Reason #3: to draw down graces and apply them to our lives
There's a well known song that we sing at Mass. You've probably heard it. The refrain goes something like "We become what we receive! Amen. Alleluia!"
The belief that an ordinary created object, like a bunch of random wheat and a few grapes, can become something radically different - while still maintaining its original form - is foundational to the Catholic understanding of the created world. We certainly proclaim that this mystery takes place in the Mass. Some pretty ordinary stuff - wine and bread - become divine, through the participation of humans (which we call "the work of human hands"), the ministry of the priest, and of course, the presence of the Trinity.
Even if we don't fully understand how this exactly happens during the celebration of the sacraments, we profess that belief. That's why we say "Amen," which translates to "I believe." But what about outside of the sacraments?
The same principle certainly applies! Just as we are called to "become what we receive" when we participate in the sacraments, praying the Liturgy of the Hours or the rosary offers us similar benefits.
As we pray the rosary, we've already noticed a physiological change (Reason #1) and an elevation of our hearts and minds through contemplation (Reason #2), so now we are in a position to be more receptive to the graces made available to us. This can be very specific. For example, if your family struggles with peace and harmony, the Joyful Mysteries are of great benefit. Since the Joyful Mysteries invite us to meditate on the life of the Holy Family, we can also ask that our families receive the graces that were present in the daily life of the Holy Family. Surely Joseph knew great stress and anxiety, as he protected and provided for Mary and Jesus. Who better to ask for help in these areas than Joseph?
If you or a loved one is struggling with work issues, be sure to pray the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday. These 5 mysteries detail Jesus' own public life, where he lived out the work he was called to do. Ask Jesus to walk with you in your own vocation, to grant you clarity, courage, and the wisdom to see the way forward.
Do you often encounter mockery? Ask for assistance in this area when you pray the 3rd Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning of Thorns, when Jesus was mocked. Jesus suffered all these things so that we would not have to suffer them alone. We are able to draw from the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph the graces that we need for our own lives, in our own particular circumstances.
But as Pope Francis said in "The Joy of the Gospel," time is greater than space. We have to allow plenty of time for the changes we pray for to occur, and do our best not to get downhearted if nothing happens right away. After all, God took 6 days to create the cosmos in the beginning, and Jesus was born as a baby. The proper use of time is always part of God's plan.
While we wait for our prayers to be answered, we can continue to think over how our lives, in their own way, mirror the events that we meditate on in the rosary and consider how we can draw down those graces, and apply them where they are needed.
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