiritual Insights.
Because this discussion is unique since several questions are included within the discussion, the approximate start/end times within the audio are listed for each topic. Feel free to replay the audio and listen to a specific component of this Spiritual Insight.
• (4:20 to 12:00) Where does the Rosary fit in? Where does the Rosary fit into my Spiritual Life?
• Do I have a dedicated time to say the Rosary, or do I just “fit it in”. Fr. Hugh is not talking about spontaneously saying the Rosary. People that are serious about using the Rosary in their lives, recognize that it is a significant tool for spiritual development. Many times people who say the Rosary daily fall into the trap of fitting the Rosary in to their schedules. While not horrible, it limits the ability to truly profit from praying the Rosary and sells the Rosary and their Spiritual Lives short. Saying the Rosary can shape one’s spiritual life and also allows us to focus on the face of Christ and his mysteries. But it can only do so if we are serious and spend the time to say the Rosary, not in a spontaneous way, but in a conscious and scheduled way. Fr. Hugh discusses and makes suggestions on how to schedule the Rosary into one’s spiritual life.
• (12:00 to 23:18) What is prayed when saying the Rosary?
• The minimum, or baseline Rosary prayer, as Fr. Hugh discusses…… is the Our Father’s, the Hail Mary’s and the Mysteries. Everything else is optional. The optional can enrich the saying of the Rosary, but is not necessary. What does that mean? Optional is to start with the Creed or invocation prayer of the Holy Spirit. These are both optional. When you conclude the Rosary, is the Hail Holy Queen required? No, it is optional. Fr. Hugh says there is nothing wrong with adding optional beginnings or endings, just be careful what is added. Fr. Hugh discusses the baseline, optional components, his personal prayer preferences and the means to add optional components to one’s spiritual prayer life.
• (23:18 to 26:29) How do I interpret the Mysteries?
• In this part of the conference, Fr. Hugh discusses the benefits of pausing and meditating on the Mysteries, before continuing with the Rosary.
• (26:29 to 33:20) How do we handle special intentions?
• Do not waste the Rosary! Fr. Hugh discusses and encourages us to offer the Rosary for a special intention or for someone. However, in doing so, there can be a trap in letting our intentions turn away our attention from the Rosary’s main components of prayer. There is a right or recommended way to handle intentions. Offer the Rosary intention(s), place it in the Lord’s hands, and then let it go. What this means, and the process of offering our intentions are discussed by Fr. Hugh.
• (33:20 to the end) What happens if I lose concentration or focus? What happens if I become distracted?
• There are two reasons for distractions. One, the human mind wanders. It is a basic fact. The second is the world and the spirit of the world demands attention. Fr. Hugh discuss these two influences and suggests not to focus on the fact that the mind wanders during the praying of the Rosary. It happens to almost everyone, as Fr. Hugh explains. He also suggests, do not start over. Just regain focus with the next Hail Mary, or next Mystery. Little by little one can/will make it through without distractions. Fr. Hugh discuss this focus and how to minimize the times of our wandering mind.
You are invited to listen to this 43 minute audio that explains this topic and more.
Spiritual Insights Survey