It wasn’t until I was well into my journey of learning to pray the Rosary that I discovered that each mystery is associated with a spiritual fruit. I think that I first noticed them listed in a “How to Pray the Rosary” pamphlet – probably something that I had casually picked up from the church vestibule.
Written under each of the 20 mysteries was a specific spiritual fruit. In this particular pamphlet there was no instruction beyond this. As a convert to Catholicism, I had initially found the layered praying experience of the Rosary to be a touch overwhelming. This may seem entirely second nature to a cradle Catholic, but for me, the idea of praying one set of prayers (Hail Mary, Our Father, etc.) while meditating on something else (i.e. the annunciation), initially felt dizzying and mainly impossible.
Now I had discovered a whole new layer to the Rosary experience. To be honest, I had no idea what to do with this new piece of information. I began by just saying the name of the virtue before beginning each decade: “The annunciation. Humility. Our Father …”
To be honest, I had no idea why any given virtue was associated with a particular mystery of the Rosary. Furthermore, I wasn’t totally certain what I was supposed to do with these virtues. In the example of humility and the annunciation – was I supposed to look for the virtue of humility demonstrated in the annunciation Bible story? Could I mystically obtain the virtue of humility just by praying the Annunciation? How many times did I need to pray to be truly humbled?
As with much of my Catholic experience, I have found that my initial questions – while honest and well-intentioned – are not ultimately the questions whose answers I most deeply seek. The answers that I truly want are not something that can be neatly printed in a pamphlet or answered with a simple response. Rather, they are answers that come in pieces, slowly with repetition and prayer.
This is your invitation to continue the Rosary Journey with your family (with your Parish, and with me, too!). You can check out the Rosary Encounter on our social media pages or in the bulletin. Try praying it with your spouse or with your kids. You can also come here to find additional resources and something new each week. Click the link below for materials on meditation and discussion.