Among the abundant, manifold beauties and graces of the Holy Rosary is that it is prayed in so many wonderful ways. The focus of this devotional prayer is, of course, always on the gospel, the life of Jesus Christ. In addition to the traditional mysteries, there is also the Franciscan Crown Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Mother, the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, and the Rosary of St. Joseph.
The faithful also add their prayers between decades. Verbal repetition of the mysteries after the Holy Name of Jesus during the “Hail Mary” prayer refreshes the meaning and clarifies or sharpens the mental image during the meditation for some (i.e., “…thy womb, Jesus, Whose birth was announced by an angel. Holy Mary…”). Others always include the St. Michael the Archangel prayer toward the end of the rosary.
The Advent and Christmas Seasons find people praying either the Annunciation or the Incarnation Mysteries, respectively, for all five decades. Taking into account its flexibility, but also respecting its basic structural elements, there are certainly multiple way to pray the rosary.
The devotion of the Miraculous Mysteries of the Rosary is based upon the divine works of Jesus in sacred scripture performed among the men and women who witnessed His power and authority during His mission to seek out the lost, to spread glad tidings of joy to the poor, and to console the sorrowing. These mysteries call to mind the astonishing, never-before seen miracles wrought by the Son of God in the real places He lived and visited. They do not replace the traditional mysteries of the rosary, but serve as an alternative series of meditations on Christ’s remarkable life among those whom He loved while walking the earth.
There are, certainly, other miraculous mysteries. For example, if one prefers Jesus calming the wind and the waves of the sea to Jesus casting out demons, that mystery should then be prayed instead. Perhaps the image of Jesus and the great catch of fish speaks to the heart more than His feeding the five thousand. The substitution is warranted and legitimate because if it works better for the one praying, it ultimately draws that person closer into a deeper meditation on one aspect of the life of Our Savior, which is at the very heart of prayer.
Here are suggested meditations for the five decades of the Miraculous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary:
The First Miraculous Mystery: Jesus Heals The Sick
Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on Him (Mt 8:14-15).
The Second Miraculous Mystery: Jesus Casts Out Demons
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.” And he pleaded earnestly with Him not to drive them away from that territory. Now a large herd of swine were feeding there on the hillside. And they pleaded with Him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.” And He let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea where they were drowned (Mk 5:8-13).
The Third Miraculous Mystery: Jesus Raises The Dead
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to Him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You for hearing Me. I know that You always hear Me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” And when He had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go” (Jn 11:39-44).
The Fourth Miraculous Mystery: Jesus Walks On Water
When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But He said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid” (Jn 6:19-20).
The Fifth Miraculous Mystery: Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
But they said to Him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then He said, “Bring them here to me,” and He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over – twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children (Mt 14:17-21).
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