I was thinking recently about an article that ran in Commonweal about a year ago called “The Mildred Mysteries.” In the article, Jon Volkmer writes about his father’s broken and mended rosary, and he suggests an alternate set of mysteries for meditation—mysteries based on the joys and sorrows of our daily lives. I’d like to suggest something similar—a Rosary with a little bit of a ‘gratitude journal’ mixed in.
The mysteries of the Rosary are actually times or places where God has made himself known—where heaven and earth collide: the Annunciation (with the Incarnation); the Crucifixion; Pentecost. We know that God’s action in history didn’t end with the writing of the Bible or the death of the last apostle. He is with us even now—every day. So, the question is, where has God stepped in and made himself known in my life? It could be a moment, or a whole time period. Spend a little time (not necessarily all in one sitting) considering the “mysteries” of your own life. For me, during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, there was a moment when I suddenly recognized God’s love for me. Another “God sighting” in my life was our first year of marriage. We were in South Bend, Indiana, hundreds of miles from anyone we knew, and we learned things there that changed the way we have lived our faith ever since. God put us there. I have no doubt about it, but I only realized this in retrospect.
Be patient with yourself. You may not have five mysteries come to mind immediately, or you may have fifteen. They may be great epiphanies, or as simple as a butterfly in your garden, or your child’s laugh, letting you catch a glimpse of the Father’s great love and mercy. Just as God’s mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:34), so are our opportunities to recognize his work in our lives. It is a beautiful thing that, as we grow and change, so does our ability to perceive the hand of God.
Recognizing and honoring the many ways God has touched our lives grounds us in the truth of his great love. This deep grounding enables us to withstand the storms that come our way. Once you’ve come up with a mystery or two, you can pick up your rosary and take your life to prayer. These are moments worth returning to and spending time with, and what better way to do that than in the company of the Blessed Mother? Let her share your joy, your sorrow, and your gratitude, just as we share hers when we pray the mysteries of her life. As we recognize and rejoice in our own mysteries of God’s love touching our lives, may our trust in him grow, so that with Mary we can say: May it be with me according to your word (Lk 1:38).