instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, July 30, 2007

Would you gamble a stamp on Dynamic Rosary Tension?

Okay, this is a bit of a stretch (so to speak), but....

In the Church, we seem to have two ways of talking about the Rosary.

One is Beginner: "This is what a set of rosary beads looks like. You pray an Our Father on the big beads, and a Hail Mary on the little beads."

The other is Advanced: "O blessed rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love, which connects us with the angels, tower of safety against the assaults of hell, sure harbor in the universal shipwreck, never more shall we part with thee."

And the natural question is, How do we get from, "Rats, no, today's Tuesday, so the mystery is -- wait, which decade am I on?", to, "with the spread of this devotion the meditations of the faithful have begun to be more inflamed, their prayers more fervent, and they have suddenly become different men; the darkness of heresy has been dissipated, and the light of Catholic faith has broken forth again."?

It reminds me of the old Charles Atlas ads, in which the 97 lb. weakling turns into a real he-man by... um... well, whatever "Dynamic-Tension®" is. That part's glossed over in the ads with a banner that reads "LATER."

But boy, just look at the results!

In each case, a certain amount of doubt that the prescribed method will have the advertised results is understandable.

Of course, Charles Atlas was in the business of selling his physical fitness secrets, which amount to various mechanical exercises. St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort's Secret of the Rosary isn't that kind of a secret, but you need to get beyond the mechanics to see it.

The idea that there is anything beyond the mechanics of the Rosary, before you get to the suddenly becoming different men part, seems to be missing when we are in the Beginner way of talking about the Rosary.

Maybe before we get into the diagrams and the tables of mysteries, we should say a few words about the difference between praying a Rosary, which takes fifteen or twenty minutes, and praying the Rosary, which is a lifelong devotion. Or the difference between a daily prayer like grace before meals and the daily meditation of the Rosary.

At the very least, we might suggest that the effect of praying the Rosary each day is no more apparent after praying the Rosary once than is the effect of exercising each day after exercising once. Heck, even Charles Atlas says it can take up to ten days of dipping to add an inch to your chest.