Friday, August 13, 2010

Getting out of a "Rosary rut" with a treadmill and the Sorrowful Mysteries

Since I try to pray the Rosary every day, usually in conjunction with a workout, I occasionally get into a "Rosary rut."  I find it difficult to meditate and get easily distracted.  Part of this can be a stage of ongoing spiritual dryness, but I sometimes get out of the rut by changing things up a bit.

I make use of resources such as Scriptural Rosaries, online Rosaries, or audio Rosaries.  I might re-read one of my favorite books on the Rosary or visit a website devoted to the Rosary.  Sometimes a simple change of location helps such as praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, during Eucharistic Adoration or a in beautiful place in nature.

This morning, I needed to get a workout and decided to use my brother-in-law's treadmill since we're staying at his house.  I didn't have my ipod audio Rosary or my trusty finger Rosary, so I searched the treadmill console for 10 buttons I could use to keep track of the Hail Marys in each decade.  I found a series of 10 labeled buttons across the bottom of the screen, and I decided to be creative and incorporate them into my meditation.  The buttons were meant to be used to program a variety of workout programs, but I found a way to make them apply to the Sorrowful Mysteries.  I'll give an example of how I did this, using the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross.  The button labels are in bold type, and my new meaning for them as well as my reflection for each Hail Mary follows:

1.  Manual -  An overall view of the mystery, imaging myself panning across the scene with a camera.  I took in the scene of the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows), with Jesus patiently, painfully making his way toward Calvary, carrying the heavy cross through the jeering crowds.

2.  Fat Burning - This button made me think of flesh, so I focused on how much Jesus suffered from the open wounds from the scourging, the pressure of the cross digging into his shoulder, the sheer physical exhaustion of all He had endured so far.

3.  Hill - The obvious hill in this mystery is Golgotha, "place of the skull," where Jesus will die.  Yet He turns it into the "place of Redemption," sanctifying the ground with His Precious Blood.

4.  Cardio - This made me think of Jesus' heart and how it must have been so heavy as He listened to the taunts of the crowd and felt the cruel blows from the Roman soldiers on His battered body.  He loved every single one of them, yet they returned only scorn and hate.

5.  Strength - Imagine how much strength it took to get up from under the heavy cross after falling not once, nor even twice, but three times, knowing that even more cruel torture lies ahead.

6.  Interval - I applied this label to just a snapshot of the mystery, viewed through Jesus' eyes.  I imagined what it must have felt like, at the end of the road to Calvary (the Latin word for "skull"), looking up at the place where He would die, knowing that the intense suffering He had endured so far was just the beginning.

7.  User 1 - I used this button to view the mystery through the eyes of a bystander at the scene.  In this case, I thought of Simon the Cyrenean, pulled from the crowd to help Jesus carry the burden of the cross.  What must if have been like to walk, side by side, with the Son of God?  Simon was obviously affected as we know that his sons, Rufus and Alexander (Mark 15:21), were well-know Christians.  No doubt, their father told the story of how he carried the cross with the Savior over and over.

8.  User 2 - Another bystander, this time Veronica.  Although she is not mentioned in the Bible, the story of how she wiped Jesus' face with her veil is recalled in the Stations of the Cross.  How brave she must have been to push past the Roman soldiers to give a small measure of comfort to the suffering Messiah.  Did she know Jesus personally, or was she so overcome watching the "lamb led to the slaughter" that she had to do something -- anything -- to ease His pain?

9.  Heart Rate 1 - I used these last two buttons to consider the perspective of two people beloved by Jesus who were at the scene of the mystery.  The first person is His mother, Mary.  She must have recalled the words of Simeon, "... You yourself a sword will pierce." (Luke 2:35), as she watched her Divine Son stagger through the streets of Jerusalem.  Yet she must have known that it was all for us, that we would be saved through the shedding of His Precious Blood. 

10. Heart Rate 2 - The second person is St. John.  Since he was present at the foot of the cross, he somehow managed to quietly follow Jesus on the road to Calvary.  Did he have to duck into alleys or side streets or did he boldly walk the Via Dolorosa?  He was the only Apostle with enough courage to do so.

I hope this gives you some ideas to aid in your Rosary meditation.  You don't need buttons on a treadmill, but simply look at a given mystery from different angles to find a new perspective.  Ask the Blessed Mother, your Rosary guide, to help you.


Anonymous said...

I am astonished and inspired by this. It is a wonderful use of God's grace and your imagination.

Peggy Bowes said...

Thank you. I must credit the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother for the inspiration.