Author’s Note: This article is the last in a five-part series examining the beauty and medication of the Most Holy Rosary. This series is dedicated to the memory of Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., whose love and dedication to the Rosary inspired its widespread use and understanding in our time.
The Rosary as Our “App” for Christian Living
During His discourse at the Last Supper, Jesus gives final instructions, reminders, reassurances, and the promise of a special helper to the Apostles. He is leaving this world, and, just as you would do if you were leaving for an extended time, He was making sure that they were prepared for life and their mission without His physical presence. At the end, He gives such a wonderful, mundane command: “Get up. Let us go.” (John 14:31)
It is well and good to pray the Rosary each day. It brings great peace and deeper contemplation into the mysteries of Jesus and His life, death, and resurrection. Praying the Rosary, however, is only half of its purpose. The Rosary is intended to be lived. And its compactness, conciseness, portability, and ease of use make it the perfect spiritual “app” for living out the Christian life each day.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Joyful Mysteries give us the quick review of how we should start each day, using Mary as our example.
- (The Annunciation) Be Humble: Know that God made you in His image to love and serve Him and you are happiest when you are doing His will. C.S. Lewis’s definition of humility is worth remembering. “To be humble is not to think less of yourself; it is to think of yourself less.” St. Catherine of Siena gave us the reasoning behind this virtue: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”
- (The Visitation) Be Charitable — Carry Christ to Others: Just as Mary did, carry Christ to others first and foremost. “And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Matthew 6:4)
- (The Nativity) Be Poor in Spirit: Live simply, as Jesus did, only using what you need, and knowing the difference between needs and wants. Seek the treasures of heaven, “For where your treasures are, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:21)
- (The Presentation) Obey God’s Commandments: Be happy to ignore the dictates of this world and instead follow the commands of His, for there you will find true happiness and peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
- (The Finding in the Temple) Stay Close to Him “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7) He will always take care of us.
The Luminous Mysteries
The Luminous Mysteries lay out the elements of our life as members of the Body of Christ. This is our life in the Church, our community, which Jesus established.
- (The Baptism of Jesus) Be Baptized in Christ: Accept the Grace of the Holy Spirit to live out your Baptismal Promises.
- (The Miracle of Cana) Do What Jesus Tells You: Read and meditate upon His words regularly, through Scripture and the writings of His disciples and Saints.
- (The Sermon on the Mount) Seek Reconciliation and Forgiveness: Reconcile with God and your neighbor by participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently and being the first to forgive in your thoughts, words, and actions.
- (The Transfiguration) Be a New Person in Christ: Allow Him to live in you and through you. Be confirmed in the Church, and use the gifts given to you by the Holy Spirit to benefit the Body of Christ.
- (The Institution of the Eucharist) Participate in the Mass Frequently: This is His life-giving food, His spiritual nourishment for us. Receive Him frequently and with awe and thanksgiving.
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Sorrowful Mysteries remind us of the beautiful, magnificent sacrifice of God’s only Son, the depth of His love for us, and give us courage in times of trial, turmoil, and tragedy. We will have troubles living a Christian life in this secular world. Fear not. He suffered everything we might suffer at the hands of this world, and He conquered it. He has strong shoulders to carry us, and loving hands to hold us.
- (The Agony in the Garden) Always Pray First: Each time Jesus faced a difficult situation, He prayed. Seek help from God with a contrite heart and He is always there, waiting for us to turn to Him. And remember, following Jesus’ example, we don’t tell God our plans and ask Him to bring them to fruition; we share our troubles and ask Him to do His will.
- (The Scourging) Identify Sin For What It Is: We are mortified that Christ, who was as innocent as a blemish-free lamb, should be abused in this horrible way. The scourging with shard-filled leather whips surely was one of the Romans’ most heinous punishments. We should be equally mortified at the sin in our world. We should never justify it, rationalize it, or accept it as another’s subjective truth. Sin is evil, Satan’s work, and it is wrong. There is objective truth and falsehood. There is right and there is wrong. Call sin what it is and never stop being mortified by it.
- (The Crowning with Thorns) Stand Strong in the Truth: Our faith is to be lived in public, and not merely celebrated within the pillars and drapes of the cathedral. It’s not enough to know that something is wrong. We must also stand strong against sin, and do what we can to rid the world of it. Sometimes that requires action, and sometimes it is something as simple as not acquiescing. Your actions speak volumes about who you are and what you truly believe.
- (Carrying of the Cross) Carry Your Cross and Be Patient: My grandmother would say, “Offer it up.” Others would say, in this time of instant gratification and narcissism, this is an outdated and ridiculous notion. Yet suffering is very often the best way for God to work wonders and even miracles. Pope Francis says that often it is only through the lens of tears that we can see Jesus. By trusting in God’s ways, we ultimately do what is best for ourselves. His ways are not our ways, and our pride in making our own plans invariably ends in a result which we never wanted and is not ultimately good for us. Carry the cross that is given you, just as Jesus did. There is no Resurrection without the Crucifixion. Trust and be patient.
- (The Crucifixion) Persevere: Don’t lose faith in the promises of Christ, Don’t lose hope in the grace which God has given you. Don’t be anxious or fall prey to the worries of this world. “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”(St Francis de Sales). Finally, never give in or give up. “Many, after they have found the way of truth, caught by the pleasures of the world, desert midway.” (St Jerome).
The Glorious Mysteries
The Glorious Mysteries provide our “happy ever after.” It is the culmination of our life on earth and the celebration of our eternal life with Him. I feel as if these mysteries deserve to be proclaimed and exclaimed because they are the amazing end (and beginning) of our eternal life with Him!
- (The Resurrection) Faith: Everything He Said is True! Live as if it is all true, because it is true. Stay strong in your faith. He has fulfilled the Scriptures. He has conquered the world.
- (The Ascension) Hope: We Will Be with Him! Live with the hope of Eternal Life, because He is there, waiting for you.
- (The Pentecost) Love: He is With You Always! He gives you his Advocate to help you and give you the grace you need while you are here on earth.
- (Mary’s Assumption into Heaven) Joy: His Mother is With Us Too! She is our first intercessor to Christ. She loves us and wants us to be close to her Son.
- (Mary is Crowned Queen of Heaven) Family: Mary is Our Mother Too! We are part of the royal priesthood, the Body of Christ, and Mary is our advisor, our example, and our biggest “cheerleader.” Turn to her often in prayer.
Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. encouraged all Catholics to pray the Rosary as often as possible, and especially as a family, because “the family who prays together, stays together.” As you can see, the Rosary is much more than a recitation. It is a beaded breviary for living the Christian life. Just 15 minutes each morning will start your day the Rosary way! Live it!