Column: Rosary can calm a troubled heart and lift us from our suffering

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Last week, in this space, I encouraged every member of the Archdiocese, during the month of October, to make a personal commitment to pray the rosary daily.

The rosary is such a rich prayer; it can spiritually nourish the life of small children as well as great intellectuals like the late Pope John Paul II.

When we are sick and perhaps unable to read, or when we are overcome by grief mourning the death of a loved one, the recitation of the Hail Marys of the rosary can calm our troubled hearts and lift us from our suffering. By contemplating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus with Mary, we experience the peace promised by Jesus — a peace that can calm our hearts, even in the midst of life’s storms.

Last week, I acknowledged how my own praying of the rosary has been enriched by following the suggestion of Pope John Paul II to conclude the first half of the Hail Mary by adding a phrase after the name of Jesus relating to the mystery for that particular decade. I shared with you some of the phrases I use for the glorious mysteries. This week, I wish to share with you the phrases I employ for the joyful, sorrowful and luminous mysteries.

So, for example, for the first joyful mystery — the Annunciation — you could pray the Hail Mary as follows: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blest is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, whose conception was announced by the Archangel Gabriel. Holy Mary . . .

For most mysteries, I like to use several phrases that sometimes I rotate while praying the decade.

• For the joyful mysteries, I suggest:

1) The Annunciation
a) Jesus, whose conception was announced by the Archangel Gabriel
b) Jesus, who is the Word incarnate
c) Jesus, whose body was knit together in your womb

2) The Visitation of Elizabeth by Mary
a) Jesus, who was first greeted by the unborn John the Baptist
b) Jesus, who is the Word made flesh who dwelt among us
c) Jesus, who inspired John to leap in the womb of Elizabeth

3) The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
a) Jesus, who was born in the most humble of circumstances
b) Jesus, who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger
c) Jesus, who was adored by shepherds and kings
d) Jesus, who was protected by Joseph
e) Jesus, whom the angels acclaimed King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace

4) The Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple
a) Jesus, who was presented by you and Joseph in the temple
b) Jesus, who was recognized as the long-awaited One by Simeon and Anna
c) Jesus, whom Simeon declared to be the light for the nations

5) The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
a) Jesus, whom you and Joseph found in his Father’s house
b) Jesus, who astounded the elders and teachers of the temple with his wis- dom and understanding
c) Jesus, who was obedient unto you and Joseph in Nazareth

• For the sorrowful mysteries:

1)The Agony in the Garden
a) Jesus, who anguished in the Garden of Gethsemane
b) Jesus, who asked Peter, James and John to watch one hour and pray
c) Jesus, who sweated drops of blood
d) Jesus, who asked that this cup of suffering be removed
e) Jesus, who prayed: Father, not my will, but thy will be done

2) The Scourging at the Pillar
a) Jesus, who was scourged at the pillar
b) Jesus, who was whipped and beaten for our sins
c) Jesus, by whose stripes we are healed

3) The Crowning with Thorns
a) Jesus, who was crowned with thorns
b) Jesus, who was mocked by the soldiers
c) Jesus, who declared: My kingdom is not of this world

4) The Carrying of the Cross
a) Jesus, who carried the cross for our sins
b) Jesus, who fell three times
c) Jesus, whose face was wiped by Veronica’s veil
d) Jesus, who walked the way of sorrow
e) Jesus, who was assisted by Simon of Cyrene

5) The Crucifixion
a) Jesus, who was nailed to the cross
b) Jesus, who prayed for his executioners: Father, forgive them they know not what they do
c) Jesus, who promised Dismas: This day you will be with me in paradise
d) Jesus, who prayed: Father into thy hands I commend my spirit
e) Jesus, from whose pierced side blood and water flowed

• For the luminous mysteries:

1) The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
a) Jesus, who was baptized by John in the Jordan
b) Jesus, upon whom the Holy Spirit descended as a dove
c) Jesus, of whom the Father declared: This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased

2) The Wedding Feast at Cana
a) Jesus, who changed water into wine at the wedding feast
b) Jesus, about whom you instructed the stewards: Do whatever he tells you
c) Jesus, who changed bread and wine into his body and his blood

3) The Proclamation of the Kingdom
a) Jesus, who proclaimed the kingdom of God is at hand
b) Jesus, who preached: Repent and believe in the good news
c) Jesus, who taught: Seek first the kingship of your heavenly Father and all else will be given you

4) The Transfiguration
a) Jesus, who was transfigured on the mountain
b) Jesus, who gave Peter, James and John a glimpse of his glory
c) Jesus, about whom the Father declared: This is my beloved son. Listen to Him

5)The Institution of the Eucharist
a) Jesus, who gave us the sacrament of his body and his blood
b) Jesus, who said: This is my body that will be given up for you
c) Jesus, who said: This is my Blood that will be poured out for you

After reverencing the name of Jesus and recalling the particular mystery, we pray the second half of the Hail Mary in which we ask Holy Mary to pray for us, now and at the hour of our death. It is impossible to believe that Mary would ignore our sincere request. What a comfort to know that Mary is interceding for us now and will advocate for us at the time of our death!

Pope John Paul II, in concluding his apostolic letter on the rosary, said: “A prayer so easy and yet so rich truly deserves to be rediscovered by the Christian community.” During this October, let us rediscover the rosary — one of the great spiritual treasures of our Catholic faith.

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