Blessed John Paul II addressed the issues of praying the rosary more fruitfully and even the problem of boredom, and I am grateful to him for raising these issues. In addition to giving us the Luminous Mysteries, he also offered a list of seven suggestions that are rarely quoted. The purpose of these suggestions is to help individuals to engage their minds more concretely on the subject proposed for each decade. What follows is an abbreviated version that appears in The Seven Day Bible Rosary with references to his document on the rosary. Quotation marks indicate his words in the Apostolic Letter.
Introduction. “In different parts of the Church, there are many ways to introduce the Rosary. In some places, it is customary to begin with the opening words of Psalm 70, ‘O God, come to my assistance, O Lord, make haste to help me.’ …In other places the Rosary begins with the recitation of the Creed…” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n.37).
Announce each mystery. “Announcing each mystery…is…to open up a scenario on which to focus our attention.” (n.29).
Use the Bible. “In order to supply a Biblical foundation and greater depth to our meditation, it is helpful to follow the announcement of the mystery with the proclamation of a related Biblical passage, long or short, depending on the circumstances… It is not a matter of recalling information but of allowing God to speak” (n.30).
Use silence. “Listening and meditation are nourished by silence. After the announcement of the mystery and proclamation of the word, it is fitting to pause and focus one’s attention for a suitable period of time on the mystery concerned, before moving into vocal prayer” (n.31).
Realize what you are saying when you pray the Our Father, the Hail Marys, and the Glory Be (n.32-34).
Make specific intentions for each mystery. “…the contemplation of the mysteries could better express their full spiritual fruitfulness if an effort were made to conclude each mystery with a prayer for the fruits specific to that particular mystery” (n.35). I think the same can be said about starting each mystery with such a prayer.
Understand the symbolism of the Rosary beads. They “converge upon the Crucifix, which both opens and closes the unfolding sequence of prayer. The life and prayer of believers is centered upon Christ” (n.36).
Conclusion. The Holy Father suggests several prayers to conclude the Rosary. “The Rosary is then ended with a prayer for the intentions of the Pope, as if to expand the vision of the one praying to embrace all the needs of the Church” (37). He also suggests praying the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) and to pray that by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary we may come to “imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise” (n.35).
In future blogs I will show how The Seven Day Bible Rosary helps to achieve the objectives of these suggestions. See also http://www.sevendaybiblerosary.com.
John F. Kippley
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The Seven Day Bible Rosary