The Rosary for me is not just something that hangs down the left hand side of my Dominican habit, catching in every doorway and table and even catching in other people, even at times my own leg. It hangs there to remind us friars of the special love of this woman for each one of us. Here in the form of fifteen decades strung together we have the greatest tool of meditation and contemplation. We ponder on these beads held fast to our cincture belts the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ. From the Annunciation, where Mary says yes to God, allowing him to take flesh in her womb all the way to the crucifixion where again Mary stood beneath the cross saying yes with a pierced heart.
From the glory of Easter Sunday to the Coronation of Mary as Queen and Mother of the Church. We are called to sit with Mary and through her eyes to look at the life of her Son, from the moments of fear and bewilderment to joy, from worry, sorrow, pain and finally death we proceed to glory and heavenly splendour, full of trust and hope we partake in the life of Jesus made present in his Mothers company.
A few Christmas’s ago I remember sitting with my own mother looking at old photo albums, and in her company reminiscing the happy days we had as a family, the young faces, the hair dos, the freaky clothes, the childhood Christmas’s, the baptisms, communions, weddings and holidays, remembering family members who died and those I never knew. Here I sat remembering again mostly forgotten events, sitting and looking down on them in the presence of a mother who can add so much detail to each blessed event in the life of our family. This is the Rosary for me, sitting with our mother, pondering with her every moment of the life of Jesus, contemplating with her the joyful, sorrowful and glorious moments, all which have links with my own life. Through the contemplation of these mysteries we begin to see our own life and the stages we pass through whether joyful, sorrowful or glorious.
The Rosary is the most powerful of prayers because it makes present in that moment of pondering the person of Jesus, the love of Jesus for us and points us beyond our present troubles to live lives full of hope and future glory. In the Joyful Mysteries we can ponder moments when we are asked to take on difficult tasks like that at the Annunciation, to visit those in need and pray for neighbours and all pregnant women at the Visitation, to remember the poor and homeless at Bethlehem, to pray for those who consecrate their lives in religion at the Presentation and for those who have lost family members and those who have lost their faith at the Finding in the Temple. The Sorrowful mysteries reveal so much love, each mystery opens for us an ocean of mercy. These mysteries speak for those who are lonely and abandoned by life at the Agony, those accused in the wrong at the Pillar, those treated unjustly, those tortured with pain and those who suffer mental problems at the Crowning, for those who carry heavy crosses at the Carrying of the Cross and those who suffer a slow death at the Crucifixion. In the Glorious we pray for our dead in the Resurrection, we pray for hope in the Ascension, for the grace to be apostles and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we pray for purity and young people at the Assumption and for the Church at the Coronation and those who have walked away.
Take up your beads and sit with a mother who only points to her Son, look through her eyes and contemplate the mystery of a God who became one of us in every way except sin. The world is losing sight that Jesus was a real human, a God with a human heart and that our flesh with its limitations and weakness was fleshed by God himself.
Pray the rosary, take refuge in the prayer and contemplate the life of one who gives life to us through his humanity. Each mystery reveals Christ and his love for you personally and we can no longer say to God you do not understand. He understands for he has walked ahead of you.
May the Queen of the Rosary accompany you on the path of life and may she every hold before you who take her Rosary in hand, the life of Jesus, born, suffered and raised.