While the Rosary is primarily a method of prayer that brings us closer to God, it can also be called a “preacher,” teaching us virtues to imitate.
Fr. John Proctor in his book, The Rosary Guide for Priests and People, explains how the Rosary “is a preacher as well as a teacher. As a teacher it tells him what he is to believe; as a preacher it makes known to him what he has to do … It leads man to the knowledge of the life of Christ, and then to the following of His ways, the practice of His virtues, the imitation of His life amongst men.”
Not only does it teach us virtue through the meditation on the life of Jesus Christ, but also through the life of the Virgin Mary, “The Rosary reveals to us, for our encouragement, Mary as the pattern of all virtues.”
In a particular, Proctor proposes three virtues that we can all learn through the recitation of the Rosary.
How to teach children to appreciate the value of saying the Rosary
Throughout the mysteries of the Rosary, humility is held up and permeates each decade.
Humility is the foundation of our spiritual building, without which, like a crazy temple, it must topple down. You find it in every decade. The Incarnation is the mystery of deepest humility—the Highest becomes the Lowest, the Greatest the Least, the All-Wise a Child, the Mighty God a weak Babe…In the Sorrowful mysteries it is all humility-from the Garden to the Mountain, one prolonged, unbroken act of deepest humility and humiliation. Even in the triumphs, commemorated in the Glorious decades, you meditate upon the exaltation of the Humble. Mary, too, is revealed to us throughout as the humble “handmaid of the Lord.“
A virtue that is often difficult for us to learn is obedience, and it too is featured throughout the Rosary.
Obedience again, the twin virtue of humility, which is born with it at the same birth and of the same mother, grows with it, gains or loses strength with it, dies or lives with it-obedience is to the Rosary mysteries what the thread is to the woven web. Our Lord came—why? “That I should do your will, O my God.” “Not My will, but yours be done” was the motto of the divine life on earth.
Another difficult virtue that is highlighted throughout the Rosary is detachment, not being attached to earthly things.
Detachment and poverty of spirit. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus said, but before He preached it by word He preached it by example of life. The stable, the poor mother, the working-man as foster father, the poor cottage, the disciples who were men of the people, the nakedness on the Cross, the burial in a borrowed grave. Surely all this, which won the heart of St. Francis, meant espousals and fidelity to “Lady Poverty.”