Q: How does one best pray with the heart while saying the Rosary? — V.C., Auckland, NZ

A: +To pray with the heart means to pray gratefully. The rosary is one of the world’s classic prayers of gratefulness. It consists in meditating one by one on events in the life of Christ and the spiritual depths they open to a heart that dwells on them with love and wonderment. This love and wonderment go beyond mere thanksgiving. They transform the heart into the beauty it contemplates.

There is an additional reason for gratefulness. Rosary prayer, in its outward form, is really the repetition of a Christian mantra. This connects those who pray the rosary with all their sisters and brothers in other traditions who also use mantra prayer. In fact, other traditions often use strings of beads. The Christian rosary itself may be patterned after Moslem prayer beads which crusaders brought back from the Middle East.

Mantra prayer is often called “the prayer of the heart,” because it is more than mere repetition of words. The very heartbeat begins to resonate with the prayer’s intention.

— Your Brother David

Br. David Steindl-RastTrust