Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Three Paths of Our Lady’s Rose Garden - An Introduction

The 1942 Rosarian’s Handbook describes a beautiful way to pray a Rosary novena that is very much in keeping with the word “Rosary”, which derives from the Latin name for a rose garden or a garland of roses.

The handbook divides the nine days of the Rosary novena into three groups of three days. The first three days are called “The Path of the White Roses”; the second, “The Path of the Red Roses”; and the last, “The Path of the Yellow Roses”.

Today’s post is just a beginning. In future posts, you will find how to pray each of the three paths in sequence.

Here is the introduction from the handbook. Its title is “The Significance of the Rosary”:
“Since Our Lord chose the Garden of Olives as a place for prayer, Christians have associated prayer with the reflective quiet of a garden. Thus we see monasteries designed with a cloister garth or garden. The faithful have long associated the telling of Our Lady’s beads with the weaving of wreaths of roses from Mary’s garden. Hence the Latin word for rose-garland, rosarium, has long been accepted as the most descriptive term for saying of the definitive series of prayer decades (one Pater and ten Aves) accompanied by reflections on the five joyful, the five sorrowful and the five glorious mysteries of the lives of Jesus and Mary -- which prayer we call the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“. . . In telling his beads the rosarian may be likened to the rose grower who walks observantly along his garden paths and admires in turn each beautiful bloom. He thoughtfully picks and then carefully arranges each choice blossom, twining the thorny stems into a wreath which he places on the head of the Queen who is indeed the Help of Christians, Our Lady of the Rosary. Although the complete Rosary consists of fifteen decades and mysteries, each five decades is called a chaplet or wreath. It is interesting to note that in the Rosary apparitions both in Lourdes, Frances, in 1858, and at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, Our Lady recited the usual five decades with the favored children of the Holy Spirit to whom she chose to appear.

“Rosarians, as children of their Mother, Mary, like to walk and speak with Christ in the beautiful pathways of Our Lady’s rose garden. In meditating on the mysteries of the holy Rosary, our souls are kindled by the spiritual beauty which they reveal. Roses, pure white as springtime blossoms, remind us of the Child Christ and of His Mother, the most favored of all mothers. Here, too, in Mary’s lovely garden bloom red roses like the Redeemer’s Blood. Then again, the golden glow of yellow roses tells us of the Resurrection of Christ and of the glories of our Heavenly Queen. The effect of fresh roses lies in the power of their simple beauty to arouse us to have true and real loveliness. Thus meditation on the mysteries of the holy Rosary inflames our soul to draw near to the personalities of Jesus and of Mary: holy comfort and thoughts of eternity will accompany us on life’s weary way if we thus use our spiritual rosary to keep us near to Jesus through Mary.

“ ‘The Rosary,’ then, is a form of prayer wherein we say fifteen decades of ten Hail Mary’s each preceded by an Our Father, and during each of these fifteen decades we piously meditate in a mood of loving yearning upon one of the mysteries of our Redemption.”
Dolan, Dominic, O.P. (Ed.); The Rosarian’s Handbook of the Society of the Rosary Altar (Marchbanks Press, New York, 1942), pp. 55-57.

All material from The Rosarian's Handbook used with the kind permission of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph.

The Rose Garden at Konz, Germany, from Wikimedia Commons. Some rights reserved.

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