Contemplative Prayer

My prayer journey began as a little girl with my paternal grandmother.  Her name was Margherita which means pearl.  She was a feisty lady of no more than 5 feet tall, a farmer and a midwife.

I remember visiting her in Italy.  She lived with my aunt and uncle in a beautiful large home with many rooms, some rooms even had little balcony’s off them where you could enjoy the sun and the beautiful landscape.  But what immediately struck me about my grandmother was her humility.  She had prepared herself a room in what I think was a large walk-in closet.  Nonna (that’s grandmother in Italian) “what are you doing sleeping in the closet?” I asked.  She just smiled; she had created this little space for herself and she liked it.

She always had her Rosary hanging from her arm.  I noticed she was praying even as she milked her cows.  My father used to tell us the story of his birth.  He was the seventh and last child in the family and when Nonna Margherita went into labour she retired to her room while the extended family were calling from the kitchen: “Eh Margherita, when are you coming to prepare supper?”  Well, we knew she was special and tough because she gave birth to my father without any assistance, although I’m sure she had the divine assistance of Jesus and Mary.

I’ll always remember her teaching me to pray the Rosary when I was a little girl.  She was so patient teaching me the words of the Our Father and Hail Mary in Italian.  Unfortunately, I didn’t continue praying the Rosary as a child and young adult, but when I later began to search for God I decided I wanted to learn to pray.  So I planned a pilgrimage to the shrine in Lourdes, France where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette and there a priest helped me greatly to understand that “prayer is holy desire”.  He told us to not be confused about prayer.   He said prayer that is pleasing to God is not about many words, it must be about holy desire for God.  He went on to explain that the repetition of the Hail Mary’s that are part of the Rosary facilitate a meditative state where we can quietly contemplate the mysteries of God as we enrich our spiritual journey with food for thought that enlightens our soul and sparks a deeper and deeper conversion and love for God.

The Rosary has become for me the central part of my prayer life, along with the Holy Eucharist which is the summit of my spiritual life.  I go to Mass every Sunday and I try to pray the Rosary every day.  Each bead of the Rosary is like a stepping stone into the life of Our Lord Jesus where I consider the Will of God in my life and I ask myself whether the choices I am making are proving to Jesus that I love Him.  I hold the Virgin Mary’s hand as I ask her to help me to love her Son Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour and to understand His plan for me.  I also ask Jesus to help me to love the Virgin Mary, my Spiritual Mother, who assists me in repenting of my sins and embracing God’s will and love.

If you have never prayed the Holy Rosary, I urge you to give it a try.  Pray the Rosary with a Bible near by and read the Scripture that is associated with each meditation.  Then with your beads in hand walk through a mystical garden where you will place yourself into the life of Jesus and Mary, experiencing their joys and sorrows, their hope and victory over evil, as you reflect upon your own life.

God bless you!