Every Oct. 7, we Catholics celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and commemorate the 16th-century victory at the Battle of Lepanto attributed to the intercession of Our Lady. This battle was so important and Our Lady’s intercession is so cherished, that the Church dedicated the entire month of October to the rosary.
Learning to pray the rosary can be tricky for newbies. Prayerfully reciting the prayers on your beads — Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be — while meditating on the mysteries of the rosary — joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious — can be challenging, sometimes feeling like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time!
This is where memory and imagination come in. In my experience, nothing enriches either than travel.
Anyone who has ever travelled to the Holy Land — the lands where the Bible took place — will tell you that walking those dusty streets is just like stepping inside of the Bible. A visit to the lands where the Word became flesh, where Jesus, his Blessed Mother and his disciples walked changes your life — and your prayer life — in ways that any other trip on the planet never can.
The events associated with every single one of the mysteries of the rosary, save one (Mary’s Crowning), happened in a specific place, and all of those places can be visited.
Even then, we are blessed to be able to visit locations where the Queen of Heaven and Earth came down from heaven to speak with all of us, like the little village of Fátima in Portugal.
This is what pilgrimage is all about.
For those who have been blessed to visit Bethlehem, Jordan, Israel, or Fátima on pilgrimage, praying the rosary is never the same afterward. Memories of those pilgrimages bring the rosary to life and enrich our prayer life.
So I’d like to invite you to take a virtual pilgrimage with me, to the Holy Land and to Fátima, to see the places where the mysteries of the rosary took place, and where the heavens were opened to allow the Queen of Heaven passage.
For those of you who have been, be reminded.
For those of you who want to go, let me encourage you.
For those of you who cannot make the trip, come along for the virtual ride.
(Visit The Faithful Traveler for more inspired travel resources from Diana von Glahn.)