A New Approach to Praying the Rosary

A New Approach to Praying the Rosary

The rosary, as a prayer form, is traditionally composed of three sets

of five meditations or “mysteries”. One set recalls and reflects on five joyful events in the life of Jesus. Another set recalls and reflects on five sorrowful events in Jesus’ life. A third set recalls and reflects on five glorious events flowing from Jesus’ life. Recently Pope John Paul II added a fourth set of meditations recalling and reflecting on five “luminous” (light-giving) moments in Jesus’ life – moments in which he showed himself to be “the Light of the World”(John 8:12) by bringing light to the life of others.

Here is another way to pray with the rosary. It is based on the traditional pattern of praying in succession:

one “Our Father,” ten “Hail Mary’s,” and one “Glory Be”.

And it addresses the same four traditional themes:

joy, sorrow, giving light, and experiencing glory.

Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God.

The focus will be to lift up to God the joyful, sorrowful, light-giving and glorious moments in our personal life. With Mary (“Hail Mary…”) we will “treasure these things,…reflect on them in our heart” (Luke 2:19), and lift them up to God (“Our Father…”) through Jesus Christ, who bore all things for us (Hebrews 4:15-16).

We pray:
first, to adore God, expressing to Him our love and loyalty;
second, to thank Him for His favors;
third, to obtain from Him the pardon of our sins
and the remission of their punishment;
fourth, to ask for graces and blessings for ourselves and others.

How to Pray this Rosary

Sit down in a quiet place – alone or with gathered family or friends. Call on the name of Jesus in your heart. Remain quiet for a few moments. Now pray the Apostle’s Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he arose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body; and life everlasting. Amen.

The First Mystery: Joy

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity. Galatians 5:22-23
Think back over the last week (month or year)
and recall the moments you experienced joy.

Think of the good things that happened that nourished your soul with genuine human happiness: the places you visited, the people with whom you spent time, the things you received, the events in which you participated, the beauty that you saw.

In your heart acknowledge that you are blessed, and that these moments of joy are truly gifts from God—Who fills life with goodness
If you are praying with others, encourage each person to mention one or two of the joys they have experienced. Now pray…

one “Our Father,” ten “Hail Mary”s, and one “Glory Be.”

The Second Mystery: Sorrow
It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings
that he endured. Isaiah 53:4
Think back over the last week (month or year)
and recall the moments you experienced sorrow.

Think of the things that happened that were difficult or painful: suffering for your faith; standing up for what is right; the loss of someone you loved or something you valued; situations in which you were treated badly, moments of personal defeat.

In your heart, lift up your sorrows to Jesus and join your sufferings to his. These things stretch the soul. They can scar us if we allow ourselves to grow bitter over them. Or, if we turn to Jesus with them, they can increase our understanding, our reliance upon God, our depth of compassion for others, our sense of the vulnerability of life. If you are praying with others, encourage each person to mention one or two of the sorrows they have experienced. Now pray…

one “Our Father”, ten “Hail Mary”s, and one “Glory be”

The Third Mystery: Giving Light
It is God who, in His good will toward you, begets in you
any measure of desire or achievement. Philippians 2:13
Think back over the last week (month or year)
and recall the moments when God brought light to others through you.

Think of the moments when you witnessed to your faith in word or deed: when you shared your faith with another; when you prayed with someone going through difficulties; when you counseled someone to do what was right; when you spoke up in the face of a wrong being done; when you sacrificed yourself or something that was yours to help “the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters.” (Matthew 25:40)

In your heart acknowledge the sense of peace Jesus gives you (John 14:27) in fulfilling his command that you be “the light of the world.”
(Matthew 5:14) If you are praying with others, encourage each person to mention one or two moments of giving light that they experienced. Now pray…

one “Our Father,” ten “Hail Mary”s, and one “Glory Be.”

The Fourth Mystery: Glory
We know that God makes all things work together
for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28
Think back over the last week (month or year)
and recall the moments you experienced God’s Grace.

Think of the moments when you experienced God’s presence or power: when you sought understanding or direction from the Holy Spirit and the light of inspiration came to you; when you had to do something difficult and you felt the power of the Holy Spirit flow into you; when you were praying and experienced the peace of Christ within you; when things were going badly and you put everything in the hands of God, and things turned out well; when you received or witnessed a miracle of healing or unexpected Divine goodness.

In your heart give glory to God. Acknowledge these moments as miraculous manifestations of Divine Grace. If you are praying with others, encourage each person to mention one or two moments of Grace they have experienced. Now pray…

one “Our Father,” ten “Hail Mary”s, and one “Glory Be.”

When to Pray this Rosary

It is wonderful to pray this rosary at the end of the year on the Feast of the Holy Family (the Sunday after Christmas) or on any of the days before New Year’s Day – reflecting on the joyful, sorrowful, light-giving and glorious moments in the year now closing. You can pray this rosary after the death of a loved one or friend – reflecting on the joyful, sorrowful, light-giving and glorious moments you experienced with her or him. This rosary can also be prayed as a weekly exercise, on Saturday or Sunday afternoon – reflecting on the past week.

“Hail, Mary”
A Word About Mary as a Companion in Prayer

Mary is the mother of Jesus. The Sacred Scripture testify to this.
The angel says to Mary:

Mary, you have found favor with God. You shall conceive
and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Luke 1:30-3

The Bible tells us that as Jesus’ mother, Mary was lovingly present and attentive to the joyful (Luke 2:6-7), sorrowful (John 19:25-27), light-giving (John 2: 1-11) and glorious (Acts 1:6-14) moments of Jesus’ life. The Bible says that…

Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Mary is also our mother. From his cross, Jesus gave her to us to be our mother:

Seeing his mother there with the disciple whom he loved,
Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, there is your son.”
In turn he said to the disciple, “There is your mother.”
John 19:26-27

Saint John used the expression, “the disciple whom he loved” at those points in his Gospel account where he wanted the person reading the Gospel to understand that he meant more than just himself, that he also meant the reader, as a disciple of Jesus. Every disciple of Jesus is “the disciple whom he loved.” The Church has always understood this. We are the “beloved” for whom he suffered and died. And so, in the above passage, Saint John is telling every believer in every time and place that Jesus gave Mary to them as their mother; and they to her as her son.

As our mother, Mary is a most excellent companion in prayer and for reflection. The Bible portrays Mary turning our attention to Jesus (see John 2:3-5), who shares our joys, bears our sorrows and who bestows upon us the Divine Grace that transforms us in glory. “Hail Mary” is a Biblical invocation asking her to be present with us in prayer and our reflection – prayer and reflection lifted up to Jesus and embraced by Jesus.