The Rosary: The Finding in the Temple

JMJ

The Fifth Joyous Mystery contemplates the time when, as a child, Christ lingered in Jerusalem after his parents had departed for home. The Gospel text relates that they were traveling with a party so large they assumed he was someplace out of sight and didn’t discover he was gone until three days into their homeward journey.  When they got back to Jerusalem they found him teaching in the Temple and he said: “Didn’t you know I would be about my father’s business?” (“Wist ye not,” it says in the Authorized Version.) This event in the childhood of Christ is not commemorated liturgically at all in the West. It only comes up here in the Rosary.

There is, however, a feast in the East called “Midpentecost”. It is celebrated at the half-way point between Pascha and Pentecost, the 4th Wednesday after Pascha. It has no real scriptural warrant: the Gospel used is of Christ crying out “in the middle of the feast” which, of course, would be only the one-week long feast of Passover. But the icon used is “Christ Among the Doctors” which is of the youth Christ – in other words, it’s an icon of the Mystery of the Finding of Christ in the Temple. The liturgical hymns for this feast – such as I’ve used below – are taken from various events in the scriptures as you will see from the texts I used below.

The feast itself is made up: a conflation of events to make a point. That’s not a bad thing; the West does it as well with feasts for the Motherhood of Mary, the Holy Eucharist, and even Trinity Sunday.  The feasts of the Church’s Calendar are not all tied to an historical event that happened on that specific day. The entire Calendar is a teaching tool, an icon, if you will. The Truth of Christ revealed in the Calendar is the reason for the Calendar.

When praying this mystery the embolism I use is:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, teaching the Elders in the Temple. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Fifth Joyous Mystery:
The Finding of Christ in the Temple

Let us contemplate, in this Mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, after having lost her beloved son in Jerusalem, sought him for the space of three days; and at length found him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the Doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions.

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

The Wisdom of God stands teaching and refuting the unbelieving Pharisees and Scribes, crying out to them with boldness.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus was in the Temple teaching, saying to the doubting Jews, One who thirsts, let them come to me and drink living, eternal water, and they will not thirst for ever.
Hail, Mary, &c.

At thy teaching, O Saviour, the Jews asked, ‘How does this man know letters, never having learned?’ They knew not that thou art the Wisdom ordering the world.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Sending out the rays of thy Godhead, O Christ, thou art a feast of joy for the saved and the cause of our salvation.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Judge not according to appearance, O Scribes and Elders, said the Master, as he stood teaching in the temple, as it is written, at the mid-point of the feast according to the law.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Judge not according to appearance, O Elders and Pharisees: Christ has come, whom the Prophets declared would come from Sion, and call back the world.
Hail, Mary, &c.

If ye believe not my, O Jews, I will show you my Works: why dost thou err, rejecting the Holy One of whom Moses wrote in the Law?
Hail, Mary, &c.

Messiah must surely come, O Jews, and now Messiah has come! So why dost thou err, ejecting the Just One, of whom Moses wrote in the Law?
Hail, Mary, &c.

Standing in the Temple, O Christ, thou spakest with the Jewish people, revealing thy glory, and showing that thou are consubstantial with the Father.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Opening thy lips, O Master, thou proclaimest thine immaculate Father together with the all-holy Spirit, being with them of one nature even after the incarnation. Completing thy Father’s plan, thine own words were confirmed by thy works, O Saviour.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O most blessed Virgin, more than martyr in thy sufferings, and yet the comfort of such as are afflicted: by that unspeakable joy wherewith thy soul was filled when at length thou didst find thy dearly beloved son in the Temple, teaching in the midst of the Doctors, obtain of him that we may so seek him and find him in his Holy Orthodox Catholic Church as never more to be separated from him. Amen.

The Rosary: The Presentation

JMJ

Candlemas is one of my favourite feasts. The following from the Catholic Encyclopedia shares a little bit of the history of the feast:

According to the Roman Missal the celebrant after Terce, in stole and cope of purple colour, standing at the epistle side of the altar, blesses the candles (which must be of beeswax). Having sung or recited the five orations prescribed, he sprinkles and incenses the candles. Then he distributes them to the clergy and laity, whilst the choir sings the canticle of Simeon, “Nunc dimittis”. The antiphon “Lumen ad revelationem gentium et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel” is repeated after every verse, according to the medieval custom of singing the antiphons. During the procession which now follows, and at which all the partakers carry lighted candles in their hands, the choir sings the antiphon “Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion”, composed by St. John of Damascus, one of the few pieces which, text and music, have been borrowed by the Roman Church from the Greeks. The other antiphons are of Roman origin. The solemn procession represents the entry of Christ, who is the Light of the World, into the Temple of Jerusalem. It forms an essential part of the liturgical services of the day, and must be held in every parochial church where the required ministers can be had. The procession is always kept on 2 February even when the office and Mass of the feast is transferred to 3 February. Before the reform of the Latin liturgy by St. Pius V (1568), in the churches north and west of the Alps this ceremony was more solemn. After the fifth oration a preface was sung. The “Adorna” was preceded by the antiphon “Ave Maria”. While now the procession is held inside the church, during the Middle Ages the clergy left the church and visited the cemetery surrounding it. Upon the return of the procession a priest, carrying an image of the Holy Child, met it at the door and entered the church with the clergy, who sang the canticle of Zachary, “Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel”. At the conclusion, entering the sanctuary, the choir sang the responsory, “Gaude Maria Virgo” or the prose, “Inviolata” or some other antiphon in honour of the Blessed Virgin.

The mention of the pagan feast of the Lupercalia is because of the lamentable German Protestant “scholars” and their anti-Catholicism attempting to show that every Christian tradition handed down was really a pagan custom.

The Blessing of Candles has found its way into the Slavonic (at least) Orthodox practice. One source indicates that the Ukrainians may have brought it into the Orthodox Church (from Rome) and thence to the other Slav churches.  I remember being quite surprised at seeing the blessing of Candles in my OCA parish, but the west got the Feast from the East – at least some backwash is seen to happen as well.  The Russians also took bells and their blessings from the West.

Below I have woven in texts from the services of February 2nd in the Byzantine Rite – mostly from Vespers the night before.  When contemplating this Mystery while walking, I add an embolism like this:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, presented by thee in the Temple. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Fourth Joyous Mystery:
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Let us contemplate, in this Mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the day of her Purification, presented the Child Jesus in the Temple, where holy Simeon, giving thanks to God, with great devotion received him into his arms.

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

Now let the heavenly gate be opened. God the Word, begotten beyond time from the Father, has been born from a Virgin, taking flesh, for as he is good he wishes to call back mortal nature and set it at the Father’s right hand.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Word uncircumscribed, above all being, who rides in glory on the heavenly thrones, Simeon takes into his arms and cries, ‘Now release me, according to thy word, my Saviour, the salvation and delight of the faithful’.
Hail, Mary, &c.

When he saw thee, the Word begotten from the Father before the ages, as an infant, wondrous Simeon cried out, ‘I quake and tremble to hold thee in my hands, my Master. But, I beg thee, now release thy servant in peace, for thou art compassionate’.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Today the holy Mother, who is higher than the Holy Place, has come to the Holy Place, revealing to the world the Maker of the world and the Giver of the law. Simeon the Elder took him in his arms and cried with veneration, ‘Now release thy servant. For I have seen thee, the Saviour of our souls’.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Hail, full of grace, Virgin Mother of God, for from thee there dawned the Sun of righteousness, Christ our God, who enlightens those in darkness. Be glad too, righteous Elder, for thou receivest in thy embrace the Liberator of our souls, who grants us also resurrection.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Say, Simeon, whom dost thou carry in thy arms, as thou rejoicest in the temple? To whom dost thou cry and shout aloud, ‘Now I have been set free. For I have seen my Saviour’? ‘This is he who was born from a Virgin. This is the Word, God from God, incarnate for our sake and who saves mankind. Hail, Mary, &c.

Receive, Simeon, the One whom Moses in the dark cloud saw of old giving the Law on Sinai, now become a babe and subject to the Law. This is he who spoke through the Law. This is he who was told of in the Prophets, incarnate for our sake and who saves mankind.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Come, let us too, with songs inspired, go to meet Christ. Let us receive him, whose salvation Simeon saw. This is he whom David proclaimed, and who spoke through the Prophets, was incarnate for our sake and who proclaims by the Law.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Let heaven’s gate be opened today. For he who is without beginning, the Word of the Father, taking a beginning in time, yet not abandoning his godhead, is being willingly brought into the temple of the law as a babe of forty days by a Virgin Mother, and the Elder receives him in his arms.
Hail, Mary, &c.

The servant cries to the Master, ‘Release me, for my eyes have seen thy salvation’. Thou hast come into the world to save the human race. Lord, glory be to thee! Hail, Mary, &c.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Holy Virgin, most admirable example and pattern of obedience, who didst present the Lord of the Temple in the Temple of God, obtain for us, of thy Blessed Son, that, with holy Simeon and devout Anna, we may praise and glorify Him forever. Amen.

The Rosary: The Nativity

By way of introduction to the Third Joyous Mystery of the Rosary, please remember the scripture: Jesus was born in to a family that owned its own business. Jesus was born in a manger not because no inn would house a poor pregnant woman, but rather because the inns were full. Church tradition tells us that Joseph was chosen by Mary’s family because he was wealthy enough to care for her. He was much older than she, having at least one fully grown son already. Some traditional images of the holy family show St Joseph with grey hair. Please get all that modern political theory about a poor homeless family out of your Christmas meditations.

The Third Joyous Mystery: The Nativity

Let us contemplate, in the Mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, when the time for her delivery was come, brought forth our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, at midnight, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inns of Bethlehem.

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

Christ is born, glorify him! Christ comes from heaven, meet him! Christ is upon earth, rejoice! Sing to the Lord all the earth; and let all raise the hymn with joy, for he has been glorified.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Shepherds abiding in the fields had a vision of light which filled them with fear; for the glory of the Lord shone round them and an Angel crying aloud: Sing praises, for Christ is born.
Hail, Mary &c.

At the word of the Angel the armies of heaven cried out: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.
Hail, Mary &c.

To the Son begotten of the Father without change before the ages, and in these latter times without seed incarnate of a Virgin, to Christ God let us cry out: Holy art thou O Lord!
Hail, Mary &c.

The Magi, called by a star, are the first fruits of the gentiles brought to thee as an infant in a manger; sceptres and thrones did not astonish them, but utter poverty; for what is meaner than a cave, what is more humble than swaddling clothes?
Hail, Mary &c.

Let heaven rejoice and let earth be glad the Lamb of God is born on earth, granting redemption to the world. The Word who is in the bosom of the Father comes forth from the Virgin without seed.
Hail, Mary &c.

Rod of the stem of Jesse’s and it’s blossom forth, O Christ, thou springest from the Virgin, the shadowed covered mountain; thou art incarnate from her who knewest not wedlock, and are yet God not formed of matter!
Hail, Mary &c.

As thou art God of peace and Father of mercies, thou hast sent us thine Angel of great counsel, who granting us peace; so guided by the knowledge of God, watching before dawn we glorify thee, only lover of mankind’.
Hail, Mary &c.

Christ our God, whom the Father begot from the womb before the morning star and who holds the reins of the immaculate Powers, is laid in a manger of dumb beasts; he is swaddled in rags, but looses the tangled cords of our sins.
Hail, Mary &c.

A young child has been born from Adam’s race: a Son given to believers; this is the Father and Ruler of the world to come, the Angel of great counsel; the mighty God who holds by his authority all creation.
Hail, Mary &c.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


O pure Mother of God, through thy virginal and most joyful delivery, whereby thou gavest to the world thine only Son, our Saviour, obtain for us, we beseech thee, through thine intercession, the grace to lead such pure and holy lives in this world that we may become worthy to sing, without ceasing, the mercies of thy Son, and His benefits to us given by thee. Amen.

The Rosary: The Visitation

JMJ

The second of the five Joyous Mysteries is known as the Visitation and commemorates the visit of our Blessed Lady to St Elizabeth, the mother of the Forerunner, John Baptist.  The Visitation is a later-comer to the Calendar and devotional life of the Western Church, having been introduced by St Bonaventure in 1263. The Franciscans, in their devotions to the Ever-Virgin, spread the feast throughout the Church. It was extended to the entire Western Church by Pope Urban VI. The feast, with a vigil and an octave, was assigned to 2 July, the day after the octave of St. John, about the time when Mary returned to Nazareth. It did not arrive in the liturgical East until the mid-19th Century, and it is not, even now, widely celebrated. It is reported to have a service approved for use in the Orthodox Church, but no amount of Googling could find the text of the service, just copies of the same report over and over.

As is related in the Gospel text, when Mary said “Shalom!” the infant prophet, still in the womb of his mother, leapt for joy. Hearing of the baby’s action in utero the Blessed Virgin Mary uttered her poem in praise of God, the Magnificat. In the Byzantine rite, this is the Matins Gospel for nearly all the feasts of the Theotokos. The Magnificat is sung as the 9th Ode of the Canon in every Matins service as it also is part of every Vespers in the West. Even though in most Byzantine parochial practice all the other parts of the Canon get skipped for expediency, the 9 Ode is still sung in full.  Since this form is familiar to most users of the Byzantine rite, I will use it for the meditation on this mystery.

When away from a prayerbook and praying this mystery, I use the embolism as below.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, bring joy even within thy womb. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

As before, the introductory comment and the closing prayer comes from The St Ambrose Prayerbook, available from Lancelot Andrewes Press.

The Second Joyous Mystery: The Visitation

Let us contemplate, in this Mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, understanding from the Angel that her cousin St Elizabeth, had conceived, went in haste into the mountains of Judea to visit her, and remained with her three months.

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen 

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

For he that is mighty hath magnified me; and holy is his Name. And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
Hail, Mary, &c.

He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek;.He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

O thou who from thy virginal loins ineffably lentest a body unto the Luminary that was before the sun, even God, Who hath dawned upon us, and dwelt among us in the body: O blessed and all-pure Theotokos, thee do we magnify.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

He that made the water to gush from the cloven rock for the disobedient people, to our joy granteth thee to the obedient nations as the fruit of barren loins.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

O abrogation of the harsh ancient sentence, uprighting of our first mother, cause of God’s kinship with our race, and bridge unto the Creator: O Theotokos, thee do we magnify.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

Thou art the mystical paradise, O Theotokos; for that thou, being untilled, didst bud forth Christ, by Whom was planted on earth the life-giving tree of the Cross.
Hail, Mary, &c. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Holy Virgin, spotless Mother of humility, by that exceeding love which moved thee to visit thy holy cousin St Elizabeth, obtain for us, through thine intercession, that our hearts being visited by thy divine Son, and freed from all sin we may praise and thank Him for ever. Amen.

The Rosary: The Annunciation

JMJ

The first decade of the Holy Rosary is in honor of the Annunciation when the Archangel Gabriel came to Blessed Mary, the Ever-Virgin, and, greeting her, offered her the chance to become the mother of her Creator. Her acceptance of this greeting is the beginning of our salvation. One traditional way of meditation on the mysteries is to add a verse of scripture.  In these posts I will be added a liturgical verse from the Byzantine Rite, to borrow from Ghostbusters, I will be “Crossing the Streams”.

Another way to add to the meditation is to add a short phrase, called an embolism, to indicate the mystery after the words, “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…”  For example, in this mystery, you might say the Hail, Mary like this:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, announced to thee by the Archangel Gabriel. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

I find this method very useful when I am walking and praying the Rosary, as on my way to work.

The First Joyous Mystery: The Annunciation

Let us contemplate, in this Mystery, how the Archangel Gabriel saluted our Blessed Lady with the title, Full of  Grace, and declared unto her the Incarnation of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

In the sixth month the archangel was sent to the pure Virgin. And as he opened his mouth and said to her: Rejoice! And he announced to her that from her will come the Redeemer. And having accepted the greeting with faith, she conceived God.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Having flown down from the vaults of Heaven to Nazareth, Gabriel cried the greeting unto Mary the Virgin: Rejoice, O all-pure Maid; thou shalt bring forth a Son Who existed ere Adam was: He is the Maker of all, and the Ransomer of all them that cry Rejoice to thee.
Hail, Mary, &c.

From Heaven Gabriel brought the good tidings full of joy unto the holy Virgin, crying out Rejoice to her. In thy womb shalt thou both conceive and contain Him Whom all things cannot contain, and shalt be seen as the Mother of Him that shone from the Father ere the morning star.
Hail, Mary, &c.

The Theotokos, being the living tabernacle of God, shall never be touched by an unclean hand. But the lips of believers shall sing unto her ceaselessly with the voice of angels, crying joyfully:
Hail, Mary, &c.

How dost thou overflow with milk, O undefiled Virgin? Verily, thou hast appeared as a strange manifestation, unutterable by human tongue, transcending nature and the bounds of the laws of birth.
Hail, Mary, &c.

The God-inspired Scriptures, O Mother of the Highest, have spoken of thee mystically; for Jacob, when he saw the ladder of old, which was a foresign of thee, cried: This is the ascent of God.
Hail, Mary, &c.

The bush and the fire did reveal to God-beholding Moses a wonderful miracle. And seeking the fulfillment thereof with the passing of time, he cried, saying, I shall behold her who is a spotless Maiden, who shall be addressed with rejoicing as the Theotokos.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Thou hast transcended the bounds of nature, O Maiden, having conceived God in an ineffable manner; for being of a perishable nature, thou was exempted in thy birth-giving from that which pertaineth to mothers. Wherefore, as is meet we say:
Hail, Mary, &c.

Now the beginningless Father’s own co-eternal Word, in His extreme compassion and immeasurable mercy, parting not from things above, cometh below, to take pity on us who fell; and having taken a form that is not His own, He assumeth Adam’s poverty.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Behold, now is our recall made manifest; for God is united with mankind in an ineffable manner. And at the voice of the archangel error hath vanished; for the Virgin hath received joy and earthly things have become heavenly, and the world is free from the ancient curse.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Holy Mary, Queen of Virgins, through the most high Mystery of the Incarnation of thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, wherein our salvation was begun, obtain for us, through thy most holy intercession, light to understand the greatness of the benefit He hath bestowed upon us, in vouchsafing to become our Brother, and in giving thee, His own beloved Mother, to be our Mother also.  Amen.

The Rosary: Introduction to the Joyful Mysteries


JMJ

The Joyful Mysteries are those events at the beginning of the life of Christ:

  1. The Annunciation of the Archangel to Mary
  2. The Visitation of Our Lady to St Elizabeth
  3. The Nativity of Our Lord
  4. The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
  5. The Finding of Christ teaching among the Elders in the Temple

Each one of these represents a direct interplay between Our Lady and Our Lord.  These are called Joyful because of the deep joy they signified to Mary, but also to us! The joys of Lady Day in March and Christmas in December, of Circumcision and Candlemas.

The first two can seem as if Christ is very passive – even missing – but it should never be forgotten that Christ is God in the Flesh: he is never passive, no matter how it may seem to us. But he is never over-ruling either. Mary was asked if she would partake of this joy and she consented. Likewise in the Visitation, it was Christ who made the Forerunner leap for joy, but it was at his Mother’s actions and words.

His actions for our salvation have been the divine plan of the ages.  Fr John Behr says that Protestantism can make it sound like God made the world, man messed it up, and Christ’s Life, Death, and Resurrection are a sort of “Plan B”.  But God knew from the beginning, from before the beginning how Man’s freedom would take him away: As the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world so was he incarnate, born, fed on his mother’s milk, bounced on Joseph’s knee, and lost and found in the temple, all from the foundation of the world. The Mysteries of the Incarnation were always there, waiting for Man’s freedom to be ready to participate in the Divine Dance: that’s the Doctrine of Synergy.  We are saved in a dance with God, not by “following your bliss” or by “submission” to a divine override, but by participation.

The Joyous Mysteries are the revelation of the Dance.  All of Creation from “let us make…” to “it is finished” were the opening measures of it. Praying the Rosary will draw you into the same dance by letting you hear the same music.

Rosary with Byzantine Meditations

JMJ

Introduction

When I was exploring Orthodoxy (2000-2001) and after I had converted, there was a massive jettisoning of anything Western. Any of my friends or long-time readers of the several incarnations of this blog can confirm this. Bye bye Mr. Francis; bye bye Mass; bye bye Mass Cards, bye bye Advent and Advent Wreaths; bye bye novenas; bye bye almost all western saints (even pre-schism ones); bye bye only-blessed-but-not-Saint Augustine, etc, etc. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! The Rosary was not, however, only just more jetsam. A member of what was then called “The Convert Mailing List” responding to yet another “Flush-The-West” rant, pointed out that “the Little Psalter of Our Lady” was a favourite of St Seraphim of Sarov. So was planted the seed for this series of posts, even all these years later.

The Rosary has therefore been a part of my Orthodox journey, although I’ve not been very faithful in recitation of it. Let me commend the Rosary to you in this series of posts, as a portal to Paradise and a bit of it here on Earth, and as sure guard against temptation: a handrail, if you will allow the image, strung by Our Lady along the Ladder of Divine Ascent to make the assay easier for those of us who are weakest in our Spiritual Strength.

You will, perhaps, be familiar with this form of the beads used for counting the prayers:

A circle of beads is divided into five sets of ten, with single, larger beads interspersed. From the “bottom” of the Rosary hangs a pendant of a cross, a larger bead, and three smaller ones in a single strand.  Each section of ten beads is called a decade.  The traditional prayer counted on the smaller beads is the Hail Mary, or the Ave from the Latin Ave Maria. The larger beads mark an Our Father. One complete decade, then, is an Our Father and ten Aves. At the end is added a “Glory be to the Father” before continuing on to the next decade. One other prayer is used, the Apostle’s Creed, which is said on the Cross itself. There are some prayers used by tradition at the ending of a recitation: we’ll get to those by the end of this series of posts. In writing about the Rosary we will begin with the Holy Cross and proceed, in a series of posts, through the 15 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, dedicating one post to each Mystery. There is, in Roman Catholic tradition, one other prayer used, called the Fatima Prayer, because it was given by Mary to the visionaries in Fatima. We will discuss this prayer in a later post, along with the five mysteries added to the Rosary by the Sainted Pope John Paul II.

These posts were originally publised in 2015. Fun to see them 5 years later: I think they’ve aged well.

Text of the Prayers Used in the Rosary

Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, ‘Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. 

The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father)
Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen<

The Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary) 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Minor Doxology (Glory Be)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Pendant or Introductory Prayers to the Rosary

There are different ways to begin the Rosary. Since the Rosary was begun by Dominicans (and is still the special devotion of the Order), and this is my blog, it seems good to use the Dominican way of beginning. First the Original form of the Hail Mary is still used, without the second half that was added during the Black Death. Then the double opening to the morning office is used. In fact, the Hail Mary in this form was the Invitatory for the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary so this three-fold opening underscores the Rosary as the daily office of the Laity.

(In what follows, if the Rosary is said in a group, the italic text is the response.)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O Lord open my lips.
And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

(Not in Lent, add: Alleluia)

At this point I find it helpful, by way of reminder to the aged, to announce to myself, which Mysteries I’m about to pray and to recite them as a list.

The Joyous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary:
The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Nativity
The Presentation of our Lord
The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple 

The Luminous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary
The Baptism of Jesus
The Wedding at Cana
The Preaching of the Gospel
The Transfiguration
The Institution of the Eucharist

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary:
The Agony in Gethsemane
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowning with Thorns
The  Carrying of the Cross
The Death and Burial of Jesus

The Glorious Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary:
– The Resurrection of Jesus
– The Ascension of Jesus
– The Coming of the Holy Ghost
– The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
– The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin.

Love in the Time of Covid-19

JMJ

Dear Fathers in Christ –

Some diocese are canceling public services. Some are not. No matter where you fall on the spectrum between APOCALYPSE and TOO MUCH HYPE there is something you can do to help us all: especially the folks in the places with no Masses.

Put your Mass live on Facebook. Put your Mass live on YouTube. Do the same with your daily offices and any other devotions you offer. You can do this today, now, if you have a Facebook Page for your parish and a laptop with a camera built in. Follow these steps (I’ve marked the suggestions in italics the other steps have to be done.)

  1. Set up for Mass. (If you’re in “isolation mode” you’re probably going to want at least a server/lector with you – even a brother priest. Cantoring optional.)
  2. The Laptop needs to be somewhere the camera can “see” all the action at Mass. To be honest, you don’t need the full shebang for this. Put the laptop on your clean desk, spread a corporal and you’re off. But you can do this at a full altar as long as the camera can see everything. You don’t want to be moving the camera during Mass.
  3. Open the laptop and log in to FB. You’re going to want to have the laptop plugged in because you don’t want it to die during Mass.
  4. Make sure you and the reader (if any) are able to easily get into the line of sight. You’ll be preaching & reading from the same place.
  5. Go to your parish’s page (If you don’t have a page you should really fix that…). I would suggest adding links to the readings of the day and – if you feel like it – to any hymn texts you may want everyone to use. Keep it simple though!
  6. Click on live like in the image at the top of this post. Then you’ll go to a new page.
  7. When FB asks you to approve the use of your camera and audio say yes or there will be all kinds of problems! You’ll see your camera image appear.
  1. Make sure everything looks ok.
  2. Pick where this post will appear: it should be on your Parish’s Facebook page.
  3. Say something – here’s where to put the links for your readings, today’s Mass intentions, etc.
  4. Skip everything in this box unless you know what’s going on. It should be set correctly.
  5. A title: Mass, Vespers, etc.
  6. Click this when you’re ready!

I will help you if you’re having trouble. DM me on FB, or ping me on Twitter. Leave a comment here with a way I can get back to you online first (not via phone call until we’re both on board). With 25 years of customer and tech support, I can walk you through this! I will happily be tech support for getting your Mass online in this simple way. (There are more complex ways to do this, networked cameras, blue tooth mics… I’m not able to help with those: you’ll need someone with other skills.)

YouTube works really well, too, but accounts have to be approved to do livestreaming on YouTube: if you’re not approved this may not be the right time to go through that. If you are already approved then you know all about this. Never the less, I’ll do another post about that option later. Facebook is literally click-and-go for this.

This could work for Mass, the Daily Office, in fact for any possible set of devotions. I would advise having pictures for the Stations or Rosary. Your mileage may vary.

Although this may or may not work well for your parish (you know your people) once it’s on the internet, you’re available to anyone who has access to the internet and Facebook or YouTube. People who are panicking or stressed out because of the world situation can find your Mass and be comforted.

I would love it if there were masses everywhere all day on Facebook, and if the Daily Office were being offered all over the place.

If the Daily Office is a thing: you may want to consider setting up a Zoom account. I’ll do a post about that as well. The advantage of a Zoom (instead of FB or YT) is that your Zoom can be interactive: other folks can pray along and all participants would be able to hear and interact.

Your faithful son in Christ Jesus,

Huw (Stanley Robert), OP

Before Communion

JMJ

Other than the Domine Non Sum Dignus, the Roman Rite (OF/EF) has few pre-communion devotions in the liturgy itself – although the EF also has the Confiteor recited before Communion. If you haven’t any others, the following, taken from Anglican and Eastern Orthodox traditions, are very useful to fill in this gap. There’s usually time to get them done after the invitation and before communion. Your mileage may vary. The first two were used, as well, in the Orthodox Western Rite.

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. (From the Book of Common Prayer)

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe also that this is truly Thine own pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance. And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting. Amen.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord in Thy Kingdom.

May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, O Lord, but to the healing of soul and body. Amen.

A Daily Act of Consecration to the Holy Family

JMJ

Please note: what follows is not an officially approved devotion in any way. If you find it useful, amen. If you feel it needs correction please let me know.

Holy Family of Nazareth, hear the prayers of a prodigal son. I have sinned before heaven and against you. Take me as one of your hired servants.

Chaste Heart of Joseph, I consecrate myself to thee! Like thee may I be chaste and stable. May my work be done with all due speed and diligence; ever be ordered only to the provision, safety, and advance of God’s Kingdom, the Church. Bless my skills and talents that, like thee, I may ever use them to God’s glory and not my own. By thy prayers, may my work be crowned with the virtues of fortitude, prudence, and temperance. Let me be neither greedy nor sloth; let not the noonday demon find me ready to make a mockery of God’s labor or my own. Fix me in chastity in action, word, and thought.

Pray for me, St Joseph, together with thy Most Immaculate Spouse, that I may work out my salvation in fear and trembling; that having thee as my father and Mary as my mother, I may truly have Jesus as my brother and may be a devoted servant of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, I consecrate myself to thee! Like thee may I be open to the will of God, ever trusting him without knowing the cost, and ever certain that what ever he has asked of me he will give me the grace to accomplish. May I never place myself between others and thy divine son save only to say “Do whatever he tells you” and like thee may I ever make intercession before God’s throne especially for those in most need of his mercy. Cause me, by thy prayers, through pious devotion and faithful adherence to the divine precepts, to yield a fruitful harvest of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and all the other virtues.

Pray for me, Holy Mary, Mother of God, together with thy Most Chaste Spouse, that I may be constantly bringing forth the Word of God to the Joy of all the World; that having thee as my mother and Joseph as my father, I may truly have Jesus as my brother and may be a devoted servant of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I consecrate myself to thee! Hear the prayers of thy Most Immaculate Mother and thy Most Chaste Foster Father on my behalf. May the fount of mercy flowing from thy side wash me. Set up thy Cross in my soul. Nail my flesh to the fear of thee. Undo my slavery to my own reasonings. Take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, on fire with love for the world, and wounded with compassion for the weak and lost, especially for those whom daily thou sendest to me.

May I truly have Mary as my Mother and Joseph as my Father, and be thou, Jesus, my Brother, Saviour, and Friend; that in service to the Holy Family of Nazareth, I may live in stability, safety, and peace.

May thy Church be my only home, thy Word my only teacher, thy Cross my only guide, and thy Eucharist my only food. My Jesus, I trust in thee!

Dearest Jesus, after the example of the Chaste Heart of Joseph and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all of my plans, dreams, and intentions, all of my thoughts, words, and deeds, all of my joys and sufferings, my hopes and fears, all of my crosses and crowns of this day and all of my life, all for the intentions of thy Sacred heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for the salvation of souls, the remission of sins, the reparation of blasphemies, the reunion of all Christians, and the intentions of our Holy Father, the Pope.

Amen.