The Rosary Part 3: The Mysteries

There are different ways to reflect on the Rosary. The first and most obvious is to focus on the words. The words of the Rosary are powerful and filled with layers of meaning. A second way to add depth to your prayer is to reflect on the mysteries of the Rosary. This week we explore two of the four Mysteries of the Rosary.

What are the Mysteries of the Rosary?

A mystery is a snapshot in the life of Jesus and Mary and provides a focus to meditate on while we pray a decade of the Rosary. Each Mystery, each moment in their lives, holds incredible insights into our own lives today. These Mysteries are traditionally grouped by fives into themed sets, known as the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. In 2002, Pope John Paul II proposed the fourth set of mysteries – the Luminous Mysteries (The Mysteries of Light).

Traditionally Catholics pray a specific set of mysteries on certain days of the week. 

Sunday and Wednesday- The Glorious Mysteries
Monday and Saturday – The Joyful Mysteries
Tuesday and Friday – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Thursday – The Luminous Mysteries

The Joyful Mysteries

  1. The Annunciation
    Mary learns that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus. We think about how Mary trusted God, and this inspires us to do the same.
  2. The Visitation
    Mary visits Elizabeth, who tells her that she will always be remembered. We think about how we can be there for others just as Mary was there for Elizabeth.
  3. The Nativity
    Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem. We give thanks to God for giving us His Son.
  4. The Presentation
    Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to God. We think about how we too can be faithful by keeping our religious practices just as Mary did.
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
    Jesus is found in the Temple discussing His faith with the teachers. We think about how Jesus was prepared to speak of His faith.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. The Agony in the Garden
    Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before he dies. We think of how Jesus must have suffered knowing He was about to be captured. We try to emulate Jesus’ example by accepting our sufferings with humility.
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar
    Jesus is lashed with whips. We remember His pain as he was whipped and think of how Mary must have felt to see her son suffer.
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
    Jesus is mocked and crowned with thorns. We remember that Jesus knows what it feels like to be mocked and ridiculed. Because he experienced mockery, He understands when we too are laughed at.
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
    Jesus carries the cross. We think of how heavy that cross was and how many times Jesus fell under the burden of the cross. This inspires us to carry our crosses with dignity.
  5. The Crucifixion
    Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies. This is the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We thank him for His sacrifice and His love for us.

 When next you pray the Joyful or Sorrowful mysteries, try to think deeply on the meaning of each decade and how the experiences of Mary and Jesus offer us an enhanced understanding of its relevance to our lives.

Till next week, God bless. 


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