Mysteries of the Holy Rosary
A mystery is a sacred thing which is difficult to understand. The works of Our Lord Jesus Christ are all sacred and divine because He is God and man at one and the same time. The works of the Most Blessed Virgin are very holy because she is the most perfect and the most pure of God's creatures. The works of Our Lord and of His Blessed Mother can be rightly called mysteries because they are so full of wonders and all kinds of perfections and deep and sublime truths which the Holy Spirit reveals to the humble and simple souls who honor these mysteries.
The works of Jesus and Mary can also be called wonderful flowers; but their perfume and beauty can only be appreciated by those who study them carefully - and who open them and drink in their scent by diligent and sincere meditation.
Saint Dominic has divided up the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady into fifteen mysteries which stand for their virtues and their most important actions. These are the fifteen tableaux or pictures whose every detail must rule and inspire our lives. They are fifteen flaming torches to guide our steps throughout this earthly life.
They are fifteen shining mirrors which help us to know Jesus and Mary and to know ourselves as well. They will also help light the fire of their love in our hearts. They are fifteen fiery furnaces which can consume us completely in their heavenly flames.
Our Lady taught Saint Dominic this excellent method of praying and ordered him to preach it far and wide so as to reawaken the fervor of Christians and to revive in their hearts a love for Our Blessed Lord. She also taught it to Blessed Alan de la Roche and said to him in a vision: "When people say one hundred and fifty Angelic Salutations this prayer is very helpful to them and is a very pleasing tribute to me. But they will do better still and will please me even more if they say these salutations while meditating on the life, death and passion of Jesus Christ - for this meditation is the soul of this prayer."
For in reality, the Rosary said without meditating on the sacred mysteries of our salvation would be almost like a body without a soul: excellent matter but without the form which is meditation - this latter being that which sets it apart from all other devotions.
1 - The Annunciation of the Archangel Saint Gabriel to Our Lady
2 - The Visitation of Our Lady to her cousin Saint Elizabeth
3 - The Nativity of Jesus Christ
4 - The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Our Lady
5 - The Finding of Jesus in the Temple among the doctors
1 - Jesus' Prayer and Agony in the Garden of Olives
2 - His Scourging
3 - His Crowning with Thorns
4 - Jesus Carrying His Cross
5 - His Crucifixion and Death on Mount Calvary
1 - The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
2 - His Ascension into Heaven
3 - The Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles
4 - Our Lady's Glorious Assumption into Heaven
5 - Our Lady's Crowning in Heaven
1 - The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River
2 - The Wedding Feast at Canaan
3 - The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
4 - The Transfiguration
5 - The Institution of Holy Eucharist
Now, the Holy Rosary, recited together with meditation on the sacred mysteries is a sacrifice of praise to God to thank Him for the great grace of our redemption. It is also a holy reminder of the sufferings, death and glory of Jesus Christ. It is therefore true that the Rosary gives glory, gives an accidental joy to our Lord, to Our Lady and to all the blessed because they cannot desire anything greater or more contributive to our eternal happiness than to see us engaged in a practice which is so glorious for Our Lord and so salutary for ourselves.
The Gospel teaches us that a sinner who is converted and who does penance gives joy to all the angels. If the repentance and conversion of one sinner is enough to make the angels rejoice, how great must be the happiness and jubilation of the whole heavenly court and what glory for Our Blessed Lord Himself to see us here on earth meditating devoutly and lovingly on His humiliations and torments and on His cruel and ignominious death! Could anything possibly touch our hearts more surely than this and be more calculated to inspire us to true and sincere repentance?
A Christian who does not mediate on the mysteries of the Rosary is very ungrateful to Our Lord and shows how little he cares for all that our Divine Savior has suffered to save the world. This attitude seems to show that he knows little or nothing of the life of Jesus Christ, and that he has never taken the trouble to find out about Him-what He did and what He went through in order to save us.
A Christian of this kind ought to fear that having never known Jesus Christ or having put Him out of his mind and heart, He will disown him at the Day of Judgment and will say reproachfully: “Amen I say to you, I know you not. “ (Matt. 25:12). Let us, then, meditate on the life and sufferings of Our Lord by means of the Holy Rosary; let us learn to know Him well and to be grateful for all his blessings so that, at the Day of Judgment, He may number us among His children and His friends.
[Source: The Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louis de Montfort]
*Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, introduced the Luminous Mysteries in October 2002