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Rosary Meditations

by St. Anthony Mary Claret

St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) was Archbishop in Cuba, Father of Vatican Council I, and religious Founder. He is noted for many apostolic writings, a fruitful missionary work, and an example of heroic suffering under persecution.

Importance of the Rosary

The formula of prayers we will speak of briefly is called the Rosary, because it is a crown of roses consisting of Hail Mary's which Christians offer to the Queen of Heaven and earth. Ancient peoples of the East had the custom of offering crowns of roses to distinguished persons; and true Christians have the praiseworthy habit of offering every day with great devotion this crown of Marian roses to their beloved Mother, the holy Virgin. This was the practice of St. Louis, King of France, of the great Bossuet, of Fenelon, of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis de Sales, St. Francis Xavier, and others. Thus from the year 1208, during which the glorious St. Dominic taught it as it is prayed today, there has not been a Saint nor a person distinguished for learning and virtue, nor an observant religious community, nor a well-ordered seminary, which has not kept up devotion to the Rosary ...

The Rosary is a prayer which is both mental and vocal ... As it is made up of such holy elements, no one will wonder that it is a devotion so agreeable to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and very powerful for winning all favors. Indeed we know and have verified by experience that in this devotion a remedy is found for public needs, as wars, pestilences, famine, and other calamities. Likewise for individual necessities of soul and body the Rosary has been found to be a great assistance.

The Rosary is a rich mine in which Christians who pray it and meditate it attentively and devoutly gain immense spiritual treasures. It is a flourishing garden in which flowers of all kinds of beautiful, fragrant virtues are plucked.

The holy Rosary is the most powerful, easiest and sweetest means for dispelling religious ignorance and getting rid of error and heresy. Indeed, when people love and recite the holy Rosary they find it makes them better. While one prays the Our Father and ten Hail Marys it is not necessary to reflect on all of the ten points into which the mysteries are divided; one may linger on that point or points which appeal more to him or move him more to devotion. This method given here of announcing the mystery and then meditating on it by points, is the method which St. Dominic commonly practiced, according to Blessed Alan's account.

The Rosary Meditated
JOYFUL MYSTERIES

I. Annunciation

1-The Holy Trinity decrees the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God 2-The Blessed Virgin is chosen to be Mother of God Who is to become Man 3-The Archangel St. Gabriel announces this news to the Virgin Mary 4-Blessed Mary, who was at prayer, listens to the Archangel 5-The Archangel says to Mary: "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with Thee" 6-At these words ... Mary is surprised and wonders 7-The Archangel says to Her, "Fear not, Mary; for Thou wilt conceive through the action of the Holy Spirit" 8-Mary answers: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto Me according to Thy word." 9-In that instant the Holy Spirit casts His shadow on Her 10-The Word becomes Man and dwells among us, and is now truly in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Let us ask for the Spiritual Fruit of Humility by imitating the Son of God and His Most Holy Mother.

II. Visitation

1-Out of Her charity and humility, Mary goes on a visit to Her cousin, St. Elizabeth 2-She is inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit to make this visit 3-Blessed Mary travels to Her cousin in haste 4-St. Elizabeth receives Mary with great joy 5-The infant John is sanctified within his mother's womb 6-St. Elizabeth says to Mary: "Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb." 7-Mary replies: "My soul doth magnify the Lord and My spirit rejoices in God My Savior" 8-St. Elizabeth declares: "How do I deserve that the Mother of my God should come to visit me?" 9-Zacharias' house is filled with blessings with the presence of Jesus and Mary 10-Mary assists Her cousin with great humility and charity for three months.

Let us ask for the Spiritual Fruit of Charity for our neighbor, imitating Jesus and Mary.

III. Nativity

1-Mary gives birth to the Son of God without any loss to Her virginal purity 2-Mary bears Her Son in a stable and wraps Him in poor, swaddling clothes 3-Mary marvels at the blessed Fruit of Her womb and considers Him devotedly 4-Mary adores and embraces Jesus with all the love of Her heart 5-Mary nurses the Infant Jesus 6-Mary places the Child Jesus in a manger prepared by St. Joseph 7-The King of Heaven and earth rests on the coarse straw of a manger between two beasts 8-Angels sing: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will" 9-Shepherds come to see and adore the Child 10-The kings from the Orient who followed a star, come and adore the Child Jesus. They adore Him and offer Him gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Let us ask for the Spiritual Fruit of Love for poverty, considering how Jesus embraced and practiced it from the manger to the Cross.

IV. Presentation

1-Mary goes to the temple in Jerusalem to offer the Holy Child to God 2-What an example of submission and obedience to the holy Law 3-With holy patience the Most Holy Virgin suffers discomfort and hardship on the journey 4-Mary carries the Child Jesus in Her arms 5-During the journey Mary ponders the mysteries of the Incarnate Word 6-Mary reaches the temple and offers the Child to God by the hands of His ministers 7-Mary pays five shekels for the ransom of the Child and gives two pigeons, required of poor people 8-Anna the prophetess is overjoyed at seeing the fulfillment of the Lord s promises 9-The elderly St. Simeon embraces the Child fondly and thanks God earnestly 10-Simeon announces that the Child will be persecuted and that a sword of sorrow will pierce Mary's heart.

Let us ask for the Spiritual Fruit of Obedience to the Law of God, to the Law of the Church and to the law of those over us, and to the inspirations we have to do what is best.

V. Finding the Child Jesus

1-Mary loses Her Son Jesus 2-"O Mother, what a great Treasure Thou hast lost" 3-In sorrow Mary searches for Her Son Jesus 4-The afflicted Mother looks through the streets and avenues of Jerusalem for Her Son 5-After three days of weariness and grief, Mary finds Her Son Jesus 6-Mary has the consolation of finding Jesus in the temple 7-Jesus is among the doctors, astonishing them with the wisdom of His questions and answers 8-Mary says: "My Son, why hast Thou done this? We were so grief-stricken as we sought Thee." 9-Jesus goes to Nazareth with Mary and St. Joseph, completely submissive and obedient 10-Mary keeps in Her Heart all the words and actions of Jesus and ever thinks on them.

Let us ask for the Spiritual Fruit to look for Jesus Who has been lost by sin, until we find Him in the temple by means of a good confession.

SORROWFUL MYSTERIES

I. Agony in the Garden

1-After the Supper, Jesus and the eleven disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane 2-After reaching the Garden, Jesus leaves eight of the disciples. Then He separates from the three with Him and goes apart to pray alone. He kneels and bows until His Forehead touches the earth 3-Jesus prays long and fervently 4-Jesus feels His Soul plunged in the agony of death 5-Jesus sweats so much Blood that It trickles to the ground 6-Jesus prays: "My Father, not My Will but Thine be done" 7-Jesus tells His beloved disciples: "Watch and pray that you fall not into temptation" 8-Judas arrives with the Jews. He approaches Jesus and betrays Him with a kiss 9-The Jews seize Jesus, Who, like a gentle lamb, offers no resistance as He allows them to bind Him 10-Jesus is cruelly bound and brought to the house of Annas and Caiphas.

Let us ask for the Spiritual Fruit of Conformity to God's Will in our pains and toils, considering how they are the chalice that God gives us.

II. The Scourging at the Pillar

1-Jesus is delivered to the Jews for scourging 2-Jesus says nothing at the sentence they pass, so unjust, cruel and shameful 3-Jesus is disrobed and strapped to a pillar 4-The Jews are anxious and ready to scourge Jesus5-Jesus is whipped with lashes, cords and leather straps 6-Jesus is beaten with thorn-covered branches 7-Jesus is whipped with iron chains 8-Jesus sheds His Precious Blood in torrents 9-Jesus endures more than five thousand lashes with heroic patience, uttering no complaint 10-After the whipping, Jesus is robed again.

Fruit: Holy patience in my pains, toils, sorrows and troubles, considering how far more Jesus suffered than I, though He was innocent and I am a guilty sinner.

III. The Crowning with Thorns

1-Soldiers are speaking of crowning Jesus with a wreath of thorns 2-The soldiers quickly put together a crown of thorns they used in the whipping3-The soldiers put the thorny crown on Jesus' Head and press it down with great force 4-Jesus' Head becomes a mass of wounds 5-Blood trickles down from all sides of His Head 6-Blood mingles with tears Jesus sheds 7-The Blood that reddens Jesus Head, bathes His discolored Lips 8-The soldiers lay an old purple mantle over Jesus' Shoulders and put a reed in His Hand 9-The soldiers insult Jesus, bend their knees, and say, Hail King of the Jews! They strike Him and spit in His Face 10-Pilate presents Jesus to the people from a balcony and declares: Behold the Man.

Fruit: to practice a meek forbearance amid suffering, injuries, insults and ill treatment, withholding my temper.

IV. The Carrying of the Cross

1-At the demand of the people, who have been roused by their leaders, Jesus is condemned to die on the Cross 2-They present the Cross to Jesus, Who embraces it with love in His Heart 3-Jesus shoulders the Cross and carries it in a spirit of good will 4-Jesus carries the Cross, He falls beneath its heavy weight, so that we may consider the enormous weight of our sins 5-On His journey with His Cross, Jesus meets His Mother, Who is plunged in terrible grief 6-A pious woman wipes Jesus' Face and His holy features leave their likeness on the cloth 7-Some women of Jerusalem weep at seeing Jesus in such pain. Jesus tells them to weep for their sins and those of their children 8-Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His Cross 9-Jesus again falls beneath the weight of the Cross 10-After terrible pain and fatigue, Jesus reaches Mt. Calvary.

Fruit: to have compassion for my neighbors in their pains and toils.

V. Crucifixion of the Son of God

1-Jesus is disrobed and stretched out on the Cross 2-Jesus is nailed, Hands and Feet, to the Cross 3-Men ... raise up the Cross on which Jesus is nailed, Who stains it with the Blood from His Wounds 4-The first Word Jesus says from the Cross is a prayer for the pardon of His enemies 5-Jesus promises paradise to the good thief 6-Jesus entrusts His disciple to His Mother, and in him all of us, so that She may accept us as Her children 7-Jesus prays: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" 8-Jesus says, "I thirst"; and they give Him gall with vinegar to drink 9-Jesus says, "It is finished." Everything is fulfilled 10-With a loud, forceful voice, Jesus prays: "Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit." He bows His Head and dies.

Fruit: To pardon my enemies in imitation of Jesus and Mary.

GLORIOUS MYSTERIES

I. Resurrection

1-Jesus' Body is put in the tomb. His Soul goes to limbo to console the souls of the Holy Fathers 2-Jesus, in company with the holy souls, goes to the tomb on the third day and rises again 3-Jesus comes out of the tomb in glory. Soldiers see Him and are dumbfounded 4-Jesus appears to His Mother and leaves Her full of joy 5-Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene as gardener 6-Jesus appears to other Marys 7-Jesus appears to the Apostle Peter 8-Jesus appears to two disciples on their way to Emmaus 9-Jesus appears to the Apostles and gives them power to forgive sins 10-Jesus, appearing to His Apostles, has Thomas touch His wounds and rebukes his lack of faith.

Fruit: Faith that Jesus has risen, that He is God and Man; that His doctrine and religion are divine.

II. Ascension

1-Jesus meets His disciples on Mt. Olivet 2-In their presence He rises, leaving His footprint in the earth 3-Jesus blesses all His beloved disciples and goes up to Heaven 4-Jesus goes to Heaven and remains in the Sacrament of the altar 5-Jesus promises the Holy Spirit 6-Jesus has entered into His glory by the path of affliction and has opened the gates of Heaven to us 7-Jesus is received in Heaven with great triumph and sits at the Father's right hand 8-Jesus in Heaven always intercedes for us 9-Jesus is our Redeemer, Savior, Teacher, Who has taught us what to do to be saved 10-Two angels tell the disciples: "This Jesus will one day return."

Fruit: To awaken a yearning for the glory of Heaven and a hope of arriving there by the merits and intercession of Christ and by our good works.

The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon Our Lady and the Apostles. Jesus appointed Mary the Mother and Queen of the Apostles and the whole Church. It is most fitting that She be with the Apostles and Disciples on Pentecost and be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:14; 2:1 and Acts 2:4)

 

 

III. Descent of the Holy Ghost

1-Ten days after His Ascension, Jesus sends His Holy Spirit 2-Mary, the Apostles and disciples have all gathered in the Cenacle in fervent prayer 3-On Pentecost Sunday at 9:00 a.m. the Holy Spirit comes upon them 4-All are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak of God's wonders in different languages 5-Their minds are enlightened and they become very wise 6-Their hearts are enkindled with the fire of holy love 7-They who before were cowardly, now fear no one and rejoice to be able to suffer for Jesus 8-St. Peter preaches. With his first sermon he converts three thousand and with the second, five thousand 9-The Apostles go all over the world and preach the holy Gospel and give their lives for love of Jesus 10-"O Holy Ghost, come upon all the Faithful and enkindle all of us with the fire of divine love."

Fruit: Charity, begging it of God, and on our part doing good works.

IV. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

1-In a wonderful way the Apostles gather in Jerusalem to be with Blessed Mary at Her death and burial 2- The Blessed Virgin dies and Her precious body is put in a tomb 3-On the third day Her body rises 4-Her risen body goes up to Heaven in company with the angels 5-She is received in Heaven in triumph by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost 6-The seraphim and other angels receive Her with reverence and love 7-All Heaven rejoice with unspeakable gladness at Mary's entrance into Heaven 8-She is placed at Jesus' right Hand 9-She offers prayer for us with Jesus 10-True lovers of the Rosary have every reason to rejoice that they have a Mother at Jesus' side.

Fruit: Perseverance unto death.

V. Coronation of the Blessed Virgin

1-The Blessed Virgin is crowned in Heaven by the Holy Trinity 2-Mary is crowned for a love more ardent than that of the seraphim 3-Mary is crowned for a purity exceeding that of the angels 4-Mary is crowned for Her deep humility 5-Mary is crowned for Her perfect obedience 6-Mary is crowned for Her wonderful prudence 7-Mary is crowned for Her heroic patience 8-Mary is crowned for Her grateful and most faithful use for God's purposes, of all She had 9-Mary is crowned for perfectly persevering in the practice of all virtues 10-Mary is crowned and placed over the highest creatures in Heaven for being a worthy Mother of God.

Fruit: Devotion to Mary.

Note: 
St. Anthony Claret's "The Rosary Meditated" was translated from his El Santisimo Rosario Explicado published in Barcelona in 1892 (except the passage asterisked is from p. 49 of his El Santisimo Rosario published by Coculsa in Madrid in 1954). The holy author added the explanation.