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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Charting the Course

We had a couple of questions about finding patron saints for finding some good Catholic boys suitable mates. I have played patron saint match maker while doing custom patron saint match ups more than once and can't wait to tackle this assignment.

But we have to pause one last time to clear up some rosary issues.

So what is the penalty for praying the 'wrong' mysteries on the wrong day? I usually stick with the traditional distribution, but sometimes I'm more in the mood for a different mystery, so I just do the one I want. Will I be docked grace? Points? More time in purgatory?

I can see I have some explaining to do.

Rosary Mysteries Days of the Week 101:

In order to actually say the Rosary, you have to go through the beads four times. Each time through you meditate on a different set of Mysteries. There are four sets of Mysteries now. There used to be three. A few years back the Pope added the Luminous Mysteries, so now we have those plus the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. Holy Mother Church in her infinite (and we do mean infinite) wisdom realized that what with internet surfing, blog reading, raising a large family, clipping coupons and searching for the cheapest gas, you don't have time to say a Rosary every day. No one, however, has such a hectic life that they can't get through ONE set of Mysteries during the day. Let's call this saying the rosary. Small 'r'.

I'm not sure why the Church (in her infinite wisdom) decided to suggest exactly how to do that. I can guess. There are people who only like one set of Mysteries and would just stick to that all time saying the Joyful Mysteries day in and day out. That would rather defeat the purpose of saying the Rosary.

What is the purpose of saying the Rosary? Let's review: The Rosary is a meditative prayer.

Here's something that really tickles me, by the way. "Guided Meditation" is the new rage here on the Coast (capital "C"). Just the other day I had to ride in a car with someone who had a tape on with a woman's voice who was telling my driver over and over that she was "an organized person" and will organize her things. Nothing could be further from the truth. My feet, resting on empty water bottles, a gift she had to give someone but hadn't yet, and some important paper work her lawyer had given her about her recent car accident, were testifying to the fact that the tape was not working.

The Rosary is guided meditation! We are laughing behind our hands at how advanced we've been since St. Dominic popularized the beads way back when. WAY back when.

The Rosary is a meditation on the Life of Christ as seen through the eyes of His mother. I'm surprised Oprah hasn't noticed.

So to just stick to one or two sets of Mysteries that you like causes you to miss the boat.

Sister St. Aloysius has come up with a chart of the break down and I apologize in advance. She is not a person that needs a tape to tell her she is organized. Sister St. Aloysius is neat as a pin. She is a mathematician. I thought a chart would be right up her alley. Here's the chart. Sorry.

It's all on there, though. I should have known that Sister St. Aloysius would do something....unexpected.

During Lent you have to say two rosaries because you do the regular day's meditation and then you add the Sorrowful Mysteries to each day. Those are little plus signs there at the bottom. They look like "T's" but they are supposed to be plus signs. On Tuesday and Friday you are off the hook for the two rosaries as far as I can make out.

You're best bet, if your only concern is confusion, is to just say the Rosary every day and not the rosary. Then you side step the whole problem.

As for your question, (did you think I forgot? I actually did for a minute there!) there is no penalty of any kind for not saying the right thing on the right day. To begin with, there is no right day or wrong day. The Church is just trying to help you, Sister St. Aloysius' chart notwithstanding. You can skip the Rosary and the rosary all together and no one is going to blink.

That said, you're never going to get a nun to tell you doing things because of your 'mood' is a good habit to nurture.

I'm letting it pass, though, giving you the benefit of the doubt that what you really mean is something like, 'today I feel put upon, so to remind myself that my suffering is paltry, I'm going with the Sorrowful Mysteries because I need a good swift kick in the pants."

That good swift kick is what' s going to keep your Purgatory time at a minimum. That, and all the people who are praying the Rosary for the repose of your soul.


Anonymous said...

I recently found out about the 54-day rosary novena. I've almost finished one for the intention of someone's conversion to the Church. My understanding was that this is done without regard for what day it is and what mystery is supposed to be said on a particular day of the week - just go through them J,S,G over and over. Am I missing something?


I wonder if Oprah noticed this wee video, she has a small part in it?



Anonymous said...

Yes you are missing something sarah --- LUMINOUS mysteries!!! Didn't you read Sister's blog???

DaveW said...

That chart does look like John Madden drew it up.

Thanks for clearing up the whole Rosary v rosary thing. Though I can't say I was happy to learn all that. I thought that was one part of this that I had down and was pretty happy about it...until you harshed my mellow.

I need a Patron Saint too, BTW.

I'm a bit confused on confession too. Since I started taking the concept of sin seriously several months back I've been trying to modify my behavior to eliminate it but I find it to be...um...hit and miss, so to speak. I talked to my sponsor about this, and told him that after reading the Catechism it seemed to me like I was going to be burning up a lot of Father's time on Saturdays. He told me 'nah, just do it every 6 months or so'.

Which, that led me to think, do some people only sin every 6 months? Or do they sin, but take communion anyway? Because if I understand it correctly (always a big "if") you aren't supposed to take Communion if you have sin on your conscience.

Then again, maybe I'm just an unusually wicked person. That's possible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the benefit of the doubt, because that is exactly what I meant when I said I switched according to what I felt like doing. I should have said 'what I felt I needed'. Now I have to confess I haven't memorized the luminous mysteries yet, and I've had 5 or 6 years to do it. I'll go right now and begin. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

In response to davew's post: Not that we shouldn't be taking advantage of the grace received by going to confession, but we do confess our sins each week at mass. At the beginning of the mass, right before we get into the Liturogy of the Word, we as a group confess our sins. During this time I try to really reflect on my sins, asking for forgiveness to ready my heart for the Eucharist.

Anonymous said...

Re: frequent confession, I go about every two weeks, when I feel the Holy Spirit tapping, generally within minutes of the offense to be confessed. My usual confessor is out of town, so last week I spoke with a 92yr old visiting priest. He heard my confession, and then made the astute observation that we may feel like we are confessing small things, but by coming frequently, we get the accountability that keeps us from having any big things. That's why I go so often--I'm in a particularly tough situation, in which I am determined to follow the Lord's leading and stay on the moral high ground. Hashing out the ups and down with my pastor and receiving the grace of the sacrament are what keep me going. So go as often as you feel the need, and don't worry that you wear out your welcome. Make sure you tithe and pray for your priest, because his job isn't easy :)

Anonymous said...

When I asked a similar question about confession and how often (also coming into the Church as an adult), I was advised by one priest to aim for at least once/season (about every three months) and later by another to consider monthly. I do find that more frequently receiving the sacrament makes it easier to avoid sin.

AND receiving weekly (like I hear the "old" days were) means being able to obtain lots of plenary indulgences to help souls in Purgatory get into Heaven, since most indulgences have conditions about sacramental confession attached to them.

Praying a rosary in Church can be the source of a Plenary indulgence. I once had a thrilling week earning an indulgence every day from the grace of that week's confession. I think I made six saints that week! :)

bill7tx said...

davew -- On ewtn.com, Father Most has a good (and short) article that might answer your questions. The key point is:

If you are "rightly disposed", Holy Communion gives forgiveness of venial sins (if one is repentant). It also provides help to keep from mortal sin.

We must be in the state of grace to receive the Eucharist. In other words, free of mortal sin.

It is not required to be free from all venial sin.

There are important points that I haven't included here. Go read the article: http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/euchb2.htm

Anonymous said...

I am wondering about Old Testament figures like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are certainly in Heaven aren't they? And yet we don't call them Saint Abraham or Saint Jacob. Why is that?


Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

I suspect that's a carryover from our Jewish roots. They didn't call their prophets, patriarchs, and holy men by the title "Saint" (lit. "believer"), and so neither do we. There are exceptions: King David is sometimes called Saint David, or San Diego. And I've seen a St. Joshaphat's Church.

Sometimes we also neglect to call the Apostles and writers of the Gospels "Saint" and I am beginning to think that is not the best of ideas.

Anonymous said...

Pray for me and my family, sister - I'm out of hope

Tienne said...

Yikes! All this time I've been praying the Glorious mysteries on Saturday and only one mystery during Lent. I thought it was easy to remember which mystery to pray. Turns out that's only because I was doing it wrong!


bill7tx said...

tienne, every rosary (note small "r" per Sister) counts. Even if you never said anything but the Joyful Mysteries. The point (it seems to me) is that you get more graces if you say the Rosary (note capital "R"), and over time you may grow more in the faith if you say all of the Mysteries. The rotation pattern that you see various places is set up to connect the Mysteries to significant days of the week. When I say a Rosary, I *start* with the Mysteries stated for the day of the week. So if I say a Rosary on Thursday, I start with the Luminous Mysteries, then go to the Sorrowful, to the Glorious, to the Joyful. On a Friday, I'd start with the Sorrowful Mysteries, and then follow the progression.

When I just have time for a rosary because the day got away from me, I go with whatever the standard rotation calls for.

Pope John Paul II, someone told me, used to mix the Mysteries in a single rosary. A decade chosen from the Sorrowful, followed by a decade from the Luminous, by two decades from the Glorious, by a decade from the Joyful, maybe (I made up that selection -- I have no idea what he actually did on any occasion.) The point, I believe, is the meditation (and being penitent), not the specific adherence to a scheme.

I also sometimes use the Seven Dolors chaplet on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the Franciscan Crown on Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to my regular rosary/Rosary. During June, I've added a daily Sacred Heart Chaplet to my morning prayers.

We have a LOT of choices.

Catholic Mom said...

I am brand-new to "Ask Sister" - it is the best thing I think I've ever found on the internet(s)! for making me giggle out loud all by myself! I've just started reading the comments and they are also great. The rosary chart was hysterical. This blog is now on my Bookmark Bar! Thanks, Sister - you are the best!

Anonymous said...


King David and San Diego are not the same person. Neither do they have the same name.

David is the great king of Israel in the Old Testament, whereas Diego (althogh rooted in the Jewish name, Jacob) is a Spanish derivative of James, as are "Iago," "Tiago," and "Jacobo."

St. Josaphat is a saint in the Eastern Church (Polish-Lithuanian, I think.)

BTW, San Diego (sometimes called "Didacus") and St. Josaphat share the same feast date: Nov. 12.

Amanda #1 said...

I'm a bit late, but wanted to note that both my mom and I have a rosary with the mysteries on it. On the, um, middle connecting bead, the one that is usually the Miraculous Medal, it has three panels that fan out with the mysteries listed on on which days you say them.

Granted, Mom's rosary is old, and my bead/medal came from an old rosary (got the medal off of ebay so my aunt could make me a rosary), so the new Luminous Mysteries are not on there, but I find it tremendously helpful nevertheless.