"The Rosary is for old ladies and funerals."
That's what I said. Yes, I was one of those people. I thought I was way too cool and sophisticated to pray the Rosary, and I was a man. Despite being blessed with a saintly mom who lovingly tried to convince her eldest son that the path to true holiness and lived Catholicism was through our Blessed Mother and the faithful praying of the Rosary, such quaint and seemingly anachronistic practices were for timid others; the Rosary was not for a manly guy, like me.
Thankfully, my mom never gave up hope that I would eventually see the light.
Sure enough, the Holy Spirit slapped me around a few times in 2008 until finally I woke up and became born again as a Catholic revert (Jn. 3:3). I credit two mothers' prayers (my mom's and our Blessed Mother's connected by the Rosary) for my new fervor and conviction.
The love for Christ and his church, and for our Blessed Mother and her Rosary, has been the catalyst for an apostolate my wife and I have begun, and which we call "Real Men Pray the Rosary, Inc." ("RMPTR").
Since its inception, we've held on for dear life as the apostolate has been swept up in a global movement. In a relatively short period of time, our Facebook page has erupted to over 27,000 "likes" from throughout the Catholic world: the Philippines, Nigeria, Australia, U.K., Canada, India, and, of course, here at home as well. This story is partially documented in our recently released book Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer.
RMPTR's most recent undertaking is what we call the "RMPTR 33 Day Rosary Challenge." In this initiative, we invite all Christians to pray the Rosary, every day, for 33 days. Pray it daily. Not for 30 days but 33 days.
The number 33 represents the number of years that Jesus dwelt among us in the fullness of his humanity; it constitutes a direct connection to the fullness of the Divine-made-Incarnate—a connection to Jesus himself. In this Year of Faith, we are advocating one day of praying the Rosary for every year that Jesus set aside his glory as God, to live, breath, hunger, thirst, laugh, cry, and walk among us.
Praying the Rosary daily permits us to employ the full gospel story—the new covenant salvation story—within our continuing faith journey. Those who pray the Rosary daily and who respond to the call to faithfully meditate on each day's mysteries, find that within one week, they have lived through it. They revisit the imminent joy of Advent and the birth of our Lord; they cherish the illuminating reality that Jesus walked among us, talked to and taught us directly; they intimately observe, with Mary by their side, the sorrowful cruelty imposed upon him by our sinful humanity and marvel at his loving response; they experience the glory and wonder of promises kept as they stand at the tomb and begin to understand the reality of the covenant satisfied.
Our circle of faith is completed by the visceral story prayed by us and lived by us in this daily prayer.
Take the challenge. Pray the Rosary daily for 33 days. Focus on the content of the mysteries. Meditate upon the richness of the Gospel story and apply its lessons to your life. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to receive the fullness of His mystery—the fullness of faith.
The Rosary changes us; the intimacy of these meditations, prayed for 15-25 minutes a day, cannot help but change us. As Pope John Paul II wrote, "Just as two friends, frequently in each other's company, tend to develop similar friends, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar converse with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary . . . we can become similar to them," and live that elusive, virtuous holy life.
Real men pray the Rosary, indeed, but this is for everyone—for all men and women. Give the Rosary 33 days. You won't be praying alone. Begin today, May 1, and the entire RMPTR community, the Body of Christ, will pray along with you.
Share your journey with us on Facebook, or post a comment on your favorite Catholic blog. Share your thoughts on a mystery of the day. You can subscribe to RMPTR's daily reflection and receive it by email. Ask the RMPTR community to join in your intentions. Invite someone you love to join the journey.
We know praying the Rosary daily for at least 33 days will change your life. If you (as did I) need some direction or a refresher on precisely how to pray the rosary, visit our website or download one of our free Rosary pamphlets.
At the end of the 33 days, pray it forward. Share your experience with a loved one. Invite them to undertake a 33-day Rosary challenge for themselves. Look closely at the 33-day challenge circular logo, notice the arrow—it goes on, and on. The RMPTR 33-day Rosary challenge invites you to make praying the Rosary a permanent and integral part of your spiritual journey.
Accept the "Real Men Pray the Rosary 33-day Challenge." We know our Blessed Mother will lead you to her son. Totus Tuus.