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Meditations on the Rosary

Introduction

The remainder of this document is essentially the work of an e-friend who has the following site:
Magnificat Rosaries
Heirloom quality hand made rosaries dedicated to Mary of the Magnificat, made with gemstones and sterling silver or pewter     fixtures and strikingly beautiful "Our Father" beads.  Gay-friendly owner will custom design a special rosary to your  specifications. Designer consultation by e-mail.
She writes:

Since this idea came to me fully conceived, I can only assume that it is by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I do not claim to be any kind of visionary, but if it is useful, accept it as an offering to those who may benefit by such reflection. Any theological errors are purely my own. Please feel free to critique them.

The Rosary is the life story of Jesus and His Blessed Mother. It tells of times of joy, times of suffering, times of uncertainty, and times of glorious triumph. It is a story that we can relate to our own lives, our own struggles, our own joys, sorrows and triumphs.

We begin by reciting the Apostle's Creed, which summarizes Christian belief

We begin each mystery with the Our Father, or Lord's Prayer: that Jesus himself taught as a model of how to pray. We reflect on the meaning of those words in our conversation with God, first acknowledging God as our Father, who created us all in his own image and who loves each of us for the unique individuals that He created us to be, and praying for God's will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. This doesn't mean somebody's idea of God's will, but what you discover in your own conversation with God to be what his will is for you as His precious child whom He loves and understands. It is certainly God's will that people on Earth will treat each other with the love that awaits us in Heaven. We ask God to give us what we need to get through the day.  Our daily bread is not just food, but whatever sustenance we need. We ask God to forgive our imperfections and ask Him to help us to forgive others for theirs. All of us fall short of perfection in some way, and God knows and understands that. We ask God not to let us fall under the power of the Evil One, but even in the struggles and imperfections that each of us have, that we might keep our faith in God: for He is all powerful, all knowing and all loving, now and always present in each of our lives. We say "Amen" which means be it so, and with that assurance we can continue to pray.

Some people wonder why we say so many Hail Mary's in the Rosary, and think that perhaps we are putting more focus on Mary than on God. The opposite is true. We say so many Hail Mary's because we are asking the Mother of Jesus to pray for us and with us to the glory of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is summed up in the Doxology that follows each groups of ten Hail Mary's for each Mystery.

Now let's look at the Mysteries and how they relate to your own life. Because the Rosary is a living prayer. We can link those mysteries to all the events in our lives. For each person the mystery may trigger a different reflection. The following are just some suggestions as to how a Rosary might reflect the Faith and struggles, Joys, Sorrows and Glories of being a Gay or Lesbian Catholic.

The Joyful Mysteries

In the joyful mysteries, we enter into the wonder of Jesus' miraculous birth and his living the childhood of an ordinary Jewish boy. Not all the joyful mysteries were entirely joyful. They were filled with confusion about who this child was and who he would become. We unite our own childhood to that of Jesus. Sometimes feeling different from others and not knowing why may have been a part of that childhood.

The Annunciation

The Angel appeared to Mary, an innocent young girl and announced that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God's Son. Imagine Mary's confusion. She was an innocent. How could she become a mother? She couldn't understand the idea of God having a Son: but she accepted God's will in her life. She knew that being pregnant without a husband could cause her scorn and disgrace: that maybe her own family would reject her. Nevertheless, she trusted that God had a purpose for setting her apart this way.

God has a purpose for each of us. You may think back to when you first began to discover your sexual orientation. What did that mean? How could that be? Would your family be scandalized or reject you? Eventually you accepted that God had made you that way and that God doesn't make junk. You are the child of God, created in his own image and that He loves you just as you are.

The Visitation

Mary puts her own confusion and trouble aside and goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is also pregnant. She doesn't tell Elizabeth about her own curious pregnancy, but Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, recognizes Mary as the Mother of the Lord, and wonders why Mary has come to visit her. Mary responds with the Magnificat, which you might think of as her own "coming out". It this song, she realizes and expresses the uniqueness and gifted her by God. She is no longer worried about rejection, but thanks God for choosing her to be special.

You might think about someone who recognized in you what you were afraid to tell anyone about, and how they loved and embraced you for coming to them.

The Nativity

Mary and Joseph must travel to Bethlehem for the census. It is a difficult journey over rough roads, on a donkey, with Mary about to give birth: a birth that her husband Joseph had nothing to do with. Rather than reject her as an adulteress, Joseph believes the revelation that this child is of God. When they reach Bethlehem, there is no lodging available except where the domestic animals are housed. This lowly accommodation not fit for any human being, was the place that God's Son would be born. It is hard to believe that the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" would not have a better reception into this world.

You may reflect on your own difficult journey over bumpy roads, and the people who you feared would reject you who stayed by your side. When you don't get treated as a human being, remember that Jesus also was born in unfit accommodations but that lowly stable has been immortalized as the birthplace of the Saviour of the world, and your Saviour. You are the brothers and sisters of Jesus, loved by God the Father as His own.

The Presentation in the Temple

After her days of purification, Mary and Joseph took their child, Jesus, to the Temple in accordance with Jewish law. There they presented their child whom a wise old man named Simeon recognized as the Saviour. Mary and Joseph still didn't know exactly what to make of all this, and didn't know how this old man could know anything about their child's destiny.

You, too, were probably taken to a "temple" as a baby and were offered up by your parents to God. By your Baptism, you became a member of God's family. That is something that no one has the right to take away from you. By virtue of your Baptism, you belong to the Church and the Church belongs to you.

The Finding in the Temple

Jesus came of age, according to Jewish Tradition, at the age of twelve. He and his parents made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, along with many other extended family members and friends and neighbours. It was a long trip and as they began to return, in the confusion of so many people, Mary and Joseph could not find Jesus. He wasn't with any of their kinsfolk, so they had to backtrack to the Temple in Jerusalem. They were amazed to find Jesus in the midst of the leaders of the temple: teaching them with authority.

Sometimes you may feel lost in the crowd. You may panic that all that is important to you has been lost. People who you counted on didn't bother to take care of what was precious to you. But you may be amazed to find it again in a visit to an adoration chapel, where Jesus is always present. He may challenge you as He did his parents: "Why were you looking for me elsewhere? Didn't you know that I would be in my Father's House?" Remember also, that you have much to teach those who do not understand and may think that they know everything.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

In the sorrowful mysteries, we enter into the suffering of Jesus. We unite our own betrayals, trials, unjust treatment and suffering to the One who first suffered for all our sakes.
The Agony in the Garden
Jesus went out to the Garden of Gethsemene to pray, to beseech His Father that "if it is possible, take this cup away from me, but Thy will, not mine be done". Jesus had asked his most trusted disciples to stay awake and keep watch, but he came back to find them asleep. Then one of those who had accompanied him, Judas, betrayed him to the enemy with a kiss. Later Peter, whom Jesus would choose as the keeper of His kingdom, denied three times that he even knew Jesus.

Think about the decisions that you have had to make in your life, the "cup" that you may have asked God to take away from you. When you have an important decision to make, especially one that you know will be difficult: first take time to discern what is God's will. Perhaps you are debating whether to enter into a particular relationship. Perhaps you are being called to a vocation in the priesthood or religious life. Perhaps you are being called to take a public roll in ministry with other gay and lesbian Catholics. It may be a calling that you are hesitant to respond to. Perhaps in some troubled time in your own life, the people who you counted on to be there for you just were not there, or maybe betrayed you or denied knowing you. Yet Jesus later chose Peter as the keeper of the kingdom in spite of his denial, and John was at the foot of the cross even though he could not stay awake. People who seem not to be there for you may come through in the end.

The Scourging at the Pillar
Jesus was taken before Pilot for judgement. Pilot did not want to pronounce judgement on Jesus, but the crowd kept yelling "crucify him". In the end, Pilot handed Jesus over to the torturers and he was mercilessly beaten.

There may be people who do not want to judge you, but are swayed by the crowd. Maybe you have suffered violence or been beaten up just for who you are. People can be vicious sometimes to those who they perceive as a threat to their way of life, just as they perceived Jesus to be. God does not want this to happen, but sometimes He must allow it to happen in order for people's hard hearts to be softened. Think of the attention that has been drawn by some of the horrific violence that has made the news and that has been a rallying point to move people to action who otherwise would not have given taunting and discrimination against lesbian and gay people any thought.

The Crowning with Thorns
Jesus was draped in a cape and a mock crown made of thorns forced onto His head and into his scalp. The soldiers laughed at him, spat on him and mocked everything that he was.

People may call you names or spit on you for who you are. It is they who are ignorant. Jesus could have put an end to this for himself, but he chose to endure it, to suffer this humiliation. There are times that we suffer humiliation also, whether we choose it or it is forced on us. Remember in those times that God loves you, even when the world hates you.

The Carrying of the Cross
After being beaten, humiliated and jeered at, Jesus had to carry the cross up a hill. He stumbled and fell several times along the way. Sometimes a kind person, like Veronica, stopped to wipe the sweat and blood off His face, or like Simon the Cirene, helped to carry His cross.

Sometimes being gay and Catholic may seem to be a very heavy cross indeed. Sometimes a kind person will stop to help, or a secret friend may help to carry that cross. Just as Jesus did, allow those who would do so to help you carry your cross.

The Crucifixion
Jesus was nailed to a cross between two brigands. Only his mother, his disciple John, and Mary the wife of Cleophas were there to keep him company. He was taunted that if he was really the Son of God, that He could come down off that cross anytime He wanted. One of His last acts was to give his Mother to the disciple John, symbolic of all Christians receiving Mary as their Mother. The other was to implore God His Father to "forgive them, for they know not what they do".

Perhaps you have been unjustly condemned, lumped in with pedophiles and perverts, just as Jesus was considered a subversive undesirable element by people who didn't know any better. Perhaps you have been taunted that if you didn't let people know who you were, you wouldn't be reviled for it. Jewish people have also been told that if they would take off that Star of David, no one would know who they were. You may have had to watch someone who you love die, and your own family was not there for you. Then as the disciple John and Mary the Mother of Jesus, you take refuge in those who have become family to you. And you can always know that Mary the Mother of God is Mother to all of us and waits with outstretched arms to take us into her embrace. It may be hard, but sometimes when we cannot forgive people their cruelty, we can at least ask God to "forgive them, for they know not what they do."

The Glorious Mysteries

In the Glorious Mysteries, we enter into the glory of the resurrected Christ and the promise to all who follow Him that they, too, are the inheritors of His Kingdom.
The Resurrection
On the third day after He had been buried, wrapped in burial cloth and laid in a tomb of stone, the stone was rolled away and the cloths lay folded on the burial slab. Mary Magdalene was the first to ask where his body had been taken. She did not recognize Jesus when he appeared asking her "Why do you weep?" He had to announce to her, "Mary, it is I" before she threw herself at his feet and recognized Him. Likewise when He appeared to His disciples, they did not recognize Him until He broke the bread. Thomas, who was not there that day, did not believe it. Even when Jesus appeared a second time, Thomas would not believe it was Him, until he had probed Jesus' wounds.

You may have had to convince people that you are still the same person that they always knew. They may weep that their son, daughter, sister, brother, friend, is no longer recognizable to them. It may take a while for them to recognize you for who you are.

The Ascension
Jesus, accompanied by his disciples, went out to a hill and told them that it was time for Him to ascend to His Father, but that He would always be with them, and that He would send the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, to be with them in a new way. His disciples did not understand. They did not want Him to go. They could not believe their eyes as they watched Him disappear into the clouds.

People who have been your friends and family may not understand what they perceive to be an abandonment of all that your relationship with them has been. They may think it is a "phase" and that they can talk you out of it, if they cling to you. You may have to go away from them for a while to become who you were meant to be, but that doesn't mean you abandon them, for a part of you will always be with them and will return in a different form.

The Descent of Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, descended as tongues of fire on the disciples who were gathered with the Mother of Jesus in the upper room. Afterwards, they went out to proclaim the Gospel message, speaking in tongues that were understood by people of all the assembled nations.

Holy Spirit may illuminate those who you love, may move their hearts and give them the words and the courage to support you in the face of all adversity. The first Christians were afraid of persecution. They were afraid of confronting the Pharisees, of being denied access to the temple, but they were challenged to go forth and proclaim the truth. You, and those who love you may face a similar challenge and similar fears.

The Assumption
When Mary the Mother of Jesus died, Jesus raised her body and soul into Heaven to share His kingdom. In so doing, Jesus affirmed that Mary was a special person, that as His Mother having done God's will in bringing Him to the world to share in all the human suffering, she deserved a special place. Her Assumption is also a revelation of the fate to await all Jesus' followers at the end of time.

You are part of God's kingdom. Jesus has called you and you are His own. Do not be afraid to claim your place as one of His followers. In the end, all will be made clear that now is only seen dimly. God's understanding surpasses that of mere mortals.

The Coronation of the Mother of God
As Jesus raised His Mother into Heaven, He had prepared a special place for her, at his right hand as the Queen of Heaven.

She is our advocate, our intercessor with Her Divine Son. As brothers and sisters of Jesus, Mary is your Mother, too. Call upon Her often. Greet her as the Angel did: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee". Ask your Mother in Heaven to pray with you and for you, now and always, even unto the time that you are called home to be with her and her Son forever, where is no despair, no hatred and everyone is part of the same family. That is God's gift to you for persevering in the struggles of this world, and never giving up on God's mercy.
 

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy towards us,
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb,
Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.


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