Although I understand the Catholic doctrine and I have been convinced intellectually that it is true, I am a bit hesitant to pray to the Saints.
I wonder what your personal experience has been. Can you say that your experience praying to the Saints, especially the Hail Mary, has been an experience in which you find yourselves falling deeper and deeper in love with Jesus Christ, becoming more and more obedient to Jesus Christ, growing stronger and stronger in passion for Jesus Christ? Or has the experience been one in which you just feel more spiritually connected to the Virgin Mary, and more spiritual in general?
Mary always leads us to Jesus. Many pictures and statues show her, with eyes downcast (humility) or on Jesus as she presents her Son to us. The mysteries of the rosary call us to focus on his life. She was called (we all are) to be Christ like. Mary did the best job in that regard. As a female, it is nice to try to think, “What would Mary do?”, in any given situation. Meditating on Mary has shown me how to be Christ like.
When I was a non-practicing protestant/atheist at university Our Lady entrapped me. I mean that in the nicest possible way. I had no interest in her but I met a new best mate at uni. We hung out, studied, played netball together and partied.
One day we were in the city and she said she had to pop into a bookstore, I tagged along and soon enough we walked past a Cathedral and under it was the bookstore. We went in, she headed towards the area she was interested in. I wandered around and ended up near the statues, I remember looking at a statue of Our Lady and then suddenly I felt the room spinning but I was still standing and there was whirl of wind around me, it went on for at least 10 seconds, I looked around startled, everyone else was undisturbed. I ran out of there and waited for her outside.
When she came outside I told her what happened and she said “oh that’s just Our Lady calling you”…I said “what do you mean she’s calling me, I’m not Catholic” and she replied “you’ll know soon enough” and left it at that. The experience changed my life.
That was first year, by our graduating year, I was in RCIA. I pray the Rosary every day as a way of thanking her for leading me to her son and his Church.
I have a similar experience. When I say my daily Rosary, I always seem to have the graces to be very holy. When I get out of the habit, I start making more mistakes, more common the longer it has been since my regular Rosary.
I also find praying and meditating during the Rosary to be the most peaceful time of my day. I usually pray it before bed, and I sleep so much better after saying the Rosary. When I have trouble sleeping, I get up and pray the Rosary. Many, many times I have fallen right back to sleep after finishing. I really consider the Rosary to be essential to my physical health (in addition to all the spiritual benefits).
The first time I prayed the rosary, I about halfway thought I was was going to be struck by lightning for my idolatry! Lol.
By that time I had intellectually accepted a fair bit of Catholic doctrine, but for just couldn’t get over the Marian devotions and dogmas. Honestly, they had such a stigma in my mind, I really hadn’t researched them very much. I had no intention of joining the Church. But one night when I was feeling kind of down, I just felt inexplicably pulled to pray the rosary. And somehow, it all fell into place. I realized that it was all true, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of all of us, that she intercedes for us with her Son.
By the next morning, I knew I had to be Catholic. I like to think of myself as very logical and rational. I’m hesitant to see any kind of supernatural influence on my own life. But I do believe that Our Lady really was pulling me into the Church.
Growing my relationship with Mary has undoubtedly strengthened my relationship with Jesus! The mysteries of the rosary are definitely a huge part. I think that before so much of my prayer before was “what do I have to tell Jesus”. The mysteries led me much more to pray “Who is Jesus, and what does He have to tell me.”
But it’s not only that. Like Debbie (even though I am not female) I do try to think “what would Mary do?” For no one loves Jesus more, no one is more passionate about Him, than His mother. I find myself regularly, outside of just the rosary and the Angelus (both of which I try to make part of my daily prayer life), asking Mary for her intercession, asking her to always bring me closer to her Son.
I hope that was helpful and not too rambling, I’m normally asleep well before this time. I should have known getting on Catholic Answers would distract me!
One time while saying the Rosary I experienced some sort of Ecstasy being poured down on me that lasted only a brief time, but I got the distinct impression that this came directly from the hand of the Virgin Mary.
I’ve been sliding into a spiritual rut over the past several months, and last week it got so bad that I desperately asked Mary in the novena “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” to intercede for me. All of a sudden this week I have become spiritual again. Today out of nowhere I got the will to go to Eucharistic adoration for the first time since before Christmas.
"O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on thee, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary."
Thank you for sharing that. We all need to share more about our supernatural experiences so that others could see God working in people’s lives.
I will share a couple of experiences that happened to me. The first happened on a pilgrimage to a famous Marian pilgrimage site when I was a teenager. I had brought two rosaries with me. My mom’s chain rosary and a plastic string type. While I was there the chain in my mom’s rosary changed from silver to gold. And if that wasn’t enough what was truly amazing is that on the platic rosary the Jesus on the crucifix changed from silver to blood red. Everyone on the trip was amazed by it. And many people that saw it could confirm it really happened.
The second experience was less exciting but still a confirmation for me about Praying the rosary. It occurred many years later after having a reversion. I hadn’t prayed the rosary for many years. I asked God to show me if it was ok to pray it. As I prayed it on my bed before going to sleep for the evening I started to think it would be nice if the next day i would get a job in a particular city so that i could listen to some Catholic teaching on the drive there. The very next morning I get a request from my boss to go to that city because a machine had broken down and they needed someone to go fix it. I didn’t even ask for that to happen. I just thought it would be nice if I could go. I knew that it happened because God wanted to let me know that the rosary was a good and powerful prayer. The chances of that happening were pretty slim most of the time but to have it happen in conjunction with the prayer was God’s way of letting me know
I’ve been graced with a number of miracles, initiated (I believe) by praying to Our Lady–and a number of family as well. I share a few–one, I keep the actual miracle itself private–but I’ll share this much with you–I was in my early 20’s, and had the occasion to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe–on our way to serve as missionaries, we stopped off to consecrate our mission (as we did every year). That particular year, I was in need of some “missionary magic” as we liked to call it (what we’d call those convenient blessings that would mysteriously show up, after mission)–actually, on this occasion, I was in need of a verified miracle–and so I did something I had never deigned to do before, despite having visited the Basilica many times before–I got on my knees, and made my way from the outer court area, all the way up to the altar, as many locals do (their faith is inspiring).
Went on mission, and when I came back…this miracle that I had prayed for–with reservations (that is, figuring that it would not, as it could not, be granted–but hoping something else would be granted to substitute, according to the Lord’s Will) actually awaited me at home. The actual miracle, not some substitute… I was dumbfounded, blown away, and remained in denial/disbelief for some time, before accepting that it had actually happened.
Now, a couple of miracles I can share freely–my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 (maybe 4…don’t recall, as it’s been 20 some years–she’s still alive, btw) cancer. Her X-Rays (or MRI, or whatever it was) showed white spots throughout her chest and torso. Cancer, metastasized and widespread…
My dad and my brother are both doctors, and both independently reviewed her chart, compared notes (so to speak), and had arrived at the same conclusion–the situation was quite severe.
The following week, she was scheduled for a follow up consult with the oncologist, to confirm the diagnosis, and to discuss treatment options.
The weekend in between, a prayer service was coordinated at my parents house, led by local priest. Rosary prayed, Marian prayers abounded, and Mary was specifically called upon and invoked for intervention.
…at the follow up consult, zero cancer. The images were absolutely clean; completely negative for any cancer. The oncologist was perperplexed, the referring doc, baffled…
We–including my dad and bro–were simply humbled, and deeply grateful.
…but we had all pretty much figured out the ‘science’ behind the mystery of the missing cancer.
Next, is one I actually call by name.
My wife tested positive on one of those pregnancy test kits, after showing several signs of being pregnant. She went to doc–ultrasound showed an ‘empty sac’. My wife was utterly devastated. Worth noting here, she’s protestant.
I told her about Mary, and how she had delivered miracles in the past to us (including the above stories). She remained skeptical. I asked her to indulge me with one Rosary. Nothing to lose, just spend some time with me praying the rosary, keeping her mind on what she was praying for. She in fact, obliged, and indulged me the Rosary.
At the next doc visit–which was scheduled to remove the empty sac–the nurse, kind of on a whim/feeling, suggested another ultrasound before commencing the procedure…
Miraculously, the sac was no longer empty. Procedure cancelled…proceed to pre-natal care, labor and delivery…
She was duly thrilled and ecstatic about that (though to this day, she barely acknowledges praying the rosary with me; I do not get that…).
In any event, that miracle is my son, Nick. No. 3 of 4.
…but hey, when I prayed to Our Lady on my wife’s behalf…I presume she relayed the prayer to God, for us…and, as usual…she delivered.
I have every confidence that one day, that seed of faith will take root in my wife’s heart.
In God’s time…
But in the mean time, I have my miracle–Nick–as a perpetual reminder of one of the many great blessings Our Lady has helped procure for me and my loved ones.
May I suggest assenting in prayer, to our Blessed Mother?
Give her a chance to show you why…Marian devotion.
It did not take root by accident; it does not maintain and continue to ever expand, out of frivolity.
Give her a chance in earnest…let her win you over, forever…and find yourself closer to Christ than you could ever imagine!
e.g.–Pope John Paul II, The Great, Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lissieux (i.e.–the 3 Teresa’s), St. Dominic, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Moore, Padre Pio, and countless others, who have been renowned for their Marian Devotion, and were obviously very close to Our Lord:
Others (cut & paste from prior posting on topic):
St. Joseph, St. John the Apostle/Evangelist, St. Polycarp, St. Ireneaus, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Dominic, St. Basil, Pope Paul VI,
–Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
–St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
–Saint Maximilian Kolbe
–St. Josemaria Escriva
–Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church
–St. John Vianney
–Saint Francis de Sales
–Saint Ildephonsus, Bishop
–Saint John Damascene
–Saint Germanus of Constantinople, Patriarch of Constantinople
–Pope Saint Gregory VII
–Saint Anselm, Archbishop and Doctor of the Church
–Saint Bonaventure, Cardinal-Bishop and Doctor of the Church
–Saint Cajetan, Founder of the Theatines
–Saint Francis Borgia
–Saint Robert Bellarmine, Cardinal-Bishop and Doctor of the Church
–Saint John Eudes
–Blessed William Joseph Chaminade
–Pope Pius XII, 1876-1958 AD
–Saint Hilary of Poitiers - Bishop, Father, and Doctor of the Church
–Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church
–Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Father and Doctor of the Church
–Saint John Damascene, Father and Doctor of the Church
–Saint Padre Pio
–Pope Saint Pius X
–Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman
–St. Clare ('Poor Clares)
–St. Rose of Lima
–St. Joan of Arc
–St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
–St. Bernadette of Lourdes
…all these witnesses, testifying to how Our Lady can and does, serve to fortify your relationship with Christ Jesus!
I appreciate all of you responding. I have heard from most of you about many miracles performed and much devotion directed to the Virgin Mary and to the Catholic Church as a result of praying the Rosary. These are powerful and interesting experiences.
I am convinced that the Virgin Mary is now, as a result of her unique relationship with Christ, the most exalted creature in all of Heaven and Earth. If our blessings in Heaven are based on our love for Christ, I think it undeniable that she would have by far the most blessings of all. Her loving influence at the wedding of Cana is a testimony to the power of her prayers.
However, my own personal experience - and my observations of other people - gives me pause. I do not want to make any hasty judgements, but I have been trying to pray to Mary for a few months and, as far as I can tell, have had some very mixed results.
There was one time when I was in Church and the congregation was singing to the Virgin Mary after we all consecrated our hearts to her. A Mexican man a couple rows behind me was singing with such love and devotion, it was touching. I was filled with appreciation for the way in which the man was so beautifully singing to the woman who gave birth to Jesus. I joined in singing, singing from my heart with Joy, and after we were done I saw the Virgin Mary in a whole new way. I looked up a statue of her that, up until that point, made her look gloomy and down, with a face that was not ugly or beautiful, but just a simple and regular womanly face. However, when I looked at her on this night, it would not be too much of an over-exaggeration to say that she ‘shined like the sun.’ She was not glowing with light, but she appeared so gorgeous and pure and beautiful. I was filled with admiration for her beauty and thought that, if this was a projection of her inner beauty, she must be filled with such an amazing and wonderful love.
But the last couple times I have tried to pray to the Virgin Mary I have experienced something different. Both times I tried to pray the Hail Mary I experienced what I believe were demonic attacks and greatly increased temptations and desires to give in to temptations. It would make perfect sense, if the Rosary is as powerful as the Church teaches it is, that demons would want to attack me and keep me from praying it. However, I had not prayed the Rosary for a while and was cautiously easing back into it with the belief that God would make my experience praying it an indication of His approval/disapproval of the practice. I have prayed several times asking for Jesus to show me whether or not praying the Hail Mary is idolatrous, and I think it is fair to say I have been serious and open-minded and sincerely attempted to be as objective as possible in my approach and assessment to this issue. So, on that basis, I had an expectation that, if praying to the Virgin Mary was blessed and holy, God would give me grace when I prayed it so that I would know it was of Him; and, if it was idolatrous and/or misguided, that God would allow me to feel the error of it by way of either removing some grace or allowing the enemy to attack me a little bit. Thus, due to the feeling of being attacked and the rise of temptations, I am concerned that maybe this practice is not something Jesus wants me doing.
To be fair, the results have not been entirely bad. The second of these two times, I did feel like my faith was more clear and pure, but temptations came that had not come in a while and instead of just brushing them off as foolishness I felt some desire to give in to them - and I ended up giving in. Of course, no matter what, I am the one to blame for my decision to give in to those temptations. Even if the Rosary is idolatry and spiritual adultery, as many fear, the decision to sin was my own. I want to be upfront about that.
I just have this idea that, since Jesus knew that I was saying the prayer with the intention of observing it’s effect on me spiritually, that the experience would have been more positive if it was something He wanted me to view positively.
I hope I have not offended anyone. I am not in anyway accusing anyone here of sin, or idolatry, or spiritual adultery, or anything like that. I understand that what is sin for one person may not be sin for another, due to personal conscience and other factors that effect morality and culpability. If my assessment of my experience is right, and I was engaged in sin by praying the Rosary, it could simply be that I was praying with the wrong heart. I admit that I find it difficult to pray to the Virgin Mary without feeling as if I am in some sense offering worship and placing her between Christ and I. Maybe this is the reason why the prayer has not worked for me, because I am not saying it correctly. I don’t know. All I know is that, despite my sin, I want to do whatever will please Christ and make me love Him more. If that is the Rosary, I want to pray it. But I am not sure how to move forward now from the position I am sitting in.
As a convert myself I know the feeling. When I first started looking into Catholicism my first big problem was Marian devotion and the rosary. Once I became convinced the Catholic argument at least made sense I got myself a rosary. The first time I prayed it I was very worried I was sinning. But I realized that was just a feeling. My conscience, formed by reason, knew it wasn’t. I quickly found it to be amazing in how praying it would bring me peace.
I’d caution you to be careful in how you judge things. First off we have to be careful not to look at our spiritual life as if it is a machine or equation where we put something in and get something out. This is natural enough to do and I am as guilty of it as anyone. But remember Job. Remember Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Or, very relevant to this particular devotion, remember Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows. We can be doing something very good and Holy and yet experience negative things including bad emotions.
Second be careful with emotions. Emotions exist to move the heart. But we don’t always get the emotions we hope for and can’t rely on them to determine whether something is good or not. In fact doing something right when we don’t have emotions pulling us to do so can be more meritorious. It is easy for me to do something nice for my wife when I’m feeling particularly fond of her. It is much more difficult when I’m feeling angry at her.
Personally at times I’ve felt the rosary very comforting. At other times it is something I’ve gotten nothing from, at least that I perceived. But God hears all pray and uses it to bring out His good even if we aren’t aware of it.