We all love good stories either in written book form, shared orally, or seen visually through modern technology. Stories bring our imagination to life and usher us into another experience. The drama of stories draws us in to think beyond our limited personal experience. Have you ever noticed when you have a series of books, movies, or episodes that you feel a part of the story and it is like sitting with friends sharing life together? Well, the gift of the Rosary is like that of a great “book” shared in a very special way. We are invited to sit with Mary as she reflects upon the events of her and her Son, Jesus’ life. We can imagine it is like the days of youth when we curled next to our parents for reading time, except that we are invited into the greatest story ever told — the life of Jesus!
The Second “R” of the Rosary is reflection!
Through the repetition of the beautiful prayers of the Rosary, our minds are called to reflect upon the events of Jesus’ life through the eyes of Our Lady. Mary invites us into the gifts of these events, calling us each time we pray to feel more connected and to appreciate more the gifts of Jesus’ life. Each event in Jesus’ life is not just a past event that we study but rather a gift of grace and a moment of connecting deeper with His love for us. The beauty of reflection is that the more we spend time with Jesus the more we can truly fall in love with Him and create a life-changing relationship with Him.
There are four sets of Mysteries of the Rosary, and each mystery contains five events to reflect upon so a total of 20 events. The Joyful Mysteries allow us to reflect upon events of the Annunciation through Jesus’ early childhood. Then comes the Luminous Mysteries, where we can reflect on the years of Jesus’ public ministry from His Baptism through the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. This leads us to the Sorrowful Mysteries of His Passion beginning with the Agony in the Garden and concluding with the Crucifixion. The last set of Rosary Mysteries is the Glorious Mysteries from the Resurrection of Jesus to Mary’s Coronation.
At the start of each decade, the Mystery is announced that will be reflected upon. Some Rosary guides will give us a short meditation on the mystery. This will engage our minds in what to reflect on during the prayers of the decade.
Our minds or the bodies of our wigglier family members might wander as we pray the Rosary. All we can do is to gently recall ourselves back to the event. Focusing on being a part of the story — what would it have been like to be Mary learning she was to be the Mother of Jesus, or what about the Apostles at the Last Supper trying to comprehend the gift of the Eucharist? Finding ways to focus and engage our imagination is important for successful reflection on the Mystery.
One very effective way to reflect on the Mystery of the Rosary is through what is called a Scriptural Rosary. Before each Hail Mary, we say a specific Biblical passage that we can focus on while praying. By giving our minds one specific phrase or part of the Mystery between each Hail Mary, we can allow our often-shorter attention spans to have something simple to focus on. It allows us to hear the storylines of the mystery instead of trying to remember the events on our own. Here are some Scriptural Rosary options:
- A Scriptural Rosary with additional audio version
- The Scriptural Rosary in printable booklet format
- A Scriptural Rosary for the Family by the Knights of Columbus
Another way is to pray before pictures of each mystery to engage our minds in a more visual fashion for those with don’t easily paint pictures of events in their mind. There are many options online but here is one- The Hail Mary in pictures. This allows our mind to see the event and reflect with visual clues just like the Stations of the Cross. Posters or pictures of the Rosary mysteries can be found online that can be posted on a wall or printed for children to have in hand to look at as they pray. Rosary videos online can also walk us through the Rosary with pictures to view that will enable participation in reflection a little easier.
Each set of mysteries invites us to sit with Mary and ponder these profound events. Mary is sharing with us story of her Son, Jesus! Sit with Mary and allow her to show us how to ponder these events in our hearts like she did. We will be amazed at the more we reflect with Mary on Jesus’ life the more we become like both of them- full of love!
I leave us this week with some deep thought regarding the Rosary,
“The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.” ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Archbishop Fulton Sheen quote retrieved from https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/how-to-pray-13648
Author: Laura Stephens, FF Homeschool Coordinator