By Jacqui-Theresa Leiba
Many years ago, after having been drawn into wordless contemplative prayer, I found that the traditional way of praying the rosary no longer seemed to feed my life of prayer.
I could easily pray with friends and family and even facilitate a group, but the rosary as personal prayer seemed to have met its end as the state of contemplation, the prayer of resting in God deepened.
Over the years, I was puzzled as to why I had lost the taste for praying the rosary.
In discussing it with my friend Fr Henry Charles, he would remind me that I had found a rich treasure in contemplative prayer and that I should pray for an answer as to why I had lost the taste for praying the rosary as I did.
I prayed for a way that would align with my new mind and heart.
In my search, I discovered the Rosaries for the Contemplative Dimension of Prayer by Fr Michael Adams. I began to pray the Rosaries of Divine Union. There was no book about it, but I did find a pdf file on the internet written by Fr Adams, which I downloaded to my computer’s hard drive and a flash drive.
It formed a rich part of my prayer life for several years until my computer crashed and the flash drive was misplaced.
The Covid lockdown gave me the opportunity to search through a pile of flash drives and to return to this hidden treasure of prayer.
What makes the Rosaries of Divine Union and indeed, the traditional rosary, so rich? As with all prayer, it begins with the disposition of the mind and heart of the one praying.
Without an inner disposition of adoration and a felt sense of whom one is praying to, the rosary becomes, as Pope St John Paul II so succinctly stated, “a body without a soul”.
In the contemplative dimension of life and prayer, motive of mind and heart is critical to any undertaking. One never just decides to “say prayers”: one enters the inner sanctuary, rests in divine love and the heart begins to express wordless prayer through the Holy Spirit before the first words of any prayer is ever spoken.
Prayer then comes from the rich tapestry of the soul that has had an encounter with divine love. It is this quality of relationship that all the reflections and prayers of the Rosaries of Divine Union imbibes.
Who are the Rosaries of Divine Union for? Everyone and anyone who desires a deeper, richer prayer life. It is well suited to those persons who have developed a taste for silence in prayer and Eucharistic adoration, Christian meditation, Lectio Divina or other forms of silent, contemplative prayer like Centring Prayer.
The disposition of mind and heart and a taste for silence are key components. The prayers are never rushed. During the prayer one learns to listen with one’s whole being to the movements that lead to silence. It is this frequent resting in silence that creates within one’s own being a certain state of being absorbed in the prayer itself.
When one prays the Rosaries of Divine Union, it is with the specific realisation that there is nothing more important than this moment between lover and the beloved.
Avoid as best as possible distractions of mind and heart and note any desire to finish and rush off to another task. If this happens repeatedly, one’s heart is already divided and out of fidelity to the relationship, one must simply stop pretending to pray.
“The Rosary offers an experience of grace that derives from an outward act which then becomes an inward movement, which then becomes a silence. In this silence lies the power of the presence of God, who from that silence speaks to us inwardly—an act of Grace, a Sacrament of Love.” Says Fr Michael Adams.
To find out more about the Rosaries of Divine Union contact any member of the Christian Contemplation prayer group at St Patrick’s, Newtown or write to email@example.com. Sessions were held August 4, 7 and 11, and continue on August 14, 18, 21, 25 and 28. All sessions begin at 8 a.m. on Zoom.
Jacqui-Theresa Leiba is a parishioner of St Patrick’s RC Church, Newtown, and a founding member of Prayer Rhythms for Change – a prayer and social action group at St Dominic’s RC Church, Morvant.