In 1917, in a little Portugese village, a woman arrayed in a light “brighter than the sun” appeared to three shepherd children. She was beautiful, loving, and brilliant. After years of investigation, the Church declared that this was an apparition of Mary that was worthy of belief—that these little souls had actually seen the Mother of Jesus. She had talked to them, showed them miracles and visions, and given them instructions, the most frequent of which was to say the rosary daily and tell others to do the same.
Catholics have a special relationship with Mary. We don’t worship her—we only worship God. But we do honor her in the way we think Jesus does. We believe she is among the Saints in Heaven praying for us—the Queen of All Saints, in fact. And we think it makes sense that because she is Jesus’s mom, He listens to her in a special way. Asking for her prayers seems like a smart thing to do if we want a powerful intercessor, and listening to her is also a good move because we know she is closest to Jesus and knows His heart as only a mother can. Therefore, when Mary says to pray the rosary every day, we’d be wise to listen to her.
Confession time: I used to hate praying the rosary. It seemed dry, boring, and long. I thought I “got more” out of spontaneous prayer where I was speaking directly to Jesus. But when I realized that this was the one big thing Mary asked of us at Fatima, I decided to create a habit of praying it even when I didn’t feel like it. A crazy thing happened: I started to fall in love. More than that, I began to depend on it in a certain sense. Like any discipline, it’s something that I rarely want to do at the beginning, but something I’m always really, really glad I’ve done after it’s over. When I am faithful in praying it, it brings peace that is hard to explain. The rosary is one of the most accessible prayers. Anyone can pray it, any time, anywhere. It is simple, complex, and comforting. It is a cry to our Mother, which seems natural in any time of trial or struggle or grief. I invite you to consider trying to pray the rosary daily, as Mary asked, or at least a portion of it more regularly. We can be sure our good Mother knows exactly what our heart and home and world needs.