Ring-a-round the Rosary

I first started this journey of exploring the many prayer and spiritual disciplines to enrich my prayer life.  The need for new prayer practices was in large part due to my inability to sit still or pay attention for any length of time.  The rosary is the perfect response to the effects of my ADD and OCD tendencies on my prayer life.  The first time I prayed the rosary, it took awhile because I was learning the pattern.  In the end, I was surprised I sat still for 20 minutes and had been able to focus my attention on prayer for the whole period of time. 

The difficulty with ADD and OCD tendencies is that I can’t stay focused very long, but I obsess about something when I do get focused.  With the rosary, I can say a rosary for a specific intent or a few specific concerns or just to spend some quiet time with God.  After 15-20 minutes, I feel confident that I have completely entrusted my concern to God.  A new sense of peace falls upon me each time I pray the rosary because I have spent some quality quiet time with God.  It turns out that the peace of Christ is one of the intents of praying the rosary!

The rosary recitation calls on God, Christ, the Spirit, and the mother Mary while meditating on the mysteries of God in Christ.  There has been a renewed interest in Christian contemplative tradition and the rosary is as old as the traditions of the Desert Fathers.  “Praying the rosary is a beloved Catholic custom that links the Gospel and contemplative prayer.”

I feel the need to explain Mary veneration before I give some instruction to praying the rosary.  I know that many Protestants have questions about the veneration of Mary and the saints in practices typically associated with the Orthodox or Catholic traditions.  Mary and the saints are not worshipped.  As the Franciscan Friars in the Province of St. John the Baptist of the Order of Friars Minor, a person or thing that is worshiped is deemed to be Diving or God.  Worship should not be confused with reverence, i.e. veneration.  Saints, like Mary, are held in esteem because they are “such wonderful images or mirrors of Christ.”  “We honor them because we desire to imitate them.  We pray to them the same as we call upon earthly friends to do a favor for us.”   ( http://www.americancatholic.org/features/customs/rosary/mary_worship.asp)

The best instructions I found for praying the rosary can be found at: http://www.newadvent.org/images/rosary.pdf.  Though, I first prayed the rosary with Mother Angelica during a EWTN channel program.  EWTN has a number of programs on air regularly that allow you to pray the rosary with a leader.  I found some web sites that offered instruction on the rosary but none were as easy to understand as the instructions on the New Advent page. 

The bead between each decade invites you to announce (meditate on) a mystery of Christ.  I offer the following information about the mysteries from: http://www.medjugorje.org/rosary.htm.  The explanations describe the name of a mystery, the mood of a mystery, when to say a mystery, what to meditate on, and a corresponding Scripture.

The Joyful Mysteries
(Said on Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays of Advent, and Sundays from Epiphany until Lent)

First Joyful Mystery – The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary
I Desire the Love Of Humility
Think of…The humility of the Blessed Virgin when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with these words: “Hail full of grace”.  Luke 1:26

Second Joyful Mystery – The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
I Desire Charity Toward My Neighbor
Think of…Mary’s charity in visiting her cousin Elizabeth and remaining with her for three months before the birth of John the Baptist.  Luke 1:39

Third Joyful Mystery – The Birth of Jesus
I Desire the Love of God
Think of…The poverty, so lovingly accepted by Mary when she placed the Infant Jesus, our God and Redeemer, in a manger in the stable of Bethlehem.  Luke 2:1

Fourth Joyful Mystery – The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
I Desire a Spirit of Sacrifice
Think of…Mary’s obedience to the law of God in presenting the Child Jesus in the Temple.  Luke 2:22

Fifth Joyful Mystery – Finding Jesus in the Temple
I desire Zeal For The Glory Of God
Think of…The deep sorrow with which Mary sought the Child Jesus for three days, and the joy with which she found Him in the midst of the Teachers of the Temple.  Luke 2:41

The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Said on Tuesdays, Fridays, and daily from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday)

First Sorrowful Mystery – Agony of Jesus in the Garden
I Desire True Repentance for My Sins
Think of…Our Lord Jesus in the garden of Gethsemani, suffering a bitter agony for our sins.  Matthew 26:36

Second Sorrowful Mystery – Jesus is Scourged at the Pillar
I Desire a Spirit of Mortification
Think of…The cruel scourging at the pillar that our Lord suffered; the heavy blows that tore His flesh.  Matthew 27:26

Third Sorrowful Mystery – Jesus is Crowned With Thorns
I Desire Moral Courage.
Think of…The crown of sharp thorns that was forced upon our Lord’s Head and the patience with which He endured the pain for our sins.  Matthew 27:27

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery – Jesus Carries His Cross
I Desire the Virtue of Patience
Think of…The heavy Cross, so willingly carried by our Lord, and ask Him to help you to carry your crosses without complaint.  Matthew 27:32

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery – The Crucifixion of Jesus
I Desire the Grace of Final Perseverance
Think of…The love which filled Christ’s Sacred Heart during His three hours’ agony on the Cross, and ask Him to be with you at the hour of death.  Matthew 27:33

The Glorious Mysteries
(Said on Wednesdays, and Sundays throughout the year)

First Glorious Mystery – The Resurrection of Jesus
I Desire a Strong Faith
Think of…Christ’s glorious triumph when, on the third day after His death, He arose from the tomb and for forty days appeared to His Blessed Mother and to His disciples.  John 20:1

Second Glorious Mystery – The Ascension of Jesus
I Desire the Virtue of Hope
Think of…The Ascension of Jesus Christ, forty days after His glorious Resurrection, in the presence of Mary and His disciples.  Luke 24:36

Third Glorious Mystery – The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
I Desire Zeal for the Glory of God
Think of…The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles, under the form of tongues of fire, in fulfillment of Christ’s promise.  Acts 2:1

Fourth Glorious Mystery – The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
I Desire the Grace of a Holy Death
Think of…The glorious Assumption of Mary into Heaven, when she was united with her Divine Son. 

Fifth Glorious Mystery – The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
I Desire a Greater Love for the Blessed Virgin Mary
Think of…The glorious crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven by her Divine Son, to the great joy of all the Saints.

The Luminous Mysteries
(Said on Thursdays throughout the year)

First Luminous Mystery – The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:17

The Second Luminous Mystery – The Wedding at Cana, Christ Manifested
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.  John 2:11

The Third Luminous Mystery – the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:15

The Fourth Luminous Mystery – The Transfiguration of Jesus
And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
Matthew 17:2

The Fifth Luminous Mystery – The Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.  Matthew 26:26


One thought on “Ring-a-round the Rosary

  1. Pingback: Imitation and Worship 122011 « Mennonite Preacher

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