The Holy Rosary


Robert T. Harrell

Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2006

Jacksonville, Florida

Dedicated to the most holy Mother of God, whose prayers have made all the difference.

Download PDF (198KB) of the text of the message below and the text of the meditations without pictures.

Go to the Vatican Website for Pope John Paul's Apostolic Letter on the Rosary or download a PDF of that document.

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The Joyful Mysteries

The Luminous Mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Glorious Mysteries


To those who will use these meditations:

      I have written these with a sense of conviction that this needed to be done. The first version of these appeared in January 1998 in the form of a booklet produced on a photocopier at my parish. A few copies were distributed and are possibly still in the hands of those who were there. Some of that earlier material appears in these meditations, although these are considerably revised and, I think, more helpful. If someone reading this  has a copy of the earlier version, I hope you will enjoy this series. The original version did not include the Luminous Mysteries; this new series does.

     I hope that you will be drawn closer to the heart of Jesus Christ through these meditations. The Rosary, while it is a "Marian" devotion, is all about Jesus Christ because Mary herself is all about Jesus Christ. This should become more and more evident as you work through the meditations. If you do not know how to use a rosary, you will find easy to follow instructions here. You can read a very helpful discussion of the rosary in John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

     I shall never forget the words spoken in 1975 by a friend at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. I was at that time an Episcopal seminarian in Alexandria, Virginia, and we were having dinner at Dominican House after a class we had in common there. I asked him how he, who had grown up a Baptist in an African American congregation in South Carolina, had ended up as a Catholic priest. After he narrated the story of his conversion to the Catholic Faith, I asked him, "What about all that Mary stuff?" He smiled, looked me square in the eye and said softly but emphatically, "She's there!"

     Now it is just over 30 years later that I am writing this. What Reg said to me that day at Dominican House is true, absolutely. As I review the story that has unfolded in my life in Jesus Christ, with its strange twists and turns and unexpected pitfalls and changes, the presence of the most holy Mother of God has become clearer with each passing year. I am persuaded that she is not only the first member of Christ's Body by virtue of being his Mother, indeed the first human being in history to have a personal relationship with Jesus, she is the preeminent member of the the Church who always seeks to "magnify the Lord" as she points to him and tells us to "do whatever he tells you." She has been given to us as our Mother by the Lord himself as he spoke from the Cross in the last moments of his life. Today I do not know how one can speak of Jesus Christ as Son of God unless one in the same breath speaks of him as Son of Mary, for as the Incarnate Lord, who has the fullness of both divine and human natures, we do not know him as divine apart from his humanity, nor do we know him as human apart from his divinity. God's Son is Mary's child. She is the Mother of God who gives birth to the Church by virtue of giving birth to him who is its head.

    Finally, I must say that it has become deeply personal. It is in the deeply personal that we finally realize the universal truths; universal never turns out to be "general' because I cannot really know anyone or anything "generally." I know humanity in the particulars of the people I learn to love personally. I know God in the particular person of Jesus Christ. I know Jesus Christ because he was conceived in and born of Mary; and for her, that was deeply personal. Her love for him, for his Church and for each one of us is deeply personal. I have come to love her deeply and personally because Jesus loves her and has told me that his Mother is my Mother.

     So I close by repeating myself: I hope that you will be drawn closer to the heart of Jesus Christ through these meditations. Take it personally!


--Bert Harrell