Some folks think that the Rosary is simply a recitation of prayers: Our Father, Hail Mary, etc. But, the prayers are only half of the deal, the other half is meditating on the mysteries. That’s why the Rosary is often called “the Gospel on beads.” If you’re not reflecting on the life of Christ (and Mary), then you’re not doing it right.
If you’re not well versed in the mysteries of the Rosary: it’s time to get well versed. Grab one of those little prayer booklets at the back of Church that’ll guide you in praying the Rosary with all of the mysteries.
The four sets of mysteries include the Joyful, the Luminous, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious. Each covers events in Christ’s life. Starting with the Joyful mysteries of Christ’s birth and childhood. Then, on to the Luminous which include His public ministry, teaching, miracles, etc. Then, the Sorrowful mysteries of His passion and death. And finally, the Glorious cover His resurrection, ascension, and Mary’s assumption and coronation. By completing all of the mysteries, we meditate on the greatest story ever told: the Gospel.
It sounds a little strange to say this, but the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are my favorite. And, I think it’s because they’re the most human, the ones we can identify with the most. The Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning of Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion.
Each mystery calls to mind difficult emotions and various kinds of pain. Dread, humiliation, ridicule, physical pain, the weight of a burden – we’ve all felt these in some form, probably not as intense as Christ did. But, these are the mysteries in which we can identify with Christ, and not only that but console Him. The Sorrowful mysteries are the low points of the Gospel story, when man is at his worst, but it’s through these mysteries that Christ shows us the way.
As we approach Easter, take time to pray the Rosary, and reflect on the Sorrowful mysteries. Follow Christ on the way of the cross.