Church of the Visitation
This special gift given to the Church.
This week one of the topics for our summer CCD classes was the Rosary and I was able to pray and talk to our children regarding its history and spirituality. Doing so, I was reminded about my own introduction to this prayer. One weekend, my late wife and I were at Mass in the Highland Park church we attended and the priest asked us, while we were leaving, to take one of the slips of paper on which were written the deceased in the parish and to pray a Rosary for them. I did so and for that week - very awkwardly since I didn't really know how to or even what the mysteries were - said a decade on my way to work. When the week was finished I decided that I would look a little deeper into the devotion, soon saying a full Rosary on my commute and eventually even learning each of the decades. In the intervening years since, I now feel that the day is missing something important if I haven't yet taken time to say the Rosary.
Part of Church tradition since it was given to
by the Blessed Virgin Mary during an
apparition in 1214
, the Rosary is more than an old repetitive prayer. It's a powerful devotion that can transform hearts. By entering into and reflecting upon each event of the lives of Jesus and Mary that are described in each Mystery it can be an opportunity to give Jesus - in the few minutes that we can say a single decade or the five decades that comprise each set of mysteries - a chance to speak to us on how that Mystery can be relevant in our own life.
For example: the second Sorrowful Mystery - Jesus is Crowned with Thorns. During our prayer time in this Mystery, we can reflect upon the weight of concerns that press down upon our own heads each day, seeming to cut into us much as thorns would. While joining in our way the sufferings of Christ, we can ask for his help in bearing them, bringing them to his heavenly Father for guidance and strength. In each Mystery, we are able to identify an issue that would affect us or someone around us and offer that sorrow, joy, triumph and question up for divine aid.
If that might seem a little too "lofty" to attempt in your spiritual life right now, I would offer a suggestion that I gave to the CCD students: many times in life we find ourselves waiting, whether it is waiting for someone to finish a task, waiting for a program to start or waiting in one of the many lines that life throws at us. Rather than getting madder at the person(s) causing the delay or getting frustrated that something may not be ready to start when we are, using that time in prayer can open our hearts and minds to better understanding and Christian behavior. You don't even need to have a Rosary on hand - although it never hurts to keep one in your pocket "just in case" - you can just say each "Hail Mary" using the fingers of both hands, which will cover a decade quite nicely and can be used over and over again for other Mysteries!
For your reference, to pray the Rosary:
Beginning on the short strand:
sign of the cross
, still on the Crucifix;
at the first large bead (for the intentions of the
and the needs of the
on each of the next three beads (for the three
on the next large bead.
Then each Mystery is prayed starting with the Lord's Prayer, ten Hail Mary's and concluding with the Glory Be and the optional
The Mysteries are:
(typically said on Monday & Saturday)
The Annunciation of the Lord to Mary
The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
The Presentation of our Lord
Finding Jesus in the Temple at age 12
(typically said on Tuesday & Friday)
The Agony of Jesus in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
Jesus is Crowned with Thorns
Jesus Carried the Cross
The Crucifixion of our Lord
(typically said on Wednesday & Sunday)
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven
The Descent of the Holy Ghost
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
Mary is Crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth
In 2002 St. John Paul II introduced the Mysteries of Light (also called the Luminous Mysteries) with his
Apostolic Letter on the Rosary of the Virgin Mary
(typically said on Thursday)
The Baptism in the Jordan
The Wedding at Cana
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
The Institution of the Eucharist
The Rosary can be said privately or with a group. The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ's spirit dwells.
If I had an army to say the Rosary, I could conquer the world.
Blessed Pope Pius IX
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
Praying the Rosary Like Never Before:
Dr. Edward Sri is a nationally sought Catholic speaker who appears regularly on EWTN, and is a founding leader of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). In this discussion of his book
The New Rosary in Scripture: Biblical Insights on Praying the Twenty Mysteries
(Servant Books), Dr. Sri shares Saint John Paul II's practical strategies for praying the Rosary better so you can encounter Jesus more deeply in prayer.
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Sent by Fr. Ed Blanchett on Friday, July 21 at 3:00PM