The Rosary; Making Friends with Jesus

How do we get to be friends with someone?  I don’t mean Facebook friends, I mean really friends, someone on whom we can depend and who can depend upon us reliably.  What is that break point when we decide that person is worth our time and energy to stay close to?  I think we make that decision when we get to know their story.

So, if I ask you the question, “Are you friends with the man called Jesus, the God-Man called Jesus Christ?” and you say “Yes, I am,” can you tell me His story?  Can you tell me when and where he was born, where he grew up, how did he earn his living, and what was his life’s mission?  Can you tell me how the man died?  Can you tell me why so many billions of people call Him the Son of God?

And why do I ask this question at all?  Well, it arises from a conversation I had with my wife over our grandchildren’s understanding and comprehension of the God-Man and whether they would accept or reject faith in Him as they move through their teen-aged years.  I was talking about Sacraments and rituals that point to Him (I’m in Theology school).  She brought me back to reality, a practical reality I’m going to school for so I can teach this theology to teens.  She said, “They have to form a relationship with Him.”  If my premise is correct, then our grandchildren, and all our children raised in the Christian faith have to learn the story of His life and purpose.

I have come to an understanding.  I would call it an inspired understanding of what it can mean to come to Jesus through dedication to his mother, Mary.  I’ve been struggling with this concept as many of my friends and many more acquaintances through my life have held that veneration of Mary is sacrilege. It breaks the First Commandment forbidding any other ‘gods’ be worshipped.  Without going into a full discussion of Marian theology, let me suffice to state that veneration is not worship, and that all of us who have trusted our mothers through our lives have asked them for favors, intercessions, if you will, so as to get our fathers to do something for us we wanted.  This is the essence of approaching Mary.

Among our Catholic way to approach Jesus through Mary is the recitation of the Rosary.  This meditation revolves around a ‘garland’ of fifty-five beads in the Catholic Church. (many other faiths around the world use a similar type of garland (See The garland is divided into five ‘decades’, five larger beads separated by ten smaller ones.  The Lord’s Prayer is prayed on the larger beads while scripture of Luke 1:42 is recited followed by an invocation asking for Mary’s prayers for us at the hour of our death.  This is the “Hail Mary” prayer.  The Rosary is typically begun with the Profession of Faith, reciting the Apostle’s or other Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and introductory Hail Mary’s.  These are the rudiments of the meditation.

The focus of the meditation is the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Each of the larger beads is used to recall a specific moment in the life of the Christ.  Reciting the Lord’s Prayer commits us to ‘Thy will be done’ as we begin the decade.  These moments we call ‘mysteries’ give us milestones around which to recall the Gospels and which, when taught to our children, give them a simple outline of the Good News upon which they can begin to build their own relationship with Him.  These mysteries were expanded by St. Pope John Paul II in 2002 to include five mysteries in the three year teaching mission carried out by Jesus, called the Luminous Mysteries.

Teaching our children to pray the rosary is teaching them the story of the Lord.  Learning the story lets them come to know Him in a more intimate way, allowing them to become friends with Him, coming closer to him, and holding onto Him as they grow into their adult lives.  Will they hold fast to Him throughout?  We’d like to think so.  However, for many of us moving through independence and into an interdependent understanding of life, we had to learn for ourselves like the Prodigal Son the importance of coming home to the Father and our Brother.  We can hope and pray the Rosary will bring them home sooner.

All told, there are twenty such mysteries to help us learn about Jesus.  They are as follows;

The Joyful Mysteries

The Luminous Mysteries The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Glorious Mysteries

The Annunciation

Mary meets the angel Gabriel and submits to being the mother of Jesus

The Baptism of the Lord

The story of His submission to a Jewish rite and His forty-day journey into the desert

The Agony in the Garden

The story of how Jesus wept in fear, yet submitted to the Father’s will.

The Resurrection

The story of the third day, Jesus rising from death.  The tomb is empty.  Why we believe.

The Visitation

Recalled in Luke 1, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, six months along herself with John the Baptist

The Wedding Feast in Cana

The story of Jesus’ submission to his mother, resulting in his first public miracle.

The Scourging at the Pillar

The remembrance of the physical suffering endured.

The Ascension

The story of Jesus’s final hour on earth and the promise of the help of the Holy Spirit.

The Nativity

The story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem

The Proclamation of the Kingdom

A reminder of the work He accomplished in teaching the Apostles and the People of the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven

The Crowning with Thorns

The remembrance of the humiliation suffered at the hands of the Roman Soldiers


The story of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, Mary, and other disciples, the revelation of the Christ to the Jewish Diaspora.

The Presentation

The story of the fulfillment of Jewish Law to offer the first born to YHWH God

The Transfiguration

The story of when Jesus was presented in His glory with Moses and Elijah, with Peter, James, and John present.

The Carrying of the Cross

The remembrance of the weight of carrying His own means of execution, and its relation to carrying the timeless sins of the world.

The Assumption

The recollection that Mary, because of her commitment to Jesus, is also assumed body and soul into Heaven.

The Finding of the Child in the Temple

The story of a Passover trip to Jerusalem, where the boy Jesus is found teaching the elders in the Temple

The Institution of the Eucharist

The story of the Last Supper, the transformation of the Passover to a New Covenant

The Crucifixion

The story of the humiliating death of His body, and the salvation act that redeemed all Humankind.

The Coronation

The recollection of the crowning of Mary as Queen of heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, in Revelation.


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