“Consideration is the heart of charity.” This can be applied to how we treat our fellow man and also how we treat the Mysteries that God has revealed to us. Another name for consideration in this case is meditation.
THE BASICS: Hopefully you have been praying your Rosary every day as Our Lady asked at Fatima, so you have already been announcing the Mysteries. Perhaps you have been using some pamphlet to help you think about the Mysteries. A few of you may even have spent a little extra time reading a more sizable book on the Mysteries, which may have included related passages from Holy Scripture, verbal pictures of the scenes, meditations on some aspect of the Mysteries, or poems. In doing this you have been filling up your mind and heart with a reservoir of good thoughts and affections to draw from whenever you pray the Rosary. Some form of collecting good thoughts about the Mysteries is essential for each person who wishes to benefit from the Rosary. You cannot consider or meditate upon something of which you know next to nothing. In fact, if you try to pray the Rosary and find your mind on other subjects, it may very well be that you have not put enough good thoughts on the Mysteries into your memory so that your poor mind is then meditating on something else, which you know and love better than these Mysteries.
THE FUN STUFF: One of the most delightful ways to meditate on the Mysteries of the Rosary is to relate each Mystery to some other thought. This could be the liturgical feasts of the year, or one’s personal situation, or the virtues of the saint for the day, or even to take two Mysteries and to think about them simultaneously-in short, to take two thoughts and to have them perform a mental ballet, which ends up bringing out the hidden beauties of the Mystery. For example, the month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows. If during each of the Mysteries you try to discover how the Seven Sorrows are involved, or if there is any relationship at all between the Rosary Mysteries and the Seven Sorrows, you will be very surprised at the beautiful lights and graces you will obtain. Consider the Seven Sorrows and the Resurrection. Do you have any thoughts on this? Ask yourself, for example, is there any relationship between the joy of the Resurrection and the sorrows of Our Lady? How about focusing in on Our Blessed Mother’s sorrowful heart as she is mourning the violent loss of her divine Son. Then imagine the moment of the Resurrection as He appears to her and changes her sorrows into joy? Don’t you find this a delightful method to think about the Mystery of the Resurrection?
What if you have a very pressing difficulty in your personal life, such as a test that you are about to take? If you take a minute, can you think of any of the Mysteries that show Our Lord distressed over taking a test? How about the first Sorrowful Mystery? Can you see that He would have had any of the same feelings and sentiments that you are going through right now? And how about the virtues that He then practiced? Perhaps you will feel inspired to ask Him to help you to do the same or even to give you the merits of His own virtues in your situation.
And now for the ballet of the Mysteries themselves. The way to propel this ballet is by starting to ask the questions who, what, where, why, when, and how as you simply place two Mysteries next to each other. You will be acting somewhat like a detective, and this activity on your part will assist you in paying attention during the Rosary. If you layer one set of Mysteries over another, you can get a beautiful kaleidoscope of meditations. So, for example, you could be thinking about the Birth of Our Lord and the Crowning with Thorns at the same time. Perhaps you see His meekness come out more convincingly when you note that He has taken the trouble to show it as an infant as well as an adult. (There was no room for Him in the inn.) Or perhaps you are remembering that He is indeed a King and it was first said in adoration, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” and thirty-three years later, “Hail, King of the Jews” in mockery.
So, now do you share my enthusiasm for this method of Rosary meditation leading to contemplation?
If you find this method helpful, please share it with others, and by so doing you will be able to get the benefits of another promise of Our Lady: “All those who propagate the Holy Rosary will be aided by Me in their necessities.” And if you get any special lights on the Mysteries, I would be very interested in hearing about them!