Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, August 06, 2007

More Rosary-ness. (LONG)

About a week ago, I posted something detailing the Scriptural underpinnings of the Rosary and using as an example the Sorrowful Mysteries.

Well, I have received some very nice messages on the matter and, because I am all about the popular demand thing, here is another using today's Mysteries...the Joyful. Forgive me if I retread over old ground for the benefit of those who stumble on this for the first time.

This originally came out as a result of my having stumbled on a blog by someone who was having a very, VERY rough time with devotions. The Rosary, in particular, proved difficult due to all those Hail Marys.

As I said previously, much like St. Philip explaining Scripture to the eunuch, the Rosary is Mary taking us by the hand and meditating on Scripture. The Rosary isn't a prayer to some goddess, it's Mary highlighting certain crucial aspects of the life and ministry of her son, Our Lord.

Y'see, most people assume the Rosary is some sort of pattern of prayers: __ Our Fathers, __ Hail Marys, etc. But it's not. These are the background music, the score if you will to our meditating on certain seminal aspects of Christ. If you see a movie (say, Going My Way to use a perfectly innocent example) that has a song ("Swingin' on a Star") would you say the film is about people using astronomical bodies as trapezes? No, you wouldn't. The music is there to further the narrative of the film. Same as the Rosary. These narrative episodes upon which we are to meditate are called "Mysteries" and that means something we will never fully understand on this side of Heaven.

We must not get hung up on is the word “Mysteries.” Usually, when we think of Mysteries we think of Sherlock Holmes. We have been conditioned to think of mysteries as things to solve, or at the very least things to bang our heads about. But this isn’t that kind of mystery. This kind of mystery means something that we cannot, and will never be able to, fully wrap our brains around. We can and should TRY to understand more and more, but you have a better shot at putting an ocean in a bucket. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just say that each set of mysteries are really the names -- like I-95 or The Florida Turnpike -- for roads by which we come to Christ.

Furthermore, the Rosary is not unbiblical. First of all, the word "unbiblical" drives me mental. The manual to my new cell phone is "unbiblical." That doesn't mean Satan is behind it. The word some are groping for is "anti-biblical." Which the Rosary, most emphatically, is's the exact opposite.

It is important to realize that as Christians, we rely on the Bible to provide the structure for what we believe, but as Catholics we also have knowledge passed down from Jesus Himself directly through the Apostles (Sacred Tradition) to help us properly interpret the writings of the Bible. Think of your grandma and her favorite cookbook. It doesn’t really matter how good the recipes are...if she can’t make out the letters because she doesn’t have her glasses on. The Bible is, in a way, our cookbook, and the Sacred Tradition given directly to the Apostles by Christ and passed on throughout time, is “our set of eyeglasses.”

So what does this have to do with the Rosary? The Rosary puts into prayer the writings of the Bible, through the prayers we recite and the mysteries we contemplate. The more you read the Bible, the more of an impact these prayers and meditations will have on you, and the more you pray and meditate the more you will understand what God is telling you in the Bible.

So, after this long and meandering preamble, I'll post now what I discuss with my CCD students on the Scriptural rootedness of the Rosary. I hope you derive a new (or better) appreciation for the Rosary. There will be a quiz next class.

To help with the meditation on the Mysteries, we have a Scripture verse to be said before each Hail Mary. There is no “official” list of what verse goes with what Hail Mary that goes with what Mystery. If there is another verse that covers the same territory and it helps YOU meditate, use that one. If you prefer to read the whole set of verses before each decade, that’s fine too. The best way to pray the Rosary is the way YOU pray with faith and reverence and frequency. Use whatever approved Catholic version of the Bible you prefer.

The verses which we have for the first three Hail Marys are a type of introduction to the Mysteries. These remind us of a) the three Persons of the Trinity and b) the grace of salvation we find in the main virtues of faith, hope and charitable love. Ideally the prayerful use of Holy Scripture enhances our use of the Holy Rosary, and bring you closer to Christ with the aid of His mother.

(If you're following along with Rosary in hand, it might seem a little jerky, with a lot of stop and go. This is because it’s important for you to have a good understanding and foundation of what the Rosary can accomplish. After you do it this way, you can just run with it in whatever direction your heart requires.)

Let’s start:
[On the crucifix]
+ "In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost)"
(The words: "In the name" express the Unity of God; the words that follow, "of the Father, etc." refer to the Trinity.)

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

Luke 1:31-5 “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

and born of the Virgin Mary.

Luke 2:2-3 While they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for [Mary] to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus, and scourged him.

was crucified, died, and was buried.

John 19:41-42a Now there was, in the place where Jesus was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, where no man yet had been buried. There, because of the Passover, they laid Jesus[.]

He descended into Hell.

Ephesians 4:9 What does "He ascended" mean except that He also descended into the lower regions of the earth?

On the third day he rose again from the dead.

Luke 24:7 [Jesus said]: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

He ascended into heaven,

Luke 24:51 As He blessed them He parted from them and was taken up to heaven.

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Colossians 3:1 Therefore, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.

He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice: Fear the Lord, and give him honor, because the hour of His judgment has come; and adore Him who made heaven and earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

Acts 2:3-4 Then there appeared to [the Apostles] tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

the Holy Catholic Church,

Matthew 16:18 [Jesus said]: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

the communion of saints,

Hebrews 12:1a And therefore we also having so great a cloud of itnesses [that is, saints] over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us

the forgiveness of sins,

Matthew 6:14 For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences.

the resurrection of the body,

2 Macabees 7:9 And when he was at the last gasp, he said thus: “Thou indeed, O most wicked man, destroy us of this present life: but the King of the world will raise us up, who die for His laws, in the resurrection of eternal life.”

and the life everlasting.

John 6:69 And Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”


[The first "Our Father bead]

Our Father,

I Chronicles 29:10 “Then David blessed the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, praying in these words: "Blessed may you be, O LORD, God of Israel our father, from eternity to eternity.”

Who art in heaven,

Deuteronomy 4:39a “Know therefore this day, and think in thy heart that the Lord is God in heaven above”

hallowed be Thy name;

Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain.

Thy kingdom come;

Mark 1:15 “The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel.”

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

II Chronicles 20:6 “O Lord God of our fathers, thou art God in heaven, and rule over all the kingdoms and nations, in thy hand is strength and power, and no one can resist thee.”

Give us this day our daily bread;

Exodus 16:4a “Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion.”

and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

Matthew 16:32b-33 “I forgave you all your debt, because you pleaded me: Should you not have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?”

and lead us not into temptation,

Sirach 2:1 “Son, when thou comest to serve God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation. [that is, to be tested]

but deliver us from evil,

Exodus 6:6 “Therefore say to the children of Israel: I am the Lord who will bring you out from the work prison of the Egyptians, and will deliver you from slavery: and redeem you with a high arm, and great judgments.”


(then on the first three "Hail Mary" beads)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

Luke 1:28 "And coming to her, the angel said, "Hail, you who are full of grace, the Lord is with you."

The original wording means “permanently favored by grace.” When the St. Gabriel the Archangel says that Mary is full of grace, he means that, not that Mary has had her tank of grace filled up and she’s good-to-go until she needs another refill. Charity, the divine love within us, comes from the same word (the Greek kecharitomene). God is infinite Goodness, infinite Love. Mary is perfect created -- as in "created by God" not some deity on her own --goodness, filled to the limit of her finite being with grace and charitable love.

Blessed art thou among women

Luke 1:41-42a "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women..."
Luke 1:48 "For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed."

Mary is being named the greatest of all women, greater than Ruth, greater than Sarah, greater than EVE! Since Eve was created immaculate (without original sin), Mary must have been conceived immaculate; and by her own free will, Mary must have responded to God's grace, remaining sinless. Otherwise, she could not be greater than Eve.

Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus

Luke 1:42b "and blessed is the fruit of your womb."

Jesus is Mary's fruit. Good fruit cannot come from anything but a good tree (Mt. 7:17-18)! The all-holy Son of God could not be the fruit of anything other than the Immaculate Virgin.

Holy Mary, Mother of God

Luke 1:43 "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

In greeting Mary, Elizabeth is saying: "How is it that the mother of my God should come to me." Jesus is a single Person, a Divine Person, the 2nd Person of the Most Holy Trinity. To be mother of the human Person of Jesus is to be mother of the Divine Person of Jesus who is God.

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Luke 2:35 "...and your very soul will a sword will pierce that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
John 2:5 "His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."

Mary sees a need and asks Jesus to meet it. He does. We turn to Mary to ask her to intercede with Jesus, her Son, in our daily needs. We will NEVER have a greater need than at the moment of our death. At that instant our salvation hangs in the balance as Satan makes one last attempt to keep us from God (Rev. 2:10). That’s why both the Hail Mary and the Our Father wrap up with asking to be delivered from the evil one.

Now that we know the “inner structure” of the Hail Mary, we can apply other bits of the Bible to individual Hail Marys, depending on where they placed within the whole Rosary.

(First three Hail Marys)

a) Romans 5:1b …by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
b) Romans 5:2 By [Him] also we have access into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
c) Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
We then conclude the "intro" with the "Glory Be":

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.
And the Fatima Prayer:

O my Jesus,

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
forgive us of our sins.

John 8:28 Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.”
Save us from the fires of Hell.

Acts Of Apostles 2:27a Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell
Lead all souls into heaven,

John 14:6a Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
especially those in most need of thy mercy.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to [the repentant thief]: Amen I say to thee this day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.

Since on Mondays we customarily pray the Joyful Mysteries, we'll go over those.

We announce the mystery before reciting the prayers and meditating upon the Mystery.

The First Joyful Mystery: St. Gabriel the Archangel announces to Mary that her child will be the Son of God
The Our Father
Luke 1:26 The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, and the virgin's name was Mary.
Hail Mary

Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, “Hail, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at what he said, and she wondered in her mind what manner of greeting this should be.
Hail Mary

Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:31 “And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and thou shalt name Him Jesus.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:32 “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, “How shall this be, if I have no relations with a man?”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:35 “Therefore that Holy Child which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.”
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Second Joyful Mystery: The Virgin Mary visits her cousin, St. Elizabeth
The Our Father

Luke 1:39 Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, and entered into the house of Zacharias, and greeted Elizabeth.
Hail Mary

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary

Luke 1:42 And [Elizabeth] spoke out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:45 “And blessed is she who believed: for those things which she heard from the Lord shall be fulfilled.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the Lord’s greatness, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:48 “For He regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden: therefore, from this moment onward all generations shall call me blessed.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:49 “For He who is mighty hath done great things for me; and holy is His name.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:50 “And His mercy is on those who fear Him, for all generations.”
Hail Mary

Luke 1:52 God has put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted the humble.
Hail Mary

Luke 1:56 And Mary remained with [Elizabeth] about three months, and returned to her own house.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity of Our Lord
The Our Father

Luke 2:4 Joseph went from Galilee to the city of David, called Bethlehem; to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, who was expecting a child.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:6 And so it was, that while they were there, the days were completed that she should deliver her child.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them: and they were so afraid.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, Christ the Lord.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:13 And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace toward men of good will.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:15 The shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem, and see this which the Lord makes known to us.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:16 And they came quickly and found Mary, and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
The Our Father

Luke 2:22 When, according to the law of Moses, the days of purification were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, who was just and devout, and [who] was waiting for the salvation of Israel.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:26 And the Holy Spirit revealed to [Simeon] that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's salvation.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:27 And [Simeon] came, led by the Spirit, into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, he then took Him up in his arms, and praised God.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:29 [Simeon] said, “Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:30 “Because mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast made before all the people.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:32 “[This child will] be a light to the Gentiles, and will be the glory of thy people, Israel.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:34 And Simeon said unto Mary, “Behold, this child is set for a fall, and of the resurrection of many in Israel.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:34 “He shall be spoken against; and a sword shall also pierce
through thy soul.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:39 They returned into Galilee, to Nazareth. And the child grew, and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
The Our Father

Luke 2:41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem as was the custom of the feast.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:43 And when they had completed the days, as they returned, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem; which Joseph and His mother knew not.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:44 But they, supposing Him to have been in the caravan, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their friends and family.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:45 And when they found him not among them, they turned back to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the scribes and teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:48 And when they saw Him, they were amazed and His mother said unto Him, “Son, why hast thou done this? Behold, we have sought thee, worrying.”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:49 [Jesus] said unto them, “Why have ye sought me? Do ye not know I must be doing my Father's business?”
Hail Mary

Luke 2:50 And they did not understand what he had said to them.
Hail Mary

Luke 2:51 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them: but Mary pondered all these things in her heart.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

And that's it.




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