As mentioned above, the central theme of the rosary is Mary. But not Mary – daughter of Joachim and Ann, or Mary – peasant girl in Nazareth, or even Mary – wife of Joseph, but Mary – mother of Jesus. In other word’s Mary’s importance is completely in her relationship to our Savior Jesus. And the rosary is themed accordingly.
Each of the 5 decades of the rosary begins with a “Mystery”, which is an important event in Jesus’s life, ministry, death or resurrection. In fact, there are four different rosary themes, each dedicated to one of those events. The “Joyful Mysteries” focus on Jesus birth and early life. The “Luminous Mysteries” focus on His ministry. The “Sorrowful Mysteries” focus on His passion and death. And the “Glorious Mysteries” focus on His Resurrection and reign in heaven. In keeping with the Marian aspect of the rosary, most of its mysteries are events in which Mary’s life intersected directly with Jesus. Notably, however, there are a few mysteries that are so central to Jesus’s story that they don’t directly involve Mary, thus confirming that Jesus is the ultimate end or purpose of praying the rosary.
So as one gets spiritually deeper in praying the rosary, one’s focus shifts from Mary to Jesus. One begins to contemplate the nature of Jesus’s birth, His first miracle, His transfiguration, His crucifixion, His resurrection. These events are so deep in their impact on our singular lives to the entire history of the world that they are called Mysteries. The following 10 Hail Mary prayers are then a rhythm by which one can delve into some aspect of these mysteries. Such as:
“Jesus, the King of the Universe was born in a stable in the middle of the night with no fanfare, yet today I proudly announced to my wife three times that I was magnanimous enough to do the laundry today. How can I better follow Jesus tomorrow?”
“Jesus was born in a stable. God Himself loves us so much that He wanted to enter our very existence – but as a peasant rather than a prince. What is He telling us about people’s perceived status as it relates to their dignity?”
Or even simply picturing oneself at the edge of the glow around the manger, basking in the indescribable joy of the birth of our Savior.
The possibilities of how one enters into the Mysteries is endless. You can see how one taking some time each day to pray a rosary and delve into these mysteries couldn’t help but grow in faith, relationship and understanding of Jesus.