Hello Rosary lovers! In this post we will look at the question: is the Rosary the highest form of prayer?
On this site, we promote the Rosary and our Holy Mother Mary. We love the holy Virgin and her Rosary and we seek to always bring Jesus glory by directing attention to his most pure Mother.
The Saints and the Rosary
The Rosary of our Lady is an extremely high form of prayer. It has been a favourite of countless saints. We have quotes on this site which show just how highly valued the Rosary is:
“The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying.” – Pope Leo XIII
“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God.” – St Pope Pius X
“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” – Blessed Pope Pius IX
“The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.” – St Francis de Sales
It would seem from these quotations from various authorities in the Catholic Church that no prayer is greater than the Rosary.
However, this isn’t the whole story. Two things need to be taken into consideration when reading these quotes.
Mass is the Bedrock of the Life of Every Saint
The first is that every person who said these things knew FOR SURE that the Mass is, obviously, the very highest prayer the Church can offer God. This is so taken for granted that to suggest otherwise would be absolutely ridiculous.
It would be like me saying that eating is the most important thing a person can do, when obviously I realise that breathing or a heartbeat is even more fundamental.
So when St Francis de Sales says that the Rosary is the greatest method of praying, he does not mean of ALL prayers without exception. He is talking, strictly, about an individual’s private devotions. That’s why he says ‘method of praying’. He’s talking about devotational methods, in the privacy of our own lives.
And truly, yes, when it comes to private devotions, there isn’t a higher form of personal prayer than the Rosary. This is because the Rosary is made up of all of the most important prayers for private devotion: the Lord’s prayer, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.
Not to mention that the Rosary is essentially a concise meditation on the entire life of Christ, which is effectively meditation on Scripture and on the Gospel.
It goes without saying that anything that mixes all of these elements together into one devotion is surely going to be unbeatable as a private devotion.
This is why the Rosary gets all of the high endorsements above. This is also why the Rosary is so popular in the Catholic Church, and why it is so warmly recommended.
The Goal of the Rosary IS the Holy Mass
The second thing to consider when reading these quotes is this: whatever these saints and Popes say about the Rosary, they NEVER intend it to be separate from the Holy Mass.
The Rosary is, if you like, an extension of the Mass. The Rosary is inseparable from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
In fact, in the past, when the Mass was in Latin, many would recite the Rosary whilst the Mass was being performed. St Pope Pius X even says in his Catechism that this is acceptable and a good way to attend Mass.
So the Mass and Rosary belong together. The Rosary flows out from the Mass into our personal devotions and personal walk with Christ outside of Mass, when Mass is finished.
Unfortunately, we cannot spend all the time at Mass. We are not in heaven yet. Heaven is the eternal Mass. Mass is a window of time when we get to truly share in that eternal Mass that always goes on in heaven.
But we always have to return to this earthly plane. At the end of Mass, the priest says: ‘Go forth, the Mass is ended.’ This signals that Mass, in our locality, is over, until the next Mass.
What Mass does is to give us POWER and spiritual strength to go out and live for Christ. That’s why another ending for Mass is often: ‘Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.’ Mass gives us the encouragement and the spiritual power to leave the Church and go out and call others to the Faith.
Part of this is to pray in our own private lives. And it is in this context that the Rosary surpasses all other private prayers.
The Rosary receives its power in our private lives from the Mass. And when someone devotes themselves to the Rosary, it will lead them to the Mass, and to be more devoted to the Holy Sacrifice of Christ.
So, is the Rosary the highest form of prayer? Yes and no.
It’s the highest form of prayer in our own devotional lives, although we might also wish to say that the Divine Office is equally great.
But if we mean absolutely speaking, in every context, then no, the Rosary is FAR surpassed by an infinite degree by the Mass. Because no prayer could ever come close to the Mass.
Mass is the Holy Offering of Christ as Victim to God for the living and the dead. And no prayer we perform could ever come close to Christ’s Offering of worship to God.
So if I had to pick between Mass and the Rosary, I would choose Mass every time.
And so would the authorities quoted above.
Without Mass, there’s no point to the Rosary. If the Rosary didn’t lead us to Mass, it would be said in vain and it would be pointless in our lives. The Rosary points to Mass, and the great Goal of the Rosary is to bring us to Mass.
This is why the Rosary is a sacramental, NOT a sacrament. A sacramental disposes our hearts to receive all the graces which come immediately through the sacraments. But a sacramental does NOT have the power of a sacrament in and of itself.
Thankfully, we don’t have to choose between the Rosary and the Mass. And so I would warmly encourage you to give yourself both to the Holy Rosary in your private life, and to the Mass every day, or as often as you can.
May God bless you in your spiritual journey. Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.