Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Rose Garden

The word Rosary comes from the Latin word rosarium, which means a rose garden, often circular. In Catholicism, the images of a garden, a rose and a circle are rich in symbolism. 

To see how the rosary beads are like a garden, place then in front of you in a circle with the crucifix pointing toward you. The short chain, known as the pendant chain, is like a pathway leading to a garden, which is
represented by the circular part of the rosary.

The crucifix marks the opening prayer of the Rosary, The Apostles’ Creed.  The Creed (and our corresponding faith) is the key to unlock the garden gate, where uur Blessed Mother will lead us to a deeper
understanding of the mysteries of the Rosary.

The five beads on the pendant chain represent a pathway into the garden as we recite the prayers they represent-- The Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Glory Be. The three Hail Mary are traditionally prayed for an increase in the three theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity. The three beads are also said to honor the three persons of the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We enter the garden, or circle of beads, when we begin the first decade of the Rosary. While we‘re in the garden, we meditate on five mysteries, leading us to a deeper understanding of the Gospels. We exit the garden after making a final prayer of praise and petition to our Blessed Mother, the Hail Holy Queen.

The Rosary is ultimately a path to the garden which we most long to enter: Paradise.

Note:  The lovely painting of Mary as a gardener, above, is called "Mary, Nazarene" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  This is an unusual image of Mary, but it's so beautiful.  Since there is a small dove by her shoulder, then perhaps it represents The Annunciation.  I always like to think of Mary in a garden during The Annunciation.  I like the image of her humbly working in the garden, reversing Eve's long ago "No" in the Garden of Eden.

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