Monday, February 14, 2011

Walking the Joyful Mysteries

As the author of The Rosary Workout, I like to practice what I preach and pray the Rosary during my workouts.  I've prayed the Rosary while outside biking, hiking, running, swimming and walking.  I've prayed the Rosary in the gym on the elliptical trainer, the Stairmaster, the rowing machine, the treadmill and the Spinning bike.  Although I usually pray the mysteries that are traditionally designated for each day of the week (Monday and Saturday - Joyful, Tuesday and Friday - Sorrowful, Wednesday and Sunday - Glorious, and Thursday - Luminous), I occasionally mix it up a bit.  If my workout is going to be touch and grueling, I'll pray the Sorrowful Mysteries as meditating on Jesus' suffering makes my own more bearable.  If the weather is particularly beautiful outside, I might pray the Glorious Mysteries.  If I'm going to walk or hike, then the Joyful Mysteries are my favorite choice.

The Joyful Mysteries involve quite a lot of walking!  Although The Annunciation is a pretty sedentary mystery, I imagine that Mary would likely have gone for a walk after the Angel Gabriel left, just to process the amazing news she had just heard.  Then she would have quickly prepared for her journey to visit Elizabeth in The Visitation.  Mary lived in Nazareth and would have had to walk about 67 miles to the hill country where Elizabeth lived.  On the way, I imagine that she prayed and reflected on the Scriptures, particularly Hannah's canticle in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.  When Mary bursts forth with her beautiful Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55), it's a completion of Hannah's cry to the Lord thousands of years earlier.

The Third Joyful Mystery also involves quite a bit of walking since the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 70 miles..  Mary is usually depicted riding on a donkey in artwork, but that is not likely as St. Joseph was a poor man and probably could not afford a donkey.  Imagine Mary's excitement and joy as she awaited the birth of her Divine Son.  She quietly trusted that God would provide a suitable place as St. Joseph patiently sought shelter for his family. 

The next journey for the Holy Family was a trip from Bethlehem to Jerusalem for The Presentation, a fairly short journey of about 5 miles.  On the way, Mary probably carried Jesus for part of the time, marveling that she was taking God's own Son to the Temple to present Him back to His Heavenly Father.

The final journey of the Joyful Mysteries is the return trip from Jerusalem to Nazareth, a journey of about 120 miles.  According to the account in Luke 2:420-52  Mary and Joseph has already traveled for a day before they realized that He was missing.  Then they walked for an additional three days searching for Him.  When I walk during this mystery, I pick up my pace as Mary must have, frantic with worry.

Next time you're out walking, pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and walk in Mary's footsteps.  If you get distracted, simply imagine Mary walking next to you and ask her to help you better comprehend the depth of these mysteries as she leads you closer to Christ.

Related link:

I really enjoyed this site with detailed information on the Miles That Jesus and Mary Walked.

My recent articles:

Get your children excited about exercise!  I have plenty of tips in my latest column on,
Ideas for Fun Family Fitness

Do you need help to convince someone not to use birth control?  I found a wonderful parallel in the story of Moses and the Burning Bush which inspired me to write an article for The Integrated Catholic Life e-magazine, A Lesson on Birth Control From.... Moses?


SueW said...

Cool Blog - I had never heard of the Rosary Workout but I love the idea and will try it! Thanks!

Peggy Bowes said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Sue! Let me know how your Rosary Workouts are going. God bless!

Anonymous said...

I like these meditations! Just did a 4-mile walk home from the tire store, eschewing an offer of a ride from the manager, who volunteered that it was "a pretty long walk". But I was anticipating walking with Christ in the Sorrowful Mysteries. They do not call up the usual brisk and cheerful stride on a sunny California morning, so I often had to exert myself to rev up the pace. Maybe I'll do a Litany of the Saints on the walk back.

Peggy Bowes said...

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, and good for you for walking 4 miles! I walked about 2 or 3 today in the North Carolina sunshine as I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries. I'm just about to write about it for today's blog entry. God bless!