October is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Rosary, and is the month when that particular feast is celebrated as well. All months of the year are packed with holy women and men, but the saints we recall in October are some of the most influential of recent years; St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Àvila, St. Faustina and St. John Paul II, St. Francis of Assisi, Sts. Simon and Jude, and St. Luke the Evangelist. These names do not even deplete the list.
While Divine Mercy Sunday remains the Sunday after Easter, it seems fitting that St. Faustina is celebrated in the Month of the Rosary, the Chaplet revealed to her being the second-most-popular prayer one can say on those same beads.
Sometimes those "rote" prayers like the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet can feel less "pure" or heartfelt than, say, a spontaneous exclamation in Adoration or a wordless movement of the soul in a dark chapel, but these types of prayers can serve a critical purpose for our spiritual well-being throughout our lives.
For one thing, these prayers are infinitely "scalable," they can grow and move with us as we get older or simply as our needs and situations change. We can memorize the prayer texts from an early age, even before we can grasp what they mean. We can pray the plain meaning of the texts or add intentions, meditations, or "mysteries" to them. They can also be the springboard into contemplative prayer, when the words almost pass away behind another level of resting with God.
And when things are really going badly, when panic or fear or anger grip our hearts, when spontaneous prayer becomes impossible, at least temporarily, the familiar cadence of the words can still serve as the best and only prayer we can muster in the moment. The best way to pray is always whatever way you can pray RIGHT NOW.
If you have been away from the Rosary or have never used the Chaplet, consider giving them a chance this month. Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC, has a time-tested book of Rosary meditations, and in this Year of Mercy, the Divine Mercy Chaplet is a perfect devotion to explore.
O God, who willed
that, when your Son was lifted high on the Cross,
his Mother should stand close by and share his suffering,
grant that your Church,
participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ,
may merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Collect, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.