My young life is full of leitmotifs, but none are as pervasive or prominent as a circlet of fifty-eight beads with a tiny crucifix attached. Carried in my pocket, stashed in the car, clutched between my sleeping fingers, the rosary was everywhere in my young life.
From the time of my mother’s conversion experience we prayed the rosary together as a family nightly, usually gathered together on our knees in the corner of our living room, facing the statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Grace, perched up on their little shelves next to their matching votive candles. We would take turns reading the meditations for the mysteries — Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious — taken in rotation from a collection of books we had.
I was a Sorrowful mystery sort of Catholic for most of my young life. The suffering and death of Jesus for my sins was the central theme of my religious outlook. Sure, the real good news was that He rose again, but I needed to constantly remind myself that I was a sinner, and that my sins caused Jesus pain, lots of pain. If I kept this fact before me at all times, then perhaps I could sin less.
I have noticed a shift in my affinity of late. In an attempt to reconnect my desiccated soul with something I have taken to praying the rosary during my walk to work each day. As I cycle through the sets of mysteries — Joyful on Mondays and Thursdays, Sorrowful on Tuesdays and Fridays, Glorious on Wednesday and Saturday — I find that I don’t feel a lot of response anywhere in my being with reflection on the Sorrowful mysteries anymore. I am left cold by a sin-centred approach to my relationship with God. I realise that I am a sinner, that I sin a great deal, and that my sins caused Jesus the Man-God to have the flesh flayed off His Sacred Body. I get that. I wonder now, however, if I am the sort of person who can really benefit spiritually from such knowledge.
As I said, I know I do things wrong. Hell, most of the time it seems that pretty much everything I do is the wrong thing. I am feeling it is time for me to try to find things that will me help me on a positive path, not to stop doing wrong things, but to start doing right ones. I have no idea if this has anything to do with it, but I have come to find a great connection to the Joyful mysteries that I had never thought of before. My mind wanders less on the Joyful days, and I find them the closest I have come to meaningful prayer is long dry years. I pray that I can continue do dig into these hitherto-unexplored spiritual vignettes, and that perhaps the search for joy in my own spiritual life may become less of a mystery.