Meditating on the Fruits of the Mysteries
When we pray the rosary, we may have specific intentions in mind as we work our way through the mysteries. Or perhaps we envision the scenes from Scripture that correspond with each mystery.
Meditating on the spiritual fruit of each mystery -- a specific virtue that we can aspire to live out in our own lives like Jesus and Mary -- can make our prayer experience deeper and our devotion more spiritually fruitful. Meditating on the fruits of each mystery of the rosary is a way to preach the rosary with our lives, pursue and attain virtue, and become more of the person that God is calling each of us to be.
Preaching the Rosary
Recently, I completed a 33 day consecration to Our Lady of the Rosary with my parish. We referenced Fr. Don Calloway’s book, Champions of the Rosary, so at the conclusion of the consecration, I sat down with Fr. Calloway for a short interview on the rosary. (You can watch that interview here.)
I asked him what it looks like for us as individuals to preach the rosary and what it means for each of us to be “champions” of the rosary in our own lives. Is it inviting others to pray with us, or something more?
Fr. Calloway’s response was profound. He said we must ask ourselves if we are living the truths of the rosary -- are we championing the sacred and saving mysteries of Jesus Christ that we meditate upon when we say the rosary?
He went on to explain that meditating on the fruits of each mystery -- the virtues and truths behind each mystery -- and considering how we can live them out in our lives, and then actually following through and doing so, is how we can best be champions of the rosary.
What are the Fruits of the Mysteries?
Before we explore how and why to meditate on the fruits of each mystery of the rosary… what are the fruits of the mysteries?
St. John Paul II said that “To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate the face of Christ with Mary.” In his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, St. John Paul II also explains that in praying the rosary, “... we set out on a path of assimilation meant to help us enter more deeply into the life of Christ” (RVM 33).
Given this beloved saint’s words, meditating on the fruit of each mystery is to meditate on the virtue that Jesus and Mary embodied, and to contemplate what that means for our own lives and how we can live that truth.
It is to contemplate the life of Jesus in each mystery, and so “assimilating” ourselves to the love and life of Christ -- so that we take the virtues embodied in each mystery, and more concretely live them in our own lives.
We can certainly still add our own petitions and intentions when praying a rosary and meditating on the fruits. But meditating on the fruits of each mystery also invites us to ask the Lord to grant us the grace of being molded to these virtues in our own lives.
The Fruits of the Joyful Mysteries -- And How to Meditate On Them
So what does meditating on the fruits of the mysteries look like? The fruits of each mystery are not set in stone -- for there are many virtues and truths we could draw from each mystery.
But let’s look at what meditating on the fruits of the Joyful mysteries might look like. Before beginning each decade, say “the fruit of the mystery is…” and add the spiritual fruit you hope to contemplate from this mystery.
Annunciation: The fruit of the mystery is humility. As we pray this decade, we can meditate on Mary’s humility before God and her willingness to do His will. We may contemplate how we can bear this spiritual fruit of humility in our own lives. How can we more readily say “yes” to God in our everyday lives, in our relationships, or in our vocation?
Visitation: The fruit of the mystery is love of neighbor/charity. During this decade, we meditate on how Mary went to serve Elizabeth and went out of her way to show love of neighbor. How can we have a similar willingness to serve the people in our lives with the same charity that Mary displayed? How can we go out of our way to love others today?
Nativity: The fruit of the mystery is love of God. In the stable where Jesus was born, the Holy Family had very little -- and yet they had everything. How can we aspire to find everything we need in Jesus Christ, not in the trappings of the world? In this mystery we can meditate on how we can find God in the simple and mundane.
Presentation: The fruit of the mystery is obedience. Mary obeyed the will of God in presenting baby Jesus in the temple. How might we more obediently live our faith in our own lives? Meditating on obedience before God may be particularly powerful if we are facing a large decision in family matters, work, or relationships -- but it can be powerful to also contemplate how we can do better at being obedient in the little things God asks us to do every day.
Finding Jesus in the Temple: The fruit of the mystery is zeal for God. Jesus went to the temple at a young age with immense zeal for His heavenly father. How could we bear this fruit in our own lives? How can we foster a fervor for the things of God in our lives and families?
Let us Bear Fruit in our Spiritual Lives!
Meditating on the fruits of the mysteries of the rosary helps us to pray contemplatively and at a deeper level. It gives us the opportunity to ask the Lord for His grace and help in bearing those fruits in our spiritual lives.
By meditating on how Jesus and Mary lived out humility, charity, love of God, obedience, and zeal for God, we can begin to emulate these virtues in our own lives and bear real and rich spiritual fruit.