October – Month of the Rosary: Keeping the Rosary Relevant

WelCom October 2020 Ko Whiringa-ā-Nuku-te Marama o te Rōhārio: Kia whaitake te Rōhārio Fr James Lyons When Pope John Paul II introduced the Mysteries of Light into the Rosary in…

WelCom October 2020

Ko Whiringa-ā-Nuku-te Marama o te Rōhārio: Kia whaitake te Rōhārio

Fr James Lyons

When Pope John Paul II introduced the Mysteries of Light into the Rosary in 2002, he was completing ‘the mysteries of Christ’s public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion’ ensuring the Rosary would be a more complete ‘compendium of the Gospel’. [Apostolic Letter on the Rosary, n.19]

The Joyful Mysteries provided meditations on the early years of Jesus’ life, while the Sorrowful followed passion and death and the Glorious his triumph. John Paul II felt the need to highlight the public life of Jesus, enabling the truth of Jesus as ‘light of the world’ [John 8:12] to shine out in the very person of Jesus.

The Pope suggested we could make the Rosary more relevant if we concluded each mystery ‘with a prayer for the fruits specific to that particular mystery…to better express its connection with the Christian life.’ [Apostolic Letter, n.35]

For many years, the traditional conclusion in most places has been the prayer: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell, and bring all souls to heaven, especially those who most need your mercy.

Following John Paul’s initiative, individuals or communities could write their own prayer, applying it to their own situation and ensuring greater relevance. Below is an example of such a change.

The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is 7 October.

Rosary prayers – after each Mystery

Joyful Mysteries

1. Annunciation: Mary, we give thanks for your ‘Yes’, for showing us the way of trusting God’s presence and power. Help us when we hesitate to give of ourselves. Share with us your gift of joy.

2. Visitation: Mary, Elizabeth’s greeting eased your worry and restored your joy. May our hearts be kind and generous in welcoming others, especially anyone anxious or troubled.

3. Birth of Jesus: Mary, the birth of your Son was a time of wonder and overwhelming joy, though you were far from home and strangers were the first to greet him. Sharing this wonder and joy, may we grow in friendship for the Child of your womb. 

4. Presentation: Mary, the joy in your heart would have to make room for the sword. May our hearts be pierced with the fire of love, that in sharing your pain we may share in your joy.

5. Finding the child Jesus: Mary, you know the anguish of losing a loved one. Hold us close as we grieve our own loss and, with Jesus, restore the joy for which our hearts were created.

Mysteries of Light

1. Baptism of Jesus: Mary, your blessing was apparent as Jesus took his place in life. Be with us as we step alongside Jesus, your Son, in our baptismal commitment to love and to serve.

2. Wedding at Cana: At the Cana wedding you showed your great trust in the caring love of Jesus. Bind us more closely to him, that we too might trust his love and his care.

3. Proclamation of the Gospel: Mary, your own missionary zeal gave Jesus his impetus to serve and his pastoral vision. Help us never to doubt the power of the Gospel to heal and to save.

4. Transfiguration: Mary, you are the model of trust and boundless hope. When we cannot see clearly the way ahead nor understand our purpose, help us to listen to Jesus with minds wide open and hearts eager to love.

5. Institution of the Eucharist: Mary, you gave life to the Bread of Life. The Eucharist is our sharing in your gift. Through this great Sacrament may we become bread for others.

Sorrowful Mysteries

1. Agony in the Garden: Mary, like Jesus we too encounter darkness and doubt when we are anxious or afraid.

2. Scourging: Mary, violence in word or action is too often our response to what annoys or upsets us. May we learn from your example of patience and tolerance to work for harmony and peace.

3. Crowning with Thorns: Mary, the Passion of Jesus was for our salvation, yet we continue in our cruelty to one another. Help us to repent, to do penance and to sin no more.

4. Carrying the Cross: Mary, Jesus accepted his cross with quiet dignity and as a loving servant. Help each of us to take up our cross and follow Jesus, wherever he may go.

5. Crucifixion: Mary, the death of Jesus crowned Simeon’s prophecy and the sword split your being. We weep with you, dear Mother, and for ourselves and for our children.

Glorious Mysteries

1. Resurrection: Mary, the friends of Jesus were slow to believe he had risen from the dead, but you knew in your heart that death could never lay claim to love. The Resurrection of Jesus is our hope, and you are its vessel.

2. Ascension: Mary, all that you treasured and pondered over many years is fulfilled in the Ascension of Jesus. The time to gaze in awe is over. His mission and yours becomes ours.

3. Descent of the Holy Spirit: Mary, you prayed with the Apostles and others awaiting the gift of the Spirit. You were the means of their healing and reconciliation. Heal and unite us, the People of God, that we might be one in the Spirit of love, pardon and peace.

4. Assumption: Mary, your Assumption honours your goodness as it blesses humanity. In the presence of the Trinity you are our joy, our hope, our crown. In your Assumption, Mother of Mercy, intercede for us.

5. Queenship: Mary, Queen of heaven and earth, you are wonderfully and uniquely placed to guide our steps, and to bring us to recognise the reign of God already among us. Ease the path before us with your gentleness, your compassion and your maternal strength.

James Lyons is a priest of the Archdiocese of Wellington.