From a reader…
Someone told me that during the Lenten season, every day one would pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. True?
The wonderful, indulgence-laden prayer of the Most Holy Rosary is prayed in different ways in different places. There are variations from country to country, ethnic group … community… etc. The most important element that they have in common is that they all PRAY the Rosary, however it is done. We don’t have to force unity in the matter of these devotions.
Keep in mind also that the sets of mysteries themselves – while not exactly arbitrary – are, well, a bit arbitrary. We have the sets of Mysteries which have developed over the centuries. Their number developed to parallel the number of the Pslams (150). The Rosary was for a time seen as a substitution for the Psalms. Our Lady of Fatima asked the recitation of “one third” of the Rosary (150/3=50 “Aves”). The introduction by John Paul II of another set of Mysteries (the Luminous) goofed that up a little. (When the Luminous were issued, some people freaked out because one third became 66.6 “Aves”.. get it? 666? Get it?) You are not obliged to use the Luminous Mysteries. You aren’t obliged to use the other sets of the Mysteries either, strictly speaking. The requirements to fulfill the work of an indulgence, however, ask for the recitation of the prayer along with pia mysteriorum meditatio… pious meditation of the mysteries. The Enchiridion doesn’t specify the mysteries, or the day they are pondered. Local devotion takes care of that. So, were you on a Friday of Lent to meditate, while saying your beads, instead of the standard Sorrowful Mysteries, upon l. The Lord’s Betrayal by Judas 2. The Mocking by the Soldiers 3. The Help of the Cyrenian 4. The Last Breath 5. The Piercing of His Side… would you have said the Rosary. Sure. Would you get the indulgence? Probably. For my part, I don’t see many good reasons to change anything. But, hey, someone might slip and use one of the Stations of the Cross in place of a Mystery.
So… if you really wanted to meditate for the entire year on just the Joyful Mysteries… go for it.
You can pray which ever of the sets of Mysteries that it occurs to you to pray. Yes, there is an order which seems to have become standard, to the point of being called the “traditional” order. That order makes sense. It is time tested. It works. Hence, it makes sense to pray the sorrowful Mysteries on Friday, because the Lord’s Passion occurred on Friday. Since every Sunday is a “little Easter”, it makes sense to pray the Glorious Mysteries. Given a couple fixed points, and having the desire to play all the mysteries regularly, the order developed. It might make sense to someone to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries on a Sunday of Lent. Fine. Even every day during Lent. Fine.
That said, I find it consoling to think that so many other people are praying using the same Mysteries that I am, and that this is relatively predictable.
The paramount thing is that you pray the Rosary with attention and devotion.
And please reserve a couple of the beads for me.