Growing up, my family would gather almost weekly to pray the rosary. It was a time to prayer as a family, lift up personal intentions, and see who could kneel the longest (my mom and I usually were the last ones kneeling…knees of steel)! Praying the rosary has been a tradition that I have neglected over the years not wanting prayer to become routinized, monotonous, and lack any oomph, while also wrestling with the meaning behind the words of the Our Father / Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and Glory. To be honest, part of me likes the meditative space created by repetition but part of me wants to tweak, rewrite, or create my own prayers to lift up. I had an epiphany as I write this…though there are the “standard” prayers for the rosary, the rosary as an instrument of prayer and connection to the sacred does not have to be limited to the terrific trio of Our Father / Hail Mary / Glory Be (and if you want to be fancy, add the Fatima prayer at the end of each decade). The rosary, likes its sibling the mala, is a form of tactile prayer in which prayers, mantras, affirmations, and devotions are repeated…each repetition is an opportunity to truly engage each word, savorear (savor) the meaning, and have the spirit at the core of the prayer truly sink into one’s soul and being. There is a part of me that likes praying the rosary traditionally as a way of being connected to the wider church, however I also realize that going outside the box to use alternative prayers that connect to and reflect my soul is okay…it is very much in the spirit of the tradition of using the rosary as a way of connecting with G-d. I don’t know if my family would ever be open to praying a tweaked version but who knows, their journey of coming out and transitioning with me has been incredible…perhaps its time we have a “knee off” while embracing tradition in a new queertastic way.
Below is a rosary meditation created by Dignity San Francisco, combining the traditional mysteries with new mysteries reflecting the lives of LGBTQ people. I share it as one way that people have tapped into the spirit of a tradition while finding ways for the tradition to speak to us today.
From Dignity San Francisco: http://www.dignitysanfrancisco.org/Rosary.htm
If you are using a five-decade rosary, when you have finished the fifth decade, move to the center and announce the sixth mystery, then pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. Announce the seventh mystery (Love Reigns), then proceed directly to the Salve Regina, et al.
SUNDAY: The Glorious Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Resurrection 2. The Ascension 3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit 4. The Assumption 5. The Coronation of Mary 6. The Wolf Lies Down with the Lamb (Isaiah 11:6) 7. Love Reigns
MONDAY: The Relational Mysteries
1. Ruth’s Pledge to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18) (fidelity) 2. The Parting of David and Jonathan (I Samuel 20:35-42) (grief) 3. Esther Intercedes for Her People (Esther 4:9-5:2) (intercession) 4. The Raising of Lazarus (John 11:38-44) (restoration) 5. The Two Encounter Christ on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) (discipleship) 6. The Beloved Community Shares All Things in Common (Acts 2:44-45) 7. Love Reigns
TUESDAY: The Prophetic Mysteries
1. The Spirit Moves on the Face of the Deep (Genesis 1:2) 2. The Angel Appears to Hagar (Genesis 16:7-12) 3. The Parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22) 4. Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) 5. Jesus’ Action in the Temple (Mark 11:15-17) 6. A New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation 21:1) 7. Love Reigns
WEDNESDAY: The Joyful Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Annunciation 2. The Visitation 3. The Nativity 4. The Presentation 5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple 6. Jesus Becomes a Man (Luke 2:52) 7. Love Reigns
THURSDAY: The Luminous Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan 2. The Wedding Feast at Cana 3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom 4. The Transfiguration 5. The Institution of the Eucharist 6. The Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) 7. Love Reigns
FRIDAY: The Sorrowful Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Agony in the Garden 2. Jesus Is Scourged 3. Jesus Is Crowned with Thorns 4. Jesus Carries His Cross 5. Jesus Is Crucified 6. Mary Magdalene Weeps in the Garden (John 20:11-18) 7. Love Reigns
SATURDAY: The Incarnation Mysteries
1. God Breathes Life into Adam (Genesis 2:7) 2. Moses’ Mother Gives Nurse (Exodus 2:7-9) 3. The Bride Opens to Her Beloved (Song of Songs 5:6) 4. The Word Becomes Flesh (John 1:14) 5. Jesus Feeds the Multitude (Mark 6:30-44) 6. Thomas Touches Jesus’ Side (John 20:24-29) 7. Love Reigns
feature image from: http://rainbowrosary.faithweb.com