Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Rosary in Lent

My wife and I received an email from a friend who reads our blogs, asking whether the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are prayed more often during Lent. The short answer is that they can be if you want them to be. Before the Luminous Mysteries were added by Pope John Paul II in Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the typical pattern was Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Thursday, Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday, and Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. When I started praying the Rosary, the Sunday mystery floated -- Glorious was the default, but if it was Advent or Christmas, it was Joyful, and if it was Lent, it was Sorrowful.

With the addition of the Luminous Mysteries, John Paul II rearranged the typical schedule.

According to current practice, Monday and Thursday are dedicated to the “joyful mysteries”, Tuesday and Friday to the “sorrowful mysteries”, and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday to the “glorious mysteries”. Where might the “mysteries of light” be inserted? If we consider that the “glorious mysteries” are said on both Saturday and Sunday, and that Saturday has always had a special Marian flavour, the second weekly meditation on the “joyful mysteries”, mysteries in which Mary's presence is especially pronounced, could be moved to Saturday. Thursday would then be free for meditating on the “mysteries of light”.

This indication is not intended to limit a rightful freedom in personal and community prayer, where account needs to be taken of spiritual and pastoral needs and of the occurrence of particular liturgical celebrations which might call for suitable adaptations. What is really important is that the Rosary should always be seen and experienced as a path of contemplation. In the Rosary, in a way similar to what takes place in the Liturgy, the Christian week, centred on Sunday, the day of Resurrection, becomes a journey through the mysteries of the life of Christ, and he is revealed in the lives of his disciples as the Lord of time and of history.
My personal practice will be to continue with the typical schedule, but John Paul II specifically noted that an individual is free to pray whichever mysteries meet his or her spiritual needs.

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