The Rosary - Why do we repeat the prayers over and over and over and over...
This is a question I've wondered myself.
In case you don't even know what I mean by The Rosary, its a type of prayer involving a string of prayer beads, and repeating a series of Our Fathers, Hail Mary's, Glory Be's, etc., over and over. So as you move from one bead to the next on the string, you say the prayer associated with that bead.
Sounds weird? Well, actually, there are a whole bunch of religions that have prayer beads: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sihkism, Islam, and Baha'i all have prayer beads of one kind or another. The Rosary is an adaptation of this practice.
So, the question, why? Why repeat the Hail Mary do many times? In your standard Rosary, 53 Hail Mary's get prayed. Wouldn't Mary get tired of hearing us say the same sentence over and over and over again, that is if prayer is a conversation with us and Mary or God or Jesus or whoever?
So considering this, when I was younger I never prayed the Rosary - I just figured, this isn't the kind of prayer that God wants.
That is until I realized that prayer is more than just talking to God - it can also include listening for God, thinking about God, just trying to open ourselves up to God, spending time doing nothing with God. And we do all of these in the Rosary.
You see, by repeating the Hail Mary over and over and over, what we have happening is that the Hail Mary acts as a "Mantra." What's a Mantra? Its a word or phrase that we repeat over and over and over again so that we can slow down our brain-wave patterns, and get into a relaxed state of meditation.
This same state can be created by doing things we do all the time - driving our car, knitting, taking a shower or brushing our teeth - because we do them so automatically, our minds are free to do other things, and sometimes we can become incredibly creative while we're doing so.
AND the rosary tells us what we're supposed to be meditating on - while we're praying the Hail Mary over and over, we're supposed to be thinking of a particular "mystery," associated with that SET (called decade) of ten beads. For the mysteries of the Rosary, do a Google search - you'll find there are 20 of them, 4 sets of 5 mysteries, each set connected to a particular day in the week when we're supposed to think about them.
Do we have to think just about THOSE PARTICULAR MYSTERIES? No, but we should think about something sacred, something in the Bible, something OTHER THAN OURSELVES. Which is the point, not only of the Rosary, but of all prayer.
Do we have to pray the Rosary as all? Actuallly, the answer to that one is also no. The Rosary is a "devotion," a special kind of prayer that might suit you, or it might not. There are a whole bunch of devotions in the Catholic Church, to Divine Mercy, St. Anthony, etc.
BUT - the Rosary is a REALLY GOOD devotion. I highly recommend it - its a time to relax and be with God. And to get to know Mary too.
And if it seems like its more focused on Mary than on God, actually the Rosary is all about what God did in Mary's life, and because we're human like Mary, God can also do in our lives.