October the Month of the Rosary: A Time for a Consideration
“The Rosary is essentially a contemplative prayer, which requires tranquility of rhythm or even a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life”(Congregation of Divine Worship, 2001). The Rosary is a sympathetic participation in and an empathic pondering of the drama that is the life of Mary, whose life is inextricably intertwined with Jesus’ life from the moment of His conception to His crucifixion—and beyond. Prayed sincerely, the Rosary intensifies a person’s encounter with the depth, breadth and immensity, immensity, love, power and glory of the Mystery of God’s Plan for the Redemption of all, through His Word “made flesh,” in Mary’s womb, Jesus the Christ.
The interlocking dramas of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious events of Jesus and Mary’s mutual existences as recorded in the Gospels are presented in fifteen acts in the Rosary, each of which is called a Mystery. We sometimes, perhaps ofttimes, lose sight of the mysterium tremendum that lay beneath and within these Jesus-Mary events and we wind-up believing we understand precisely and totally what the Annunciation, Visitation, etc. are. But the Gospel is about God, and God is of immeasurable depth. Every time we ponder a piece of the Gospel we are encountering a piece of, an aspect of, the Infinite. So also it is with every event in the lives of Jesus and Mary of which the Gospel as leave us a record. When we look at Jesus and Mary acting or being acted upon in the Gospels we are looking into windows to the Infinite; we are approaching God-designed doors to a new reality, to a new life. The Mysteries of the Rosary are moments within that larger mystery of God, within the fathomless mystery of existence, within the mystery of our own life, within the mystery of the drama of salvation in God through the Christ-event.
The Ukrainian Orthodox religious and social philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev, writes, “We will either breathe in the atmosphere of the infinite or we will suffocate in the atmosphere of the finite.” The fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, allow a Christian to breathe in the atmosphere of the Infinite, which is an atmosphere of Unconditional Eternal Love for each and for all. This is why billions people over the centuries have prayed the Rosary as, they observed from one vantage point or another evil, suffering, fear and death making the, individual and /or collective, experience life hopelessly spiritually claustrophobic.
I met a little girl by the name of Mary Harrington who told me about the Blessed Mother.
Years passed and I attended high school and college and then went to work for the Socialist and Communist movements in the early ’20s. Nevertheless, I often went into churches. One winter when I was working in New Orleans and living across the street from the cathedral there I found great joy in attending Benediction. That Christmas a Communist friend gave me a rosary. “You were always dropping into the cathedral,” she explained.
I did not know how to say the prayers of the Rosary but I kept it by me. A year or so later my friend, Peggy Cowley gave me a tiny statuette of the Blessed Virgin, pale blue and white
Later still, Sister Aloysia of the Sisters of Charity who lived at St. Joseph’s by the Sea, on Staten Island, taught me to say the Rosary. I had known before, as I am sure many children do, the Our Father. But the Hail Mary and the Salve Regina and the Memorare were new to me.
God was our Father, so I could approach Him, daring to say, “Our Father.” But it was reading of Jesus Christ in the New Testament that made me want to put off the old man and put on Christ, as St. Paul said. And who had given me our Lord but the Virgin Mary? It was easy to pray to her, repetitious though it might seem. Saying the Rosary as I did so often, I felt that I was praying with the people of God, who held on to the physical act of the Rosary as to a lifeline, a very present help in time of trouble.
Since October is the month of the Rosary and since so many Christian, Catholic and Protestant, whom I know or know of who are resolutely committed to the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, also pray the Rosary, I thought it might be helpful over the fifteen days beginning October 10th to forward a short meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary on each day. Hopefully this will be of some spiritual assistance in aiding some Christians to catch a breath in the Atmosphere of Infinite Nonviolent Love of all from which flows the Mystery of God’s Plan of Redemption of all through Jesus the Christ
P.S. A DVD or a CD presentation of the Rosary being prayer with these meditations on the Mysteries is available from Bob Aroian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-355-2360 for cost of shipping or less.