By Sarah Streitwieser
In last weeks’ blog entry I mentioned that somehow between many “failed” rosary praying attempts and regimens, I began learning this one simple fact: the mysteries of the Rosary are not something that we are meant to master. Rather, we are called to enter into them and to let ourselves be mastered. But what exactly does it mean to be mastered by the mysteries of the rosary? How are we invited to truly enter in?
St. Ignatius encouraged others to prayerfully enter into Christ’s life by imagining His life events from different perspectives. One may enter as another person explicitly involved in the scene, as an unseen observer from a distance, or even as an inanimate object (i.e. one could imagine being the hay in Jesus’s manger). St. Ignatius encouraged silence, and for meditation to sink deep rather than spread broad.
Considering the mystery of the visitation we may contemplate: What does it feel like to be Mary, perhaps nauseous in the early stages of pregnancy, traveling a far distance by foot? What is happening in the heart and mind of Elizabeth as she enters the late stages of pregnancy at an advanced age? What does it feel like or what happens when John is filled with the Holy Spirit? Imagine the perspectives of John the Baptist of even Jesus, experiencing the visitation in utero. Or perhaps imagine yourself as Zechariah, witnessing such beautiful displays of faith in total silence.
If you find yourself unable to enter in as deeply as you would like, go back and read the text in the Bible. Try reading slowly until a particular detail or phrase sticks out. Sit with that thought for a while. Don’t be afraid of silence and don’t feel discouraged if nothing “happens.”
Entering into the mysteries of the Rosary is ultimately a grace that comes by way of asking, not by forcing or trying harder. “Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened” (Matt 7:7). Repetition may prepare your heart for receptivity, but ultimately it is Jesus who teaches and God who causes growth.
If you are want more in-depth resources, meditation suggestions, or discussion questions, click the link below. Don’t forget to share your experiences in praying the rosary with your family!