Someone asked: A friend prayed the rosary using his fingers. I knew his prayers were still efficacious. But it made me wonder, why the blessing on the Rosary beads, and what does a blessing add it?”
This is easy but also a complicated question.
Sacramentals are prayers. We pray with words, and we pray with gestures like the sign of the cross, bended knees, bowed heads and so on. We pray with physical objects too. Such as lighting the candle, a crucifix, setting up a Nativity scene. Now when we start to pray, praying alone is great, praying with others is better, but praying in union with the church is even the best of all and it is the same when we pray with these blessed objects. It is true that it would be great when a Priest prays with you after Mass but that would be a one-time thing.
When a Priest blesses your Rosary as an “officer of the church” your prayer is united with his blessings, and that is not only greater but also not a one-time thing.
Therefore, praying with a blessed object unites your prayer with the prayer of the one who blessed it, and with what he represents – the Church, through the Chair of Saint Peter.
The easy answer is that when you say the rosary on a rosary that has been blessed, you gain an indulgence.
The complicated answer begs the question, “What is the deal with blessed objects?” When You ask this, it means you are asking how effective are Sacramental and it is also like asking if prayers are effective.
Blessed Sacramentals are like an electric circuit or a switch per se from God and a reminder of our faith. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1670, they do not confer grace on people who use them, they prepare and dispose of the user for grace so that the liturgy of the Sacraments and the sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from Christ. The first part is easy. When you receive a blessing, the Grace of God flows through the blessing. It’s like an electric current from you to God.
It is like when you flip a light switch you actually did not turn on the light. The switch turns it on by connecting with the wires in the wall, which are connected to a giant power grid. When you flip the switch you simply demonstrate your willingness to have the light on. You actually have no power whatsoever if I am to say.
Relating that to your blessed object, like a holy card, it is a reminder of that which makes us holy. It’s your willingness to make the connection that brings power. You have no power. The blessing is the switch and wire in the walls to the Giant Power Grid.
Now it is possible that when you pray the rosary using your fingers, your prayers could be heard by God, but what is the essence of going through a long, rigorous and technical process when you can simply turn on the light by flipping the light switch?
This might not be the best example, but I hope it the simplest explanation to a layman or a separated brethren.