Community prayer and the Holy Rosary-A A +A
By Benny Balweg
Friday, October 11, 2013
PRAYER is electricity at work. It is energy at source, activated and activating. Before that, there is nothing but mere potency, just waiting to be tapped; an inert power, waiting to be harnessed.
Whoever has passed by the brims of the Ambuklao Dam on his way from Baguio to Aritao or vice versa has seen the giant dam, unmoving stored water. But then as the proper valve is opened to let go the heretofore immobile water towards a nozzle directed to a turbine, you can watch the start of miracles upon miracles of unbelievable phenomena that were formerly only in the minds of geniuses. The same with prayer; the spillway that is the mind of the person praying must be concentrated. Without concentration, there is no power needed to turn the turbine, meaning, we cannot achieve what we would like to achieve by the prayer.
Aside from concentration, there is in prayer the importantly helpful element of magnification. Power can be magnified or amplified. This is easily illustrated to the ordinary man in sound systems. Amplification in prayer is done through community prayer. For this reason we have churches. Church in the real sense is a community of people in prayer (communing in spirit with God), not the church building that we usually point to when we speak of church. But the amplification is not brought about just by the physical gathering but by the conviction that it holds as regards the power to attain an identified purpose. This conviction is commonly termed faith in religious congregations, an unquestioning trust or belief.
Outside the Holy Mass, the foremost community prayer among Roman Catholics is the Holy Rosary to which the month of October is officially dedicated. It is popular because it is simple, attractive and purposive. It combines meditation on the divine, verbal communication, and acknowledgement of our own inadequacy. It brings people together and enhances their camaraderie. The employment of the Lord's prayer, Our Father, itself indicates full faith in God's acceptance of what is prayer for. The Hail Mary bolsters that faith because of the intercession of a powerful and most pleasing mediatrix, no other that God's Mother herself.
One question often directed against Holy Rosary Prayer is the "repetitiousness" of the Hail Mary. This question only strengthens our position that prayer is energy that is activated and activating. The syllabicated sounds that we make are more for inducing and magnifying the power stored in us by the Creator who chose to work in us and through us. Whatever helps in that idea of co-creationism, whether it be for adoration, thanksgiving, atonement, reparation or petition, from the part of man, is welcome. The same response can be given to the other question why pray still through Christ's Mother and not directly through Christ Himself. Beside this, however, I would like to add to the answer by means of an allegorical observation.
Yesterday very early in the morning in Bauang, La Union, upon my arrival from the highlands, I saw my brother-in-law and active BARP member, Gerardo Cacayuran Ancheta, sitting in front of his computer where the prayer of the rosary was coming from. I was a bit surprised because for sure he was not just a kneel-and-fold-your-hands man even during his student days at SLU in Baguio. As an Engineering student, he was full of why, why, why in matters of doing things. But there he was, still immobile, not ready to be disturbed as he seemed sincerely interacting with the leader of the rosary prayer as practiced in Quinavite, Bauang during the month of October. He, Gerry? The operator, manager and sometimes the surrogate cashier of those unfeeling rice mill machines now joining in what was traditionally considered by some busy men as concern only for the old women?
I looked at the piles of sacks of grains ready to be milled or already milled and what grace they would bring to thousands of hungry clients. Did he learn from those machines? I smiled to myself, as I proceeded to the second-floor of the family house. The repetitious bog bog bog of the rice mills were not monotonous anymore, much less irritating. They began to sound like the sough-for repeated Hail Marys of the Holy Rosary: source of benefits, non-debatable for form.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 12, 2013.