Fruitful Meditations for the Holy Rosary
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
Many Saints, notably Saints Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, have illustrated the spiritual benefits of developing mental prayer in a form of meditation that orients the human intellect and senses to the Divine. For a faithful Catholic, who is working to improve his or her prayer life and curve concupiscence, the Holy Rosary is the best tool and weapon to use to combine the spiritual and temporal effects of vocal prayer and mental prayer.
The mysteries of our Lord, divinely engineered in the Holy Rosary, provide the conditions necessary to conduct a fruitful meditation. By orienting the intellect and senses with the Divine, one's soul and body becomes more receptive to applying the actual and sanctifying graces that God issues. Mortal sin cannot be defeated without championing mental prayer to achieve affective prayer, for which "the saints tell us that mental prayer is the gateway to all the higher forms of prayer...[it] corresponds to your progress in virtue."
It is well known that "Our Lady of Fatima requested 15 minutes of mental prayer for the First Saturday's devotion," and other saints, like St. Alphonsus, recommend a daily commitment of 15 minutes of mental prayer. In a sermon by Fr. Chad Ripperger on the nine levels of prayer, he stated that, as a faithful's spiritual director, he wouldn't provide specific instruction unless the faithful was already committing 45 minutes to meditation on a daily basis. A fruitful prayer life is tough work, and takes much discipline, commitment, and humility to do it.
I would like to share with you the meditations that I use for the Holy Rosary, one for each Ave Maria, that have been very fruitful for me to work with God and Our Lady to fight temptation, particularly those of pride and of the flesh. I hope that they will aid your efforts to strengthen your prayer life and grow in unity with God.
The time for the Incarnation is at hand.
Of all women God prepared Mary from her conception to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word.
The Angel Gabriel announces: “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee.”
Mary wonders at this salutation.
The Angel assures her: “Fear not . . . you shall conceive in your womb, and give birth to a Son.”
Mary is troubled for she has made a vow of virginity.
The Angel answers that she will conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and her Son will be called the Son of God.
The Incarnation awaits Mary’s consent.
Mary answers: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.”
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Mary’s cousin Elizabeth conceived a son in her old age… for nothing is impossible with God.
Charity prompts Mary to hasten to visit Elizabeth in the hour of her need.
The journey to Elizabeth’s home is about eighty miles requiring four or five days.
Though long and arduous, the journey is joyous, for Mary bears with her the Incarnate Word.
At Mary’s salutation, John the Baptist is sanctified in his mother’s womb.
Elizabeth exclaims: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
“How have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
“Blessed is she who believed that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled.”
Mary replies: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit finds joy in God my Savior.”
Mary serves her cousin in all humility for three months until the birth of John the Baptist.
The Nativity of Our Lord
Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem to comply with the decree of Caesar Augustus.
The hour for Mary to give birth is near, but there is no room in the inn.
In the stillness of the night, the Savior is born in a cave, Mary remaining a Virgin.
She wraps Him in swaddling clothes and lays Him in a manger.
In unspeakable joy Mary gathers to her bosom the Flower of her virginity.
Jesus enters the world in poverty to teach the lesson of detachment from earthly things.
The angel announces to the shepherds: “Today there is born to you in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.”
The angelic chorus sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth.”
The shepherds come to the stable to pay homage to the Infant Jesus.
The Magi come to adore the Holy Child and offer Him gifts.
The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
Observing the law of Moses they take Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord.
According to the Law the firstborn male child of every family should be consecrated to the Lord.
Mary offers her Son to the Father, then ransoms Him back at the price paid by the poor.
Jesus is not subject to the law of Moses, yet to teach obedience, submits to it.
Mary is not subject to the law of purification, yet in humility she submits to it.
God had revealed to Simeon that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah.
Recognizing the Child, he prays: “Now you can dismiss your servant in peace. You have fulfilled your word.”
“This Child is destined to be the downfall and rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed.”
And to Mary Simeon reveals: “And your own soul a sword shall pierce.”
After they fulfill all the Law requires they return to Nazareth.
Finding Jesus in the Temple
When Jesus is twelve years old, He goes with His parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.
After the feast of the Passover, Joseph and Mary unknowingly set out for Nazareth without Jesus.
At the end of the first day’s journey they discover Jesus is missing.
His parents return immediately looking for Him.
This loss causes grief and anxiety beyond our understanding to the hearts of Mary and Joseph.
On the third day, they find Jesus in the Temple among the Doctors who were astonished at His wisdom.
Mary: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been searching for You in sorrow.”
Jesus: “Why did you search for Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Jesus goes down with them to Nazareth, and is subject to them.
Mary keeps all these things in her heart.
The Agony in the Garden
Jesus comes with his disciples to Gethsemani: “Stay here, while I go yonder and pray.”
Entering the garden with Peter, James, and John, Jesus prays, “My soul is sorrowful unto death.”
Jesus sees the sins of all mankind, whose guilt He has taken upon Himself.
He sees the wrath of the Father which His sufferings must appease.
So great is his anguish that His sweat becomes as drops of blood falling to the ground.
An angel appears to Him from heaven to strengthen Him.
“Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet, not My will but Yours be done.”
Finding the disciples asleep: “Could you not watch one hour with me?”
Jesus is betrayed by Judas, cruelly bound and led away.
Father, by the merits of the agony of Jesus in the Garden, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The Scourging at the Pillar
Jesus is taken before the High Priest where He is falsely accused, buffeted and insulted.
The Jewish leaders take Jesus before Pilate, for only he can impose the death penalty.
The robber, Barabbas, is preferred to Jesus.
Pilate can “find no cause in Him”, yet to appease the Jews, he orders Jesus to be scourged.
The scourge is made of leather thongs to which are attached small sharp bones.
Jesus is bound to a pillar and cruelly scourged until His whole body is covered with deep wounds.
The Lamb of God offers His suffering for the sins of mankind.
Jesus suffers so much in His sacred flesh to satisfy, especially, for sins of the flesh.
The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled: “He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins.”
Father, by the merits of Jesus in this painful scourging, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The Crowning with Thorns
Pilate asks, “Are You a king?” Jesus answers: “I am a King, but My kingdom is not of this world.”
In the praetorium, the soldiers place an old purple robe on Jesus in mockery of His claim to be a king.
They fashion a crown out of thorns, and forcefully press it down upon His head.
In His bound hands they place a reed, as a sceptre, in mockery of His kingship.
Kneeling before Him in derision, they spit on Him, and cry out: “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Taking the reed from His hand they strike Him on the head, driving the thorns more deeply into His scalp.
Pilate brings Jesus before the people, hoping His pitiful sight will soften them: “Behold the man!”
Their response: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Our Blessed Lord submitted to this terrible humiliation to make reparation for our pride.
Father, by the merits of this painful humiliation, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The Carrying of the Cross
One condemned to death by crucifixion is forced to carry the cross to the place of execution.
The suffering of Jesus is intense as the cross is laid on His bruised and wounded back and shoulders.
Weak and exhausted from loss of blood, lack of food and rest, Jesus falls three times under the cross.
Jesus meets His afflicted Mother causing untold anguish in the Hearts of Son and Mother.
The countenance of Jesus is disfigured with blood and sweat, with dust and spittle.
Veronica wipes His face, leaving on her towel the image of His countenance.
Fearing that Jesus might die on the way, the soldiers force Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross behind Jesus.
Jesus speaks to weeping women: “Weep not for Me, but for yourselves and your children.”
“If anyone is to be My disciple, let him take up his cross and follow Me.”
Father, by the merits of this painful journey to Calvary, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
The hands and feet of Jesus are nailed to the cross in the presence of His afflicted Mother.
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
“This day you will be with Me in paradise.”
“Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your Mother.”
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
“It is finished.”
“Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.”
The side of Jesus is pierced with a lance. His body is taken down and placed in the arms of His Mother.
Father, by the merits of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The Resurrection of Jesus
The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb on the evening of Good Friday.
His soul descends into the realm of the dead to announce to the Just the tidings of their redemption.
Fearing the body of Jesus will be taken, the chief priests place guards at the tomb.
On the third day Jesus rises from the dead, glorious and immortal.
The earth quakes as the angel rolls back the stone, the guards flee in terror.
The holy women coming to anoint the body of Jesus are amazed and frightened to find the tomb open.
An angel calms their fears: “He is not here. He has risen as He said.”
Jesus appears to Mary Magdalen and Peter and two disciples on the way to Emmaus.
That evening He appears to the apostles behind locked doors: “Peace be unto you… do not be afraid.”
Jesus breathes on them and gives them the power to forgive sin.
The Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven
Jesus remains on earth forty days after His Resurrection to prove He has truly risen from the dead.
He commissions the apostles to preach the gospel to every creature, and promises to be with them forever.
He will not leave them orphans, but will send the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen them.
Jesus proceeds to Mt. Olivet accompanied by His Mother and the apostles and disciples.
Extending His pierced hands over all in a last blessing, He ascends into heaven.
As He ascends a cloud takes Him from their sight.
Jesus ascends to take His place at the right hand of the Father.
What jubilation there must be amid the angels of heaven at the triumphant entry of Jesus.
The wounds in His glorified body are an endless plea before the Father on our behalf.
The disciples leave Mt. Olivet and “return to Jerusalem with great joy.”
The Descent of the Holy Ghost
The apostles are gathered in the upper room where Jesus had held the Last Supper.
They are persevering in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus.
A sound comes from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it fills the whole house.
The Holy Spirit descends on each of them in the form of tongues of fire.
Filled with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, they are enlightened and strengthened to spread the Gospel.
Having lost all fear of the Jewish leaders, the apostles boldly preach Christ crucified.
The multitudes are confounded because every man hears them speak in his own tongue.
The Holy Spirit comes upon the Infant Church never to leave it.
That first day Peter goes forth to preach and baptizes three thousand.
The feast of Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, for on that day it begins to grow.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
After the apostles have dispersed, the Blessed Mother goes to live with John, the beloved disciple.
Mary lives many years on earth after the death of Christ.
She is a source of comfort, consolation and strength to the apostles.
As she had nourished the infant Jesus, so she nourishes spiritually the infant Church.
Mary dies, not of bodily infirmity, but is wholly overcome in a rapture of divine love.
Her body as well as her soul is taken up into heaven.
After her burial the apostles go to the tomb and find only fragrant lilies.
Jesus does not permit the sinless body of His Mother to decay in the grave.
Corruption of the body is an effect of original sin from which Mary is totally exempted.
The bodies of all mankind, at the last judgment, will be brought back and united again to the soul.
The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
As Mary enters heaven, the entire court of heaven greets with joy this masterpiece of God’s creation.
Mary is crowned by her divine Son as Queen of heaven and earth.
More than we can ever know the Hearts of Jesus and Mary overflow with joy at this reunion.
Only in heaven will we know the great majesty of that coronation, and the joy it gave to the angels and saints.
Even the angels, who by nature are greater than humans, hail Mary as their Queen.
Mary shares so fully in the glory of Christ because she shared so fully in His suffering.
Only in heaven will we see how central is the role of Mary in the divine plan of redemption.
The angels and saints longed for the coming of her whose heel crushes the head of the serpent.
Mary pleads our cause as a most powerful Queen and a most merciful and loving Mother.
A great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.