Meditating on the Rosary
It can sometimes be difficult to concentrate while praying the Rosary and "meditating" on each Mystery can seem quite daunting to those not familiar with the practice. Here are some extracts from the book "From the Rose Garden of Our Lady" by Rev. William Schaeffler which may prove helpful to consider while praying your decade.
The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation
And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 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 David his father: and he shall reign in the House of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren. Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
1. Mary is praying in her chamber. How Heaven and Earth rejoice over the solitary Virgin in prayer! May I also, when in prayer, appear pleasing to God.
2. The first Ave Maria is intoned: "Hail Mary!" May my Ave, equally reverent and devout, mount up to the throne of God's Mother.
3. The Archangel announces his message: "Thou shalt bear a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus." Now breaks the dawn of Redemption.
4. Mary asks: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?" I revere the purest of virgins. She is willing to become the Mother of God, only if she may remain a virgin.
5. Wonderful is the counsel of the Almighty. "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Mary shall become the Mother of Jesus and still remain a virgin.
6. With boundless joy, I hear Mary announce her consent: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." From now on, angels and men may greet Mary as Mother of God.
7. How humble is Mary! At the very moment when she becomes the Mother of God, she calls herself merely the handmaid of the Lord. What an inspiring example for me always to be humble!
8. How courageous Mary is! Through divine inspiration, she foresees all that she and her Divine Son will suffer. But even in carrying the cross, Mary desires to be merely the handmaid of the Lord. I will also persevere in God's service, even when His service is hard- in temptations and sufferings.
9. The great moment of the Incarnation of the Son of God has come. "And the Word was made Flesh." Like a Holy Communion, the created nature of Christ takes up its abode in the heart of the Mother of God. I kneel down before the Ark of the New Covenant and adore the Saviour.
10. My resolution: May the Saviour abide with me at all times in a heart that is equally pure.
The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation
And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. And she cried out with a loud voice and said:Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
1. Mary and Joseph undertake the three days' journey between Nazareth and the hill country of Juda to visit Elizabeth and Zachary. The latter are awaiting the birth of St. John.
2. Protected by St. Joseph, Mary hastens through the meadows and woodlands, over hills and through valleys. She is outwardly as poor as she is inwardly rich, for Jesus is in her heart. Solely of Him is she thinking during the toilsome journey; for Him she endures all the hardships of the way. Thus all her own noble dispositions the good Mother Mary instills in her Child.
3. If I carry Jesus in my heart, even the most laborious lot in life is naught but a way of peace, a golden path to God. Without Jesus, even the greatest works are dead.
4. How intense their mutual joy, when Mary and Elizabeth are united again after a long separation! I will foster in my heart a similar love towards my dear ones and towards all men.
5. Elizabeth rejoices in Mary the Mother of God. She feels unworthy of the privilege of having Jesus and Mary abide under her roof. "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
6. Jesus and St. John. The meeting of the two mothers is also the first meeting of the two greatest in the world's history, Jesus Christ and His Precursor, St. John. The latter is freed from original sin.
7. Rarely has the world witnessed such rapturous joy as that experienced now by Mary and Elizabeth. Their joy, having come from God, is referred back to Him: "My soul doth magnify the Lord." Good God, grant me also from time to time a similar great joy in Thee to be perfected in Eternity.
8. In her humility, Mary ascribes all honour and exaltation to God alone. "He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid...He hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things."
9. Mary foresees how all men will hold her in honour: "Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." I also shall contribute according to my strength to the fulfilling of these words. To the full extent of my power, I will venerate Mary.
10. My resolution: Like Mary on her journey, I will carry God in my heart during my whole life. I will dedicate to Him all my thoughts, words and actions, all my sufferings and all my joys.
The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity
Gospel Text:And it came to pass that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David. To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people: For, this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the Highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.
1. It is the silent, holy night. "And the Word was made Flesh"! How tenderly does not God love us! Full of wonder and awe, I kneel in adoration at the crib.
2. The eternal Son of God has become man in order to win our love and make us blessed. O Infant Jesus, I offer Thee all my love and repose in Thee all my trust! I give myself without reserve to Thee. Deliver me from my sins and lead me to Heaven.
3. A poor stable, a manger and a little straw- such was the first earthly abode chosen by the Child Jesus. He renounces all else: He seeks only me. Heaven, therefore, must mean more to me than does the earth.
4. O blessed Christmas for the Mother of God! How great must have been the love and adoration that reigned in the heart of Mary on this night!
5. Mary makes me a present of her Christ Child. For me, she brought Him into the world. Like Jesus, our good Mother Mary has loved me with a special love ever since this holy night.
6. O the great good fortune of St. Joseph! To him, the poor labourer, has been entrusted the guardianship of the Divine Mother and Child. A sublimer stewardship is his than that of Joseph of Egypt. May the blessed privilege of St. Joseph, the possession of Jesus, abide with rich and poor to become the true wealth of hovel and palace!
7. How the angels exult at the birth of Christ! The whole countryside resounds with the jubilant echoes of the angelic message: The Saviour is born! Glory to God! Peace to men!
8. The pious shepherds are the first to hear the glad tidings of the Christ Child's birth. Filled with a holy joy, they hasten to the manger. They have nothing but their simple, heartfelt love: but this gift is the one that pleases the Infant Jesus most.
9. The star of Bethlehem heralds the birth in poverty of the Lord of the World. Kings hasten to the Divine Child. In reverence and love, they present their gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Therefore, I will bring to Jesus the gold of love, the frankincense of adoration, the myrrh of self-sacrifice.
10. My resolution: In still humbler form than that of an Infant in a manger, the Child Jesus in the tabernacle is confided to us children of men. There, I will often adore Him with Mary and Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, and the kings. I must celebrate Christmas as often as I enter a church, else my faith is weak.
The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons: And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon: and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms and blessed God, and said:
Now dost thou dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace:
Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples:
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.
And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth.
And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.
1. The most beautiful rite of the Old Covenant is now being enacted. The Divine Child, who is the Messias longed for and foretold for thousands of years, appears in the temple. On the arms of a priest, He is being offered up to God. Thus, even now, He is being daily offered up: in the hands of the priest at the Consecration, in the hearts of the faithful at Holy Communion.
2. The purification of Mary. The purest of mothers and virgins submits to the legal purification consisting in prayers by the priests. She is a model of humble obedience.
3. Mary likewise offers up her Divine Child in the temple to God. She alone knows that He has come solely to offer up for us His Body and Blood on the cross.
4. Mary and Joseph are patterns for Christian parents. May indeed all Christian parents offer up their children to God and rear them for Eternal Life. As the Child Jesus offers Himself up for me, so will I offer myself up for the Child Jesus.
5. St. Joseph presents the offering of the poor- two young turtle-doves. The parents of the Child Jesus are willingly poor. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."
6. The aged Simeon prophesies: "This child shall be a light for the revelation of the Gentiles." Through His person, His teachin, and His redemption, Jesus is the light of the world. O Jesus, enlighten me also! Enlighten the world of the heathen!
7. "And thine own soul a sword shall pierce." What great fear wells up in the heart of Mary, as the future cross was so clearly revealed to the eyes of her soul!
8. This Child shall be the resurrection of some, the fall of others. How keenly Mary rejoices over the former, how deeply she grieves for the latter! O Mary, pray for me, that thy Divine Child may be my resurrection!
9. Simeon and Anna are models for Christian old age. They were daily in the temple and ever hoped to see the Messias. Let my hope and my life's aim be to see Jesus eternally in Heaven!
10. My resolution: Often at the Consecration and at Communion, I will offer up to God the Child Jesus. In Jesus I will seek my rest.
The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
Gospel Text:And His parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch. And when He was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast. And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him.
And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them.And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart.
1. What a picture of radiant grace was the Child Jesus at the age of twelve! How the Holy City and Temple gladden His young heart! As in our days, through the sacrament of Confirmation, children become soldiers of Christ, so on this occasion, Jesus was admitted to the temple court reserved to men.
2. Picture to yourself Jesus, Mary and Joseph on their journey to Jerusalem. Imagine how they prayed and conversed, how deep and tender was their mutual love, how patient they were amid the hardships of the way! Would that I were as good and amiable in my family circle.
3. Arriving on the Mount of Olives, the Holy Family descry the Holy City and the Temple. Poor Child Jesus! Sorrowful Mother! How much will you not have to suffer in this city! Proceeding into the Holy City, they enter the temple and pray together in their Father's house.
4. Great beyond words is the sorrow of this Mother, when she loses her Child. The incident gives her a presentiment of her loss of Jesus through His death on the cross. And St. Joseph! What anguish rends his loving heart!
5. On the streets and in the squares, the holy parents seek their Divine Child in vain. I also vainly seek happiness and peace amid the dissipations of the world.
6. Among relatives and acquaintances, the parents of Jesus inquire for Him. To their increasing anguish, Jesus is nowhere to be found. Neither can I find enduring happiness among the votaries of the world.
7. After a three days' anxious search, Mary and Joseph find Jesus at last in the temple. I hear His Mother Mary's gentle reproach: "Son, why hast thou done so to us. Thy father and I have sought thee, sorrowing." Jesus was so fond of God's temple. He tarried there three days. In the house of His Heavenly Father, He has no concern for the things of earth. "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" The example of piety that Jesus thus gives me is deeply touching.
8. Jesus was found among the doctors of the temple. They were visibly astonished at His knowledge of Divine things and at His modesty. Thus Jesus is a most beautiful pattern for youth both at church and at school.
9. Jesus having returned to Nazareth, His entire life from His twelfth to His thirtieth years is described in these words: "He was subject to them." I would that this were likewise the law of my spiritual growth.
10. My resolution: I will never lose God by sin. If I have already lost Him by sin, I will seek Him by true repentance. I will, by prayer and good example, also help my fellowmen to find God.