Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Monday, 27 December 2021

The Twenty Sixth Mystery of The Most Holy Rosary of The Blessed Virgin Mary. (“You can't call it that Dad, because it was the 4th Joyful Mystery in the past”)

On the Feast of the Epiphany 2021 while I was at Mass at Saint James is Spanish Place, I noticed in my Baronius Press Missal, that one of the prayers that is in the Ordinary of the [1962] Mass is different on the Epiphany. In fact there are only five times during the year when the Communicantes prayer changes, for Christmas, for Epiphany, for Easter, for the Ascension and for Whitsuntide/Pentecost. Four of these are Mysteries in the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but the Epiphany is not. So that evening while thinking about, meditating on the Gospel reading that day, St Matthew 2. 1-12, I said the prayers that make up a decade of the Rosary. 

The next day I took down my copy of Our Lady’s Dowry; How England Gained That Title, by the Reverend T.E. Bridgett CSSR. And leaving aside the controversy over the subtitle of this excellent book in its earlier editions, I went looking for these paragraphs which I found on pages 215-216;

“I have not been able to find in the authors who have treated of the Rosary any ancient documents showing the nature of the meditations attached to the decades from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, though they assert that such meditations were in use. I have gleaned, however, some evidence that, at least in the sixteenth century, the mysteries’ were not precisely those now universally adopted. Stapleton, a famous English theologian, writing in Louvain in 1589, happens to mention those in use in his time. The five joyful mysteries were: 1. the Annunciation; 2. the Visitation; 3. the Nativity; 4. the Adoration of the Magi; 5. the Confession of Simeon and Anna. The five sorrowful mysteries were: 1. the Circumcision; 2. the Flight into Egypt; 3. the Loss of our Lord when twelve years old 4. the Crucifixion and 5. the Burial. The five glorious were the same as at present. 

A Spanish writer, Father Arias S.J., writing towards the end of the sixteenth century, alludes to the ordinary Rosary as containing the following mysteries. The five joyful are: 1. the Annunciation; 2. the Incarnation; 3 the Visitation; 4. the Birth; 5. the Presentation. The sorrowful and the glorious are the same as those we now select.” 

I also remember Clare, my then fiancée traveling to Scotland with Father Morty O'Shea and some others, to visit the Pro-life Priest Fr Morrow, telling me that when they had finished saying the then 15 decades of the Rosary, Father suggested saying the miscellaneous mysteries of the Rosary. These consisted of someone in the car mentioning an event in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ and possibly saying a few words about it and then everyone saying the prayers that make up a decade of the Rosary while meditating upon the event.

As one of the main features of the Holy Rosary has been to meditate on the life of Christ while saying certain prayers, there seemed very little wrong in saying the ‘miscellaneous mysteries’. A few years after this journey, Saint Pope John Paul II added the five Luminous Mysteries to the fifteen mysteries that were then already in use for saying the Rosary. Whether he did so because he had heard about this famous journey to Scotland is unclear at this time. 

From all of this it would seem clear to me that what the mysteries of the Holy Rosary are may at times very. Adding the mystery of the Epiphany or the Adoration of the Magi as it was called, as an extra mystery is something that I will do myself from time to time and most surely on the 6th of January each year. This of course only gives us 21 mysteries to say. I'm pleased to say that in the last year I purchased two books for meditating on the Rosary compiled by Father Mark Higgins, the first has meditations taken from the writings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich while the second has meditations from the Fathers of the Church. And now this year Father has published a third book of Rosary meditations from the writing of Saint Bridget of Sweden along with a forth book through the writings of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. Father added five Hopeful Mysteries to the 20 mysteries we already had, he was partly inspired to do this by the writings are Frank Duff the founder all the Legion of Mary.  

And so without further eloquence [watch The Quiet Man], here is the Gospel reading for The Feast of The Epiphany interspaced with the prayers to make it a decade of The Rosary.

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, 

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


Saying: Where is He that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him. 

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.


And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 

Hail Mary…


And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. 

Hail Mary…


But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the Prophet: 

Hail Mary…


And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel. 

Hail Mary…


Then Herod, privately calling the wise men learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; 

Hail Mary…


And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him. 

Hail Mary…


Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the East, went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 

Hail Mary…


And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary His Mother, and falling down they adored Him: and opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

Hail Mary…


And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country. 

Hail Mary…


Glory be…


O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy Mercy

No comments: