About two years ago, I made a passing mention of the “Theurgic Rosary” but never elaborated on it. Probably because the process is so simple, it didn’t seem to need further mention.
You may have figured out that I’m a fan of “Hiding in Plain Sight,” as Fr. Theophilos discussed in his review for My New Everyday Prayer Book, and the Theurgic Rosary is no exception. In fact, you can do this during group recitation in the middle of a crowded church, and no-one will be the wiser.
In essence, the Theurgic Rosary is none other than either the “regular” or “expanded” method for praying the Rosary, except that you’re thinking a set of affirmations as you pray both the Our Father and the Hail Mary. These affirmations are drawn from the Spiritual Fruits of each Mystery, and then augmented with a “reason” for obtaining those fruits, i.e. a concrete example of why these virtues are worth obtaining.
Today we’ll talk about the affirmations accompanying the Joyous Mysteries, and if you’ve ever seen me pray the Rosary on video, these are what I’m thinking during any long pauses. If the entire affirmation is too long for you to concentrate on repeatedly during your own practice, then simply fixate on one or two key words and repeat it (them) in your mind until you get to the middle of the Hail Mary, then pause and think the entire affirmation as forcefully as your brain will let you.
In any case, here we go:
1. The Annunciation
“My soul is humble, that I may communicate with the spirits and discern the voice of God.”
Humility is the first step on the Path of Return, as without it there’s no chance of discernment or overcoming our own inflated ego. This is not a self-destroying humility, but a humility that overcomes the walls we build separating ourselves from the world around us. It is with this true humility that we may discern what others are saying, and that we may overcome our tendency toward imagination to discern what the spirits are trying to tell us, and to discern the voice of God in our lives.
2. The Visitation
“My soul is charitable, that I may effectively deal with my neighbor. [My neighbor and my enemy are one.]”
If you’ve listened to enough of my Sunday broadcasts, you’ll already know I don’t define “love” as anything warm and fuzzy, but as a knowledge and understanding of the one that is loved, where they’re coming from, and how best to outreach to them. This was kind of long for an affirmation, so I distilled it down to “effectively deal” since that more or less encapsulates all of the above.
You may notice the brackets, “My neighbor and my enemy are one.” This isn’t really a part of the affirmation, but the result of something that kept creeping in my head while meditating. Every now and then, my mind would say “that I may effectively deal with my enemy” instead of “my neighbor.” My mind eventually resolved this by concluding: “If Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as well as our enemy, then my neighbor and my enemy are one.”
3. The Nativity
“I am indifferent to the physical world and its conditions, so that I may overcome its limitations.”
In the Nativity, we meditate on Jesus’ birth to a poor family amidst the squalor of an animal stable. In essence we meditate on lowliness of his starting conditions contrasting with the heights of his actual nature. This combines well with the Spiritual Fruit of indifference to the physical world and its conditions (some prayer books call it “hating the world” or “flying from the world,” but the word “indifference” captures the meaning better).
What we learn from this, and hope to emulate, is the refusal to fixate on obstacles in our path, but rather focus our energy on overcoming those obstacles and limitations.
4. The Presentation
“I am obedient to the law of God, that I may transcend the laws of nature.”
The Spiritual Fruit of the Presentation is “obedience to the laws of God.” But why should we seek to be obedient to God, or to anybody else for that matter? We do so not because of fear of everlasting torment, but because the One who put us within nature also has the ability to transcend nature. If St. Athanasius tells us “God became man that we might become God,” and the Mass tells us “the we may be partakers of his divinity who vouchsafed to partake of our humanity,” then is not the transcendence of nature a part of that divine-human exchange?
Talk about that to anybody who regularly gets their prayers answered, then come back to me.
5. The Finding in the Temple
“I am converted ever to Christ-ward, that I may be filled with both his knowledge and his power.”
The fruit of this Mystery is “Conversion to Christ,” and I ask: is it possible to convert to Christ, to be in contact with Christ, without some of his qualities rubbing off on you?
In this affirmation, we’re openly seeking for his qualities to rub off on us, in fact we’re openly seeking to be vessels for what he has to offer. This is also a transition point to the Sorrowful Mysteries, where the affirmations focus on self-control, the ability to control our interactions with spirits, and the control to manifest on the physical, mental and astral planes.
That’s It! (For Now)
This is the first in a series of posts talking about the Theurgic Rosary, if only giving a rough outline on how to incorporate it into your current routine. The next two posts will finish the Rosary by talking about the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, respectively, and in the future I may revisit the subject at random, as meditation brings more fruit or thoughts pop into my head.
Pax et Bonum!