Pop-Up Catechesis: The Calming Effect of Praying the Rosary

Many contemplative practices involve the use of a mantra, or the repetitive uttering of a sacred word or group of words (or sometimes a sound) in order to deepen one’s focus, avoid distractions, and create a sense of calm that permits one to enter into an “altered state.” Too often, Catholics are suspicious of such practices, thinking of them as foreign to our tradition. Nothing could be further from the truth! One of the best examples […]

The Glorious Mysteries: The Coronation of Mary and Conversion

We reflect this Easter season on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. As the Blessed Virgin Mary was near and dear to St. Francis of Assisi, he wrote a Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This prayer comes to mind when I ponder Mary’s coronation as Queen of Heaven. In the salutation, Francis uses several titles for Mary that are familiar to us, such as Mother of God. He also uses titles that may sound […]

The Glorious Mysteries: The Assumption of Mary

We reflect this Easter season on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. One of my favorite stained-glass windows is in St. Nicholas Cathedral in County Galway, Ireland and echoes the words of Pope John Paul II, who declared that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family” (On the Family, 86). Entitled The Window of the Holy Family, it beautifully depicts Jesus, Joseph, and Mary in a very ordinary way. Joseph is depicted […]

The Glorious Mysteries: The Coming of the Holy Spirit

We reflect this Easter season on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Imagine telling all your family and friends that the only thing you wanted for Christmas was a particular gift. You drop hints in every conversation to make sure that someone will get this perfect gift for you. When Christmas morning arrives, you race to the Christmas tree and dig through all the presents until you find that perfectly shaped box. You tear open […]

The Glorious Mysteries: The Ascension and Accompaniment

We reflect this Easter season on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Have you ever stared at something or someone in wondrous awe? Or felt unprepared to take on a profoundly important mission? Each time I contemplate the Second Glorious Mystery, the Ascension of our Lord, I realize how much Jesus had prepared the disciples for the evangelizing mission that lay ahead and for the time when his work on earth would come to completion. […]

The Glorious Mysteries: The Resurrection and Hope in the Darkness

We reflect this Easter season on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. One way of praying that has been very fruitful for me is Ignatian contemplation, which is a way of praying with my imagination. I envision myself as being present inside a story from Scripture, participating in it as it unfolds. When I contemplate the Resurrection, there are so many different scenes and people that fill my mind. Jesus’ Resurrection remains the focus, of […]

The Sorrowful Mysteries: The Crucifixion and a Curtain Torn from Top to Bottom

As we draw near the end of Lent, we pause to reflect on the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary: the Crucifixion. Growing up in a very Catholic family, in a very Catholic neighborhood in Chicago, and attending a Catholic school ensured that I was in church every Friday afternoon of Lent for the Stations of the Cross and on Good Friday for services that included the reading of Jesus’ Passion. Among the many things that I […]

The Sorrowful Mysteries: The Carrying of the Cross and the Heaviness of Discipleship

As we continue our Lenten journey, let’s reflect on the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: the Carrying of the Cross. When Jesus was sentenced to death by Pilate, he was made to carry his Cross—most likely a wooden cross beam weighing about 75–100 pounds, which would then be attached to a wooden pole already in the ground on Calvary. The Gospels and the Stations of the Cross remind us that, under this burden, Jesus, in his weakened […]

The Sorrowful Mysteries: The Crowning with Thorns and a Different Kind of King

Today we pause to reflect on the Third Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary: the Crowning with Thorns. According to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Passion, Jesus was mocked by the Roman soldiers. One of these acts of mockery was to place a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head to ridicule the king of the Jews. This mockery went further with the placing of a purple robe on Jesus’ wounded body and a sign placed above his […]

The Sorrowful Mysteries: The Scourging at the Pillar and the Protection of the Voiceless

As we journey deeper into Lent, we pause to reflect on the Second Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary: the Scourging at the Pillar. This violent scene is depicted in all four Gospels (Luke’s Gospel refers to Jesus being “beaten.”) with very little description, yet it is one of the most vivid images of the Passion, because it was such a barbarous act intended to humiliate the victim and instill fear in onlookers. It’s important to […]

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