A saint’s suggestions for praying the rosary

POPE PRAYS ROSARY AT POMPEII SANCTUARYIStJP2 issued his Apostolic Letter on the Rosary 13 years ago this month, It included these suggestions for praying the rosary:

  1. n. 19 …….I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ’s public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion.
  2. n. 29 Announcing each mystery, and perhaps even using a suitable icon to portray it, is as it were to open up a scenario on which to focus our attention.
  3. n. 30 …….In order to supply a Biblical foundation and greater depth to our meditation, it is helpful to follow the announcement of the mystery with the proclamation of a related Biblical passage, long or short, depending on the circumstances. No other words can ever match the efficacy of the inspired word. As we listen, we are certain that this is the word of God, spoken for today and spoken “for me”
  4. n. 30 ……In certain solemn communal celebrations, this word can be appropriately illustrated by a brief commentary.
  5. n. 31 …….After the announcement of the mystery and the proclamation of the word, it is fitting to pause and focus one’s attention for a suitable period of time on the mystery concerned, before moving into vocal prayer. A discovery of the importance of silence is one of the secrets of practicing contemplation and meditation. One drawback of a society dominated by technology and the mass media is the fact that silence becomes increasingly difficult to achieve. Just as moments of silence are recommended in the Liturgy, so too in the recitation of the Rosary it is fitting to pause briefly after listening to the word of God, while the mind focuses on the content of a particular mystery.
  6. n. 33 …….The center of gravity in the Hail Mary, the hinge as it were which joins its two parts, is the name of Jesus. Sometimes, in hurried recitation, this center of gravity can be overlooked, and with it the connection to the mystery of Christ being contemplated. Yet it is precisely the emphasis given to the name of Jesus and to his mystery that is the sign of a meaningful and fruitful recitation of the Rosary. Pope Paul VI drew attention, in his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, to the custom in certain regions of highlighting the name of Christ by the addition of a clause referring to the mystery being contemplated.37 This is a praiseworthy custom, especially during public recitation
  7. n. 34 Trinitarian doxology is the goal of all Christian contemplation. For Christ is the way that leads us to the Father in the Spirit. If we travel this way to the end, we repeatedly encounter the mystery of the three divine Persons, to whom all praise, worship and thanksgiving are due. It is important that the Gloria, the high-point of contemplation, be given due prominence in the Rosary. In public recitation it could be sung, as a way of giving proper emphasis to the essentially Trinitarian structure of all Christian prayer.
  8. n. 35 …….In current practice, the Trinitarian doxology is followed by a brief concluding prayer which varies according to local custom. Without in any way diminishing the value of such invocations, it is worthwhile to note that the contemplation of the mysteries could better express their full spiritual fruitfulness if an effort were made to conclude each mystery with a prayer for the fruits specific to that particular mystery. In this way the Rosary would better express its connection with the Christian life.
  9. n. 37 ……. The Rosary is then ended with a prayer for the intentions of the Pope, as if to expand the vision of the one praying to embrace all the needs of the Church. It is precisely in order to encourage this ecclesial dimension of the Rosary that the Church has seen fit to grant indulgences to those who recite it with the required dispositions.
  10. n. 38 ……. Where might the “mysteries of light” be inserted? If we consider that the “glorious mysteries” are said on both Saturday and Sunday, and that Saturday has always had a special Marian flavour, the second weekly meditation on the “joyful mysteries”, mysteries in which Mary’s presence is especially pronounced, could be moved to Saturday. Thursday would then be free for meditating on the “mysteries of light”.

Our Redeemer is praying for us

One short sentence from this past Sunday’s Gospel reading has been reverberating in my mind all week.  Jesus, speaking to the Father about his apostles, said in John 17:9a:

I pray for them.

Jesus prayed for his apostles, and he continues today to pray for all of us, as we are told in Hebrews 7:25:

…[Jesus] is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

As I repeatedly think about Jesus, the King of Kings, praying for me, I am profoundly humbled.  I almost immediately begin to think of how easily I neglect Jesus amid the busyness of my life, or how I selfishly prefer to do things other than pray or read the Bible.  Jesus’ words from Matthew 26:40 echo in my mind:

So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?

I am surely grateful to Jesus that he continues to pray for me, that he is faithful even though I am so often unfaithful to him.

Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, have mercy on me.

UPDATE:  From the Catechism:

667  Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“The Lord carries us on his shoulders…”

In his homily at daily Mass yesterday, Pope Francis provided an excellent teaching on maintaining our joy in suffering, and the true meaning of patience during times of trial.  I am not very good at this.  I am still far too focused on myself, on my security, on my comfort.  I often look to blame someone for my difficulties.  Mostly I blame myself, at times I blame others, and sometimes I cry out to God questioning His lack of intervention on my behalf.

However, I was strongly convicted of my self-centeredness when Pope Francis said “The Lord carries us on his shoulders, with a lot of patience.”  How easily my self-absorption causes me to forget that God is always there, always near.  The foundation for all growth in holiness is remembering that God first loves us, and understanding the depth of God’s love for us.  God wants us to freely love Him in return, especially by trusting Him.  I should be increasing that love and trust of God in my own life by remembering the sufferings of Jesus (and uniting my own sufferings to them, and offering them for others), by taking time to recall with deep gratitude the ways in which God provides for me and protects me (and my loved ones) each day.  I need to encounter Jesus every day in heartfelt personal prayer based upon Sacred Scripture.  This will help my selfishness to diminish, and enable me to live in patient joy during difficult times.