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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The Rosary? Sr Mary Martha explains it all for you

I was dialing around on TV a couple weeks ago and caught some of Sr Mary Ignatius....
I was a little shocked, I mean I knew the play existed, and what its take on the Faith was, (and also, personal knowledge, just how sad the playwright is, and what his family situation was and is...,) but I didn't know it had been filmed and I was startled by the vitriol, by the identity of some who chose to participate in this vitriol, and finally, by how bad some of the performances were, (considering the good work usually done by the actors in question -- does the Holy Spirit make people involved in sinful projects indicate and pose and comment when they imagine they're "acting"? Considering how truly boring and bad Tom Hanks and that darling French actress were in Da Vinci Code, I wouldn't be surprised. But I digress.)
Anyway, SOME fictional nuns are more reliable than others.
The Rosary, besides its 15 or 20 mysteries, has a great mystery about it: why is it so very difficult, somehow, to explain this very simple devotion to a non-believer?
Well, never fear, Sister Mary Martha is on the case.
The wisest woman (if she IS a woman) in Christendom ‘splains it all for you

We have to pause … to clear up some rosary issues.
[A reader asks]
So what is the penalty for praying the 'wrong' mysteries on the wrong day? I usually stick with the traditional distribution, but sometimes I'm more in the mood for a different mystery, so I just do the one I want. Will I be docked grace? Points? More time in purgatory?
I can see I have some explaining to do.
Rosary Mysteries Days of the Week 101:
In order to actually say the Rosary, you have to go through the beads four times. Each time through you meditate on a different set of Mysteries. There are four sets of Mysteries now. There used to be three. A few years back the Pope added the Luminous Mysteries, so now we have those plus the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. Holy Mother Church in her infinite (and we do mean infinite) wisdom realized that what with internet surfing, blog reading, raising a large family, clipping coupons and searching for the cheapest gas, you don't have time to say a Rosary every day. No one, however, has such a hectic life that they can't get through ONE set of Mysteries during the day. Let's call this saying the rosary. Small 'r'.
I'm not sure why the Church (in her infinite wisdom) decided to suggest exactly how to do that. I can guess. There are people who only like one set of Mysteries and would just stick to that all time saying the Joyful Mysteries day in and day out. That would rather defeat the purpose of saying the Rosary.
What is the purpose of saying the Rosary? Let's review: The Rosary is a meditative prayer.
Here's something that really tickles me, by the way. "Guided Meditation" is the new rage here on
the Coast (capital "C"). Just the other day I had to ride in a car with someone who had a tape on with a woman's voice who was telling my driver over and over that she was "an organized person" and will organize her things. Nothing could be further from the truth. My feet, resting on empty water bottles, a gift she had to give someone but hadn't yet, and some important paper work her lawyer had given her about her recent car accident, were testifying to the fact that the tape was not working.
The Rosary is guided meditation! We are laughing behind our hands at how advanced we've been since St. Dominic popularized the beads way back when. WAY back when.
The Rosary is a meditation on the Life of Christ as seen through the eyes of His mother. [emphasis mine] I'm surprised Oprah hasn't noticed.
So to just stick to one or two sets of Mysteries that you like causes you to miss the boat.
Sister St. Aloysius has come up with a chart of the break down and I apologize in advance. She is not a person that needs a tape to tell her she is organized. Sister St. Aloysius is neat as a pin. She is a mathematician. I thought a chart would be right up her alley. Here's the chart. [which she provides]

It's all on there, though. I should have known that Sister St. Aloysius would do something....unexpected.
During Lent you have to say two rosaries because you do the regular day's meditation and then you add the Sorrowful Mysteries to each day. Those are little plus signs there at the bottom. They look like "T's" but they are supposed to be plus signs. On Tuesday and Friday you are off the hook for the two rosaries as far as I can make out.
You're best bet, if your only concern is confusion, is to just say the Rosary every day and not the rosary. Then you side step the whole problem.
As for your question, (did you think I forgot? I actually did for a minute there!) there is no penalty of any kind for not saying the right thing on the right day. To begin with, there is no right day or wrong day. The Church is just trying to help you, Sister St. Aloysius' chart notwithstanding. You can skip the Rosary and the rosary all together and no one is going to blink.
That said, you're never going to get a nun to tell you doing things because of your 'mood' is a good habit to nurture.
I'm letting it pass, though, giving you the benefit of the doubt that what you really mean is something like, 'today I feel put upon, so to remind myself that my suffering is paltry, I'm going with the Sorrowful Mysteries because I need a good swift kick in the pants."
That good swift kick is what' s going to keep your Purgatory time at a minimum. That, and all the people who are praying the Rosary for the repose of your soul.


lvschant said...

A bit off-subject... but did you ever hear of the Chicago play called "Late night Catechism"? A few years ago my sisters, mom and I had a 'girls' weekend there, planned by my sister (who is a Baptist now). She took us all out to see it. She had been to see it and thought it was absolutely hilarious and was sure we'd all enjoy it as much as she did. We didn't.

Anonymous said...

No, missed that one, but I think I've seen ads in our diocesan newspaper for church groups going to see it.