Praying the Rosary can be a bit of a slog, I find. I am so easily distracted that I have had to devise various cunning ways of occupying my entire attention. I use the beads, of course, keeping them in my right hand. I go through the prayers at a brisk pace, phrase by phrase, by tapping out the rhythm with the fingers of my left hand. (If you think this is a bit sad, as they say, please allow for the fact that my elderly brain needs all the help it can get.) And I have brief keywords or phrases for each Mystery, on little home-made cards that fit into my prayerbook; I concentrate on each of these in turn, one keyword for each Hail Mary, which I find - on account of the many repetitions - to be the prayer where my attention is most likely to drift off.
This afternoon I spent a little time going through the Birth narratives in Luke and Matthew, with a view to refreshing or improving the keywords. My goodness, isn't it wonderful the way one receives a new insight, or a sudden surge of spiritual joy, when reading the Gospels! This was my experience today.
St Luke refers on a number of occasions in his Gospel to the distress and worry and perplexity which, despite being full of grace, Our Lady suffered at times. After the visit of the Angel Gabriel she was, in earthly terms, completely alone in her situation, keeping this staggering knowledge locked in her heart during all that long journey from Nazareth to Judea.
And then suddenly, after no more than the mere sound of her voice calling out a greeting, her beloved kinswoman Elizabeth welled up with a torrent of astonishment and joy and prophecy. Mary had said nothing about it, and yet Elizabeth knew. In sheer human terms, what must that realization have felt like, for Mary?