NEVER WILL ANYONE really be able to understand the marvelous riches of sanctification which are contained in the prayers and mysteries of the Holy Rosary. This meditation on the mysteries of the life and death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the source of the most wonderful fruits for those who use it.
Today people want things that strike and move and that leave deep impressions on the soul. Nor has there ever been anything in the whole history of the world more moving than the wonderful story of the life, death and glory of Our Savior which is contained in the Holy Rosary. In the fifteen tableaux the chief scenes or mysteries of His life unfold before our eyes. How could there ever be any prayers more wonderful and sublime than the Lord's Prayer and the Salutation of the Angel? All our desires and all our needs are found expressed in these two prayers.
The meditation on the mysteries and the prayers of the Rosary is the easiest of all prayers, because the diversity of the virtues of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the different stages of His life which we study refresh and fortify our mind in a wonderful way and help us to avoid distractions.
For learned people these mysteries are the source of the most profound doctrine but simple people find in them a means of instruction well within their reach.
We must learn this easy form of meditation before progressing to the highest state of contemplation. This is the view of Saint Thomas Aquinas and the advice that he gives when he says that first of all one must practise on a battlefield, as it were, by acquiring all the virtues which the Holy Rosary gives us to imitate. The learned Cajetan says that this is the way that we reach a really intimate union with God----for without this union contemplation is nothing other than a dangerous illusion which can lead souls astray.
If only the Illuminists or the Quietists [1. Quietism and lluminism were heresies of Saint Louis' day. Adherents of the former school and also those of the latter had an exaggerated idea of Divine inspiration and denied the necessity of individual effort in the spiritual life. Madame Guillon was the chief exponent of Quietism in France. M.D.] of today had followed this piece of advice they would never have fallen so low nor would they have caused such scandals and upset the devotions of good people. To think that it is possible to say prayers that are finer and more beautiful than the Our Father and the Hail Mary is to fall prey to a strange illusion of the devil.
These heavenly prayers are the support, the strength and the safeguard of our souls----but I must admit that it is not always necessary to say them as vocal prayers. It is quite true that, in a sense, mental prayer is more perfect than vocal prayer, but, believe me, it is really dangerous, not to say fatal, to give up saying the Rosary of your own accord under the excuse of seeking a more perfect union with God.
Sometimes a soul that is proud in a subtle way and who may have done everything that he can do interiorly to rise to the sublime heights of contemplation that the Saints have reached, may be deluded by the noon-day devil into giving up his former devotions because he thinks that he has found a greater good. He then looks upon his erstwhile practices as inferior and only fit for ordinary and mediocre souls.
But this kind of soul has deliberately turned a deaf ear to the prayers and salutation taught us by an Archangel and even to the Prayer which God made and taught us and which He said Himself. "Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father . . . " (Matthew 6: 9). Having reached this point such a soul drifts from its first illusion into still greater ones and falls from precipice to precipice.
Believe me, dear brothers of the Rosary Confraternity, if you genuinely wish to reach a high level of prayer in all honesty and without falling into the traps that the devil sets for those who pray, say your whole Rosary every day, or at least five decades of it.
If, by the grace of God, you have already reached a high level of prayer, keep up the practice of saying the Holy Rosary if you wish to remain in that state and if you hope, through it, to grow in humility. For never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.
On the other hand if Almighty God in His infinite mercy draws you to Him as forcibly as He did some of the Saints while saying the Rosary, make yourself passive in His hands and let yourself be drawn towards Him. Let God work and pray in you and let Him say your Rosary in His way and this will be enough for the day.
But if you are still in the state of active contemplation or the usual prayer of quietude, which is to say that of placing yourself in the presence of God and loving Him, you have every reason in the world not to give up saying your Rosary. Far from making you lose ground in mental prayer or stunting your spiritual growth, it will be the most tremendous help to you. You will find that it will be a real Jacob's ladder with fifteen rungs and by each one of these you will go from virtue to virtue and from light to light. Thus, without danger of being misled, you will easily come to the fullness of the age of Jesus Christ.
From page 61, 62 and 63
Nihil Obstat, Gulielmus F. Hughes, S.T.L., Censor Librorium
Imprimatur, Thomas Edmundus Molloy, S.T.D., Archiepiscopus-Episcopus Brooklyniensis, 1954 For more, see The Holy Rosary
St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort's The Secret of the Rosary