Yes, I was one of those knuckleheads who felt I was way too cool, too macho for anything as quaint as the rosary. It took the Holy Spirit shaking me to my core during an ACTS retreat to finally conclude that “Mother knows best.” I finally learned, and was ultimately led, to a relentless and happy journey to pray the rosary daily and to love Mary freely.
Real Men Pray The Rosary, Inc. (RMPTR) is an apostolate founded by my wife, Valerie, and I on the feast of the Annunciation in 2009. It was born from the profound experience of that retreat and to speak directly to knuckleheads like me, people who have felt that the rosary didn’t offer them anything. The fact that the apostolate took form on the same day that the Church celebrates God himself taking human form is more than a coincidence.
The RMPTR mission statement answers the call from Pope St. John Paul II’s 2002 apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae: to “promote the Rosary with conviction… in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of our daily lives.” Praying the rosary has endured because it provides, in a very compact and efficient manner, the opportunity to visit the fundamental tenets of the faith.
When prayed contemplatively on a regular basis, it is an “executive summary” of the Gospel that divulges the direct application of our faith to our daily lives. Praying that “sweet chain that links us to God” provides us the opportunity to understand what St. Paul meant when he urged us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Praying the rosary permits a man to visit the life and teachings of Jesus and Mary at the school of Mary. As we invoke Mary’s prayers for us “now and at the hour of our death,” we ask her to pray that the mystery of how our faith applies to our daily life be revealed so that we become closer to Christ.
We can become more faithful and loving husbands, devoted and strong fathers, faithful sons and brothers by meditating upon the rosary mysteries. By bringing our own life into the repetitions of prayers, we can move beyond the mechanical recitation of words and male every bead a contemplative, prayerful daily journey into the heart of the Blessed Mother and our Catholic faith.
If Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter reveals the beauty of the rosary, it seems to me that St. Louis de Montfort’s rosary writings unleash its power. The Secret of the Rosary led me to appreciate what my mom had always taught me but I was too myopic to see: our Blessed Mother is Jesus’ special gift for each of us.
In my own case, Mary became a part of my heart as my earthly mother passed from this life. My mom had bequeathed to her eldest, most stubborn son a love of Mary, in part, to salve the wound of mourning her passing. More importantly though, I was drawn to the Mother of God to accompany me on my daily journey.
The knowledge that Mary accompanies us in all our trials has led RMPTR to enthusiastically direct others seeking a close relationship with Mary to St. Louis De Montfort’s spirituality, particularly by making his Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and the “33 Day Rosary Challenge” in October.
The rosary has become an integral part of my life and that of my family. It has helped me fall in love with Mother Church and, in the process, led me on the journey of becoming a “real man,” a man who prays the rosary. May it do the same for you!