Wednesday, December 3, 2014


One of the goals of faith is to live in freedom.  Freedom is a prerequisite for joy.  The freer you are, the greater capacity for joy that you have.  It is why Christ wants you to live in freedom.  It is why the Church is such a promoter of freedom.  But it is a freedom properly understood.
Freedom for our nation comes much closer to the notion of license; I am free to do whatever I want.  But license to do whatever one wills often leads to a lessening of freedom, not a greater expression of it.
Let us take just one example:  Anger.  There is righteous anger about which Scripture says, “If you are angry, let it be without sin.”  Then there is destructive anger.  How many times I have been taught by well meaning people to let all my anger out.  What they don’t mean is deal with anger, what they mean is to scream into a pillow or punch the couch.  This is not letting your anger out, it is practicing it. 


Remember when you mother used to say, “Don’t do that (use that word, make that face,) because one day it will come out when you don’t want it to.”  Mom was spot on and she didn’t have to go to seminary to learn that.  Practice your anger enough, and it will come out at the wrong time.  But also your anger then has control over you.  People, things, and situations also have control over you.  Long after the guy cut you off and has completely forgotten that you even exist, he still had control over you if you are steaming and mad and looking for vengeance.  He is enjoying the latte that he has just picked up out of his cup holder and you can’t think straight, are plotting revenge, and planning to kick the dog when you got home.
That is not freedom.
WARNING HERE:  This does not mean one does not deal with angry feelings.  You can’t just push them down.  But there are alternatives to letting your anger take over.
What if every time someone cut you off on the road you said a Hail Mary for them instead of doing finger exercises?  What if encountering a rude person at the mall drove you to a prayer for them instead of a curse?  What if being on hold gave you the opportunity to say a rosary instead of playing projectiles with desk implements?  What if nobody could control you again?  What if you went wild?  What if you were happy?


Chris P. said...

Maybe I should ask this in another forum, but this seems as good as any.

I've used rosaries in this situation to great success, but there are some times with the rosary where I don't get as much out of as I think there is there.

When it comes to the Sorrowful and Joyful Mysteries, I've really gotten a lot out of it. The sorrowful have really helped me meditate on and understand how Jesus' humanity is something we can take great comfort in. He's been there. And the Joyful have helped me meditate on how many sacrifices Mary made, and how hard she worked to make good choices... they've also helped me understand the quiet significance of Joseph, and the nobility of his anonymous yet crucial support.

But with the Glorious and Luminous mysteries, I never get any deeper than the events themselves. "Okay, now he's ascending...." or "Now he's glowing with Moses and Elijah...." etc, etc...

I feel there's something there to get, but I never get there.

Does anyone have any ideas? How does everyone here get more out of a rosary?

MaryofSharon said...

Chris, there are some great rosary meditations available for free online that help tap into the mysteries more deeply. Check out Fr. John Riccardo's meditations here:

You can also search for these in the iTunes store under "Fr. John Riccardo".

A scriptural rosary is also helpful:

There are loads of additional free rosary meditations online and at the iTunes store.

Praying the rosary while driving, particularly while pondering such meditations, would be likely to circumvent the road rage which Fr. V. describes in his post.

Chris P. said...

That's good stuff. Thank you. I've never got a ton out of trying scriptural rosaries, they tend to break up my concentrations, but those Fr. Ricardo things are quite good. Thank you!

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Cathy said...

I find that it helps to read widely all types of spiritual materials. With time, one retains a wealth of information from which to draw for meditation.

I also like to read the mystics.

For example, my spiritual director passed along this book to me: "Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary" with meditations given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to Venerable Mary of Agreda:

Also, "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" by Sr. Anne Catherine Emmerich:

... At Catholic Distance University, one can take a single course or work on certificate or degree programs online. I received MA Theology in 2009 and was GREATLY enriched.

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