You have heard it at
Indeed, it is very likely that
you do it yourself.
It is even more likely that you do it praying the Holy
Let us take one very, very, common example: The Apostles Creed:
and-in-Jesus Christ-His-only-Son-Our Lord-Who-was-conceived-by-
All spoken as one sentence as quickly as possible — to get through
Worse still is the prayer to the very Mother of God, Mary Most Holy,
ESPECIALLY as it is “recited” — rather than “prayed” in that beautiful
prayer called the Angelic Salutation, but better known simply
as the Hail Mary:
Within 14 seconds flat! … and ten times between each sacred Mystery!
Is that how you approach God in prayer?
As fast as humanly possible?
Is that how you speak to your wife, your husband, your
children — your friends and neighbors? If so, you either have none,
and you never will!
I am not an expert in Mariology — but I am human, as Mary
was and is — and even with so few credentials I cannot imagine that
either God or Mary are especially impressed with my piety or devotion
when I speak to them, pray to them, much like a 33 rpm record incorrectly
played at either 45 rpm or 78 rpm.
at the Wrong Speed
The point of this short
essay is simply this: GOD IS A PERSON — and so
is Mary. I do not believe that they esteem you more holy or are in the
least impressed with the speed of your prayers, or the number of your
prayers-recited-as-in-a marathon. In fact, Christ Himself warned us
“And when you are praying, speak not
much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much
speaking they may be heard. Be not you therefore like
to them, for your Father knoweth what is needful for you,
before you ask Him.” (Saint Matthew 6.7-8)
Is this to derogate from formal and structured prayers such as the Holy
Rosary or the litanies of the Saints? By no means! Nor is it written
to diminish the piety of the one praying. No. No. No!
This is the point: when you “pray” do not make your prayer a rote “recitation”
to be sped through as quickly as possible. Repetition is meaningful
— or it can be useless.
Dwell on the words you pray.
Utter them in the same way as you would when sincerely talking to ANY
person before you.
In fact, you ARE! You are speaking to God Most High — from your heart.
One single decade of one single Mystery of the Holy Rosary prayed to
Mary, and through Mary, to the PERSON of GOD — ex corde (from
the heart) in the recognition that you are addressing a real PERSON
who is listening to you — exceeds all the decades of all the Rosaries
recited since Mary brought this devotion to Saint Dominic in the 13th
The beautiful complexities latent within the Holy Rosary are many. Meditating
upon a holy Mystery while simultaneously praying the Hail Mary as more
than simply words accompanying our meditation is no small feat. It is
— dare I say — grace; the grace of simultaneity that proximates what
we glimpse of eternity.
Simply because the prayers may be many and identical
does not preclude their being uttered in absolute devotion each time…
for they extend beyond time to eternity … and are offered in union with
Mary to God Who sees the hearts and knows the thoughts of men.
Pray — but only as sincerely as you talk!
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
Comments? Write us: