In this Random Nun Clip, a listener asks if it's ok to pray all the mysteries of the rosary during Lent, or only the Sorrowful Mysteries. Hear the full Ask Sister podcast AS132 at aNunsLife.org.
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SISTER MAXINE: Our question is from Allison: "I pray the rosary every morning and recently my mother and I were discussing it, because she does the same thing. She says that during Lent you pray only the Sorrowful Mysteries. However, my Pray The Rosary Daily book says Tuesdays and Fridays and optional on Sundays during Lent. Do you reflect on the Sorrowful Mysteries every day during Lent or only on certain days?"
SISTER JULIE: Allison, when we first received your question, I thought how cool it is that that’s something you and your mom share in common. Your mom is doing a similar thing you’re doing and you have this experience of a shared practice.The first thing though I would say is that both you and your mom are right in how it is that you pray the rosary during Lent. The rosary, of course, is a wonderful tradition in the church. It’s considered a private devotion and so that means that it’s a form of prayer that helps you grow personally in your relationship with God.
SISTER MAXINE: And so however you engage with that prayer, as long as it can bring you closer to God, that is the central point. Of course, there are certain guides that can help you shape that practice in a way that’s deeply meaningful for you. One of the recent ways that was suggested, and this was by Pope John Paul II, came with the introduction of the Luminous Mysteries.
SISTER JULIE: You know, all the years that we have had the three sets of mysteries for the rosary and I thought never thought that you could actually change it-- but sure enough Pope John Paul II introduced a whole new set of mysteries.
SISTER MAXINE: He shined a light on them, so to say.
SISTER JULIE: So to say. It was a very illuminating moment when Pope John Paul II introduced the Mysteries of Light.(light laughter)
SISTER MAXINE: He wrote an apostolic letter about it, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, and that was in 2002, and part of that was to emphasize the rosary as a reflection on Christ with and through Mary. So, it’s a real contemplative sort of practice done in participation with Mary.
SISTER JULIE: One of the things I love that is what you mentioned -- the contemplative aspect. Sometimes we think of private devotions, even the rosary, like they're something we can just rattle off. Just go about th repetition. But at the heart of these devotions is this real contemplative spirit about bringing ourselves--body, mind, and spirit--into union with God, and so I loved how John Paul II wove that through his piece on the rosary.
SISTER MAXINE: And even more so now with the Luminous Mysteries. When the Pope introduced the Luminous Mysteries in this apostolic letter, he also suggested the following. And I think this ties in with what Allison was saying.
SISTER JULIE: (agreeing)
SISTER MAXINE: So that on Monday and Saturday may be the Joyful Mysteries; Tuesday and Friday the Sorrowful, and Allison mentioned that; Wednesday and Sunday the Glorious; and Thursday the Luminous.
SISTER JULIE: I love Thursday--I definitely like the Luminous. But even during Lent, that was the structure that Pope John Paul II had suggested again based on how it had been done traditionally. What a lot of people were practicing. He never really made any provisions for the different liturgical seasons, like he never said you should change it now, and that it’s Easter you should switch it up because it’s ordinary time. That was just sort of the general structure that the Pope suggested. There really is no right way or wrong way.
Hear the full episode of this podcast at Ask Sister 132.