By Nick Jones, University of Rhode Island
One of the greatest fruits of a daily recitation of the Rosary is the ability to internalize and claim as our own the truths found in the various Mysteries. By meditating upon Our Blessed Lord’s Life, Death, and Resurrection over the course of a lifetime, we can come to understand almost intuitively the main idea of each Mystery. Yet, at the same time, they are called Mysteries for a reason. We can never fully grasp what they’re all about. Our God wants us to grapple with the truths they contain, like Jacob at Penuel (cf. Gen. 32:24–32), aided by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I hope that by providing these quick thoughts about and fruits of my meditation upon the Mysteries of the Rosary, your own devotion to the Rosary might become more fruitful.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Fruit of the Mystery: Humility)
Our Lady didn’t need to be strong-armed into following the Lord’s will. She had one question when the angel told her what God wanted. In modern terms, she asked “How’s this gonna work?” All she needed to know was the logistics and she was sold. We’d all do well to imitate her and always ask God not “Why me?”, but “How me?”
The Visitation of Our Lady to Saint Elizabeth (Love of Neighbor)
What’s the best way to love our neighbor? Bring the Lord to them. That’s literally what Mary did when she went to see her cousin Elizabeth. Shouldn’t we try to emulate Mary’s charity? How can we work to bring God to those who need Him?
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Poverty in Spirit)
Our Lady and Saint Joseph didn’t even have a room to call their own when she gave birth to Our Lord. The shepherds in the hill country were similarly impoverished, as well as unlearned. On the other end of the spectrum, the magi were royalty. But for all of these groups, there was a common recognition of the fact that no matter what we have in terms of earthly possessions, all we really need is God. That’s the true essence of poverty in spirit. They saw that the world is coming to naught, but that God’s presence in our souls endures.
The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (Obedience)
What happened when everyone obeyed God at the Presentation? Simeon had his hopes fulfilled. Anna’s prophecies were proven true. Mary and Joseph were edified by the way people reacted to their Divine Son. Everyone ended up with exactly what they needed, because they obeyed God’s will as perfectly as they could.
The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple (Joy in Finding Jesus)
Our Lady and St. Joseph did nothing wrong when they lost Jesus. His remaining behind was of His own accord. Yet, His parents were devastated when they lost Him. How thoughtlessly do we often lose Him! Shouldn’t we be even more distraught than His parents? Whenever we lose Him and His grace because of sin, we do well to return to His holy temple, to beg for a reunion with Him. Since He is merciful, if we are truly contrite, such an arrangement will always lead to a joyful resolution.
The Luminous Mysteries
The Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan (Openness to the Holy Spirit)
If we remain open to the movements of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will never be disappointed. If we, like Our Lord and Saint John the Baptist, listen to the Spirit every day, we too can enter into Paradise and have said about us what the Father said to Christ: “This is my beloved Son.”
The Miracle at the Wedding at Cana (To Jesus through Mary)
A very wise priest once said in a sermon I heard that, in Scripture, the only words of Our Lady that aren’t directed to an angel or to God are her words to the wait staff at the Wedding at Cana. She commands them to do whatever her Son tells them to do. She speaks to us too when she says this. We must strive to follow God’s will by means of the grace He gives us through His Mother.
The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (Repentance and Belief in God)
This is the very essence of the Gospel. Our relationship with God flows from a recognition of our faults, the need for forgiveness, and the realization that this comes only from God. Repentance is a daily, even constant process through which we put to death that which we are told by the Devil, the world and our flesh and rise to the newness of life with Christ.
The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Desire for Holiness)
The three Apostles saw the Lord in His heavenly glory once Peter had proclaimed Him Messiah and once the Passion had been foretold. We cannot understand Who the God-Man Jesus Christ is without contemplating both of these events. He showed His splendor to the Apostles to remind them that His glorification, and theirs too, only comes in Heaven, after much hardship here on Earth.
The Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist (Eucharistic Adoration)
Christ is with us always, even to the end of time, in every tabernacle and on every altar at Holy Mass. Why should we fret? As I write this I am literally seated in the presence of My God and Lord, masked under sacramental signs. How could we ever take His Most Adorable Presence for granted? If we fully realize that the Eucharist couldn’t have happened without Calvary, maybe it’ll be just a little easier.
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony in the Garden (Contrition)
So often, we justify our sins or think, “It’s just venial.” Our Lord’s Agony reminds us that these are but cheap mental games. Each and every sin that had been or was to be committed was seen by Him. He agonized over each and every one. Let’s all try to be sorry for each one not because they hurt us, but because they greatly injured Our Lord.
The Scourging at the Pillar (Mortification)
Christ was scourged to a veritable pulp by the centurions. If you don’t know what this entails, check out Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. If He went through that for us, even though He committed no sin, why shouldn’t we deny our own desires for His sake?
The Crowning with Thorns (Moral Courage)
Our Lord could have simply changed the minds of the centurions as they spat upon and mocked Him. He could have made them know Who He was. He chose instead to bear their scorn and contempt upon His head in that crown of thorns. Like Christ, our most eloquent argument in favor of the Faith is our silent, constant willingness to suffer for it.
The Carrying of the Cross (Patience)
The Via Dolorosa took exactly as long as it needed to and was composed of exactly what it needed. Jesus did not speed it up, nor did He spare Himself any indignation. The next time we find ourselves behind a slowpoke in the left lane or even in a serious test of our patience, let’s all look to the road to Calvary and try to act like Our Lord.
The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord on the Cross (Final Perseverance)
Christ had nothing left to give once He expired. He was hungry and thirsty; He was bleeding out and was asphyxiating. All but His closest companions had left Him. All that needed to come to pass had taken place. Truly to the final moment, His life had glorified God and edified men. May we have that same grace of sticking with it until we come to our own final breath.
The Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Faith)
The reality of Christ’s victory over death should inform our perception of all the sufferings which we encounter. We know for certain that the battle has been won for us. The hardest part is over. All we need to do is individual work throughout our lives to live in light of the Resurrection, by means of grace, so that it might not be in vain for us.
The Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven (Hope)
When Christ ascended, God’s age-old desire that human flesh should enjoy His Beatific Vision was finally achieved, at least in part. All of us who through Baptism have died and risen in the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord have the certain hope of attaining that same union with God at the end of time.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles at Pentecost (Charity)
The Apostles went from willing yet terrified participants in the Church’s mission to absolute evangelisation machines in the span of one day. The Church’s size increased from the ten of them and some women to 3000 that same day. This day, of course, was Pentecost and they could only do it because of the Holy Spirit. We too have the Gifts of the Spirit, the infused virtues, and sanctifying grace. How could we ever think that we don’t have the tools to complete the work set before us.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven (Grace of a Happy Death)
People tend to die as they have lived. Those who strive after God tend to pass away into His presence. Mary lived her life perfectly for God and died a perfect death. If we imitate that devotion as best we can, we’ll probably wind up in good shape.
The Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth (Trust in Our Lady’s Intercession)
We have a perfect Queen Mother in Heaven who lives only to intercede for us. She doesn’t need to sleep or eat or work. Why do we not ask for her help? While we are bogged down by such concerns, we do well to turn to her. There is nothing that we really, truly need that we won’t be able to obtain through the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God.