The rosary

Published October 1, 2020, 4:26 PM

by Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ


Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

The rosary has been the favorite prayer of recent Popes. It was the rosary to which they attributed the victory at: Lepanto in which the Muslim thrust to conquer Europe was stopped. The rosary is a prayer that uses both our mental and physical capacities. As we repeat the words of praise and petitions to Our Lady, we review the life of Our Lord.

There are four different kinds of mysteries we pray. The first is the childhood mysteries starting with the annunciation of the angel that Mary had been chosen by God to be the human mother of His Son. Then her walking the long trip to help her cousin Elisabeth, who in her old age was pregnant with John the Baptist. Then the favorite of the Filipinos, the birth of Our Savior and Lord in a stable in Bethlehem. Then, the exile to Egypt to protect the Child from Herod who did not want a new ruler in the Messiah. Then, the offering of the first born in the temple, and Simeon thanking God for his privilege of having seen the Messiah. “Lord now You can dismiss Your servant.” And the last of these mysteries is the loss and finding of the Child in the temple. And His spending the rest of 30 years in Nazareth as an ordinary carpenter.

After the infancy mysteries, come the more recently approved of the mysteries of light, concerning the public life of Jesus. The first is his baptism in the river Jordan with John the Baptist remonstrating that it should be he to be baptized by Jesus. And when Jesus insisted he proclaimed that he was not worth to untie the shoes of the Messiah. The second mystery is the turning of water into wine in the wedding feast in Cana. Mary was concerned that the newlyweds would be embarrassed because the wine had run out. In spite of His objections, she just told the waiters to do as He instructed. He asked them to fill the six water jars with water and then to serve it to the guest master who then rebuked the groom for reserving the good wine for the last. Then the third mystery is the proclamation of the kingdom. Here we have all the three years of His preaching. In this period He raised at least three dead persons to life — the young girl, the son of the widow of Naim, and Lazarus His friend. He also multiplied the loaves and fishes at least twice and rebuked the wind and the waves and walked on water. He made many miracles curing the sick including Peter’s mother-in-law. But He did not want the people to proclaim Him the Messiah who will save the Jews against the Romans. The fourth mystery is the Transfiguration in which His face shone like the sun and there appeared with Him the giants of the Old Testament: Moses and Elijah. Peter was so enthusiastic that he promised to build three tents for Jesus and His visitors. The last mystery is the last supper in which He made the miracle of changing the bread into His own body and the wine into His blood and instructed the Apostles to do it in memory of Him. This last supper together with the crucifixion make the last and ultimate sacrifice of the Son to the Father.

The third kind of mystery is the mysteries of the Passion. Here the Way of the Cross is helpful. Following the Way of the Cross will give enough material to meditate on as we say the Hail Mary’s. The fifth and last mystery is basically the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross. Here then are some thoughts for meditating on the life of Jesus. These are just potent suggestions. Each one can figure out some episode in the life of Jesus to meditate on. Clearly this is why the rosary has been a favorite form of prayer.

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