Sunday, December 05, 2004

Joyful Mysteries

The titles of the entries for the past week, with the exception of the obligatory "Friday's Cat" and "Idée d’jour", come from the Roman Catholic rosary. In brief, one meditates on these scenes from Jesus' life while one recites a cycle of prayers (primarily the "Hail Mary"). This is part of my Advent discipline. Seeing as there are five scenes in each set of mysteries, this should involve my writing something at least five days a week. Good practice, at the least.

I'm aware that the entries did not always reflect the theme of the scene in question. Sometimes contrast can lead one in interesting directions.

My goal here is not to preach. I'm wrestling with these things. You just get to watch the wrestling match. With any luck, you'll derive something from the struggle as well.

This coming week, I will be reflecting on the "Luminous Mysteries", also called the "Living Mysteries". So far as I know, these are a relatively recent addition to the cycle.

My source for this set of mysteries is dated 1996. My other sources for the rosary are dated much earlier than that (1920ish, 1964, and 1978) and those sources do not include the "Living Mysteries".

Why is this significant?

See, what I'll call the original set of mysteries, Joyous, Sorrowful, and Glorious, skipped a portion of Jesus' life. The Joyous Mysteries, as we have seen, cover the period from the Annunciation to Jesus' early boyhood. The Sorrowful Mysteries reflect on His passion and death. The Glorious Mysteries reflect on His resurrection, and the birth of the early church. This sequence leaves out Jesus' ministry, which is at least as important as his death and resurrection.

Though I know a great deal about the history of the "traditional" rosary, I don't know anything about the addition of this set of mysteries. But, they seem to fit. That is to say, they feel "right."

I probably should add that I am not Roman Catholic. I was baptized in the Methodist church, and joined the Episcopal Church when I was 11 or 12. Both of these traditions are Protestant.

So, what's a good Protestant boy doing with the Rosary? Aren't I being some sort of Mary-worshipping Papist as I pray the "Hail Mary"?

Well, I don't think so. But these are questions I'll come back to during the week - or next weekend, at the latest.

In the meantime, this is my consumer warning that the entries up through Christmas will likely be more God-talk than anything else.

Tis the season.

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