For years I prayed the Rosary, yet I truly didn’t get the message. I failed to apply the "fruits" to my own life in a personal way. Yes, I would pray in hopes that I would learn the "Fruit of the Mystery" of which ever mystery I was praying, but I didn’t really ask how I could apply that fruit to a particular part of my life. It wasn’t until after I came home and put my thoughts on paper did I begin to see the Rosary and marriage in a different light. I took each mystery and absorbed what Jesus was telling me. He was telling me how I could take these "fruits" and apply them to my marriage. He was answering my prayers by helping me unlock the mysteries one by one.
Jesus taught me that "humility" was needed in marriage. Can you imagine being Mary, a young girl greeted by the Angel Gabriel, and told you were with child? Not just any child, but THE child--our Savior conceived without sin. When I think of Mary and how deserving and good she was (and had to be for God to choose her) I am immediately humbled. I know I am far from deserving any such distinction. Honestly, most of the time I took those feelings of humility and threw them out with the trash when it came to marriage. Jesus had a message for me though. He wanted me to take those precious feelings I had when I thought of Mary and the angel of the Lord and apply those same feelings to my marriage, to my husband.
Jesus had so many lessons for me in the Rosary. Words cannot do justice to His message. As I prayed each mystery of the Rosary, Jesus revealed a message to me.
Often when we think of "Love of Neighbor" we aren’t thinking of the "neighbor" sharing our life…our spouse. Have you ever noticed how people for the most part are kind to people they barely know or don’t know at all? Yet in the same breath we can push down the one we should be holding up above all? "Love of Neighbor" wasn’t meant just for our neighbor next door. He was talking about the neighbor right next to us, our spouse.
Something to Treasure
Poverty isn’t something any of us dream of. There are many forms of poverty. One can experience spiritual poverty, financial poverty and marital poverty to name a few. If you are living in a marriage of poverty, the fruits of the mysteries of the rosary can open a path of renewed enrichment. Marriage is a blessing. When we fail to treasure the gift of our spouse and the sacrament of marriage both will soon "depreciate" and we will soon find ourselves in a marriage of poverty. Think of marriage in terms of how you would treat a two-karat zirconium verses a two-karat diamond. Jesus blessed the Sacrament of Holy Marriage. It is a diamond to be treasured and taken care of. With proper care, it will continue to shine and remain beautiful. If you were given a two-karat diamond ring you probably would keep it close to your heart and take special care when you wore it. Does your marriage deserve anything less?
Obedience is often a sensitive topic, but let me explain. If husband and wife are obedient to God’s commandments their marriage will be full of God’s blessings. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you won’t come across tough times. It means that during those tough times you find happiness in your love for God and one another.
An Inseparable Bond
When a couple shares the joy of finding Jesus, they are on the road to eternal salvation and a beautiful relationship. Sharing God’s love is precious. My husband and I had our own "Holy Wars" for quite some time. I kept praying the Rosary, he kept resisting. One day my husband came home and told me he needed to talk to me. He was very serious. My first thought was, "He wants a divorce". When he started telling me what just took place, I realized all of my prayers had been heard.
On his way home from work, he passed the base chapel just like every other day. However, that day, I don’t know if it was the California sunshine (or more likely Divine Intervention) but it stood out to him like a bright light. He went in, spoke with the priest and joined RCIA. Finding and sharing Jesus with one another has been a journey that has united us and enabled us to grow together in God’s love.
When both husband and wife are open to the Holy Spirit and welcome the Holy Spirit into their lives, they welcome a life full of blessings. When husband and wife share their love of God and faith, they grow and mature spiritually together. They share an inseparable bond.
Mary and Jesus taught us a valuable lesson at the Wedding of Cana—a mother knows her son. Don’t discount the bond they share and the years of knowing one another. Developing a good relationship with your mother-in-law can save you years of heartache and pain. Sometimes this takes a few bushels of "fruits" to do it (i.e., love of neighbor, patience, perseverance and so on.) In the end, a good (or at least cordial) relationship with extended family members makes life at home a lot easier. Believe it or not, it can help you have a better understanding of your spouse.
Repentance and trust in God are great gifts revealed in the Rosary. Repentance and trust in God are some of the most important factors in a relationship. Without repentance and trust in God our relationship will fail. Everyone makes mistakes. Regardless of how big or small they are it is imperative that we repent and trust. A healthy relationship leaves room for error--and a heart to forgive.
Desire for Holiness
Every man wants a virtuous wife and every wife wants a faithful husband. This can be accomplished through a "Desire for Holiness". When you seek holiness in your marriage, you seek God. God will not lead you astray.
Ah, Adoration…who doesn’t want to be adored? Remember when you first met your spouse? How you looked longingly into one another’s eyes? After being together for some time, difficulties (and life in general) can take that loving look away. It’s up to you to focus on the wonderful qualities of your spouse. The more you focus on the positive qualities, the more you bring them out. Take a moment to think back to the time when you looked at your spouse with adoration—remember that feeling and how he or she responded? There’s no better time to recapture "adoration" than now.
Everyone has had his or her share of sorrow. Marriage is no exception. The Sorrowful Mysteries provide us with examples and lessons required to have a healthy and happy marriage. I don’t know anyone involved in a relationship that hasn’t (or should have) apologized for something they’ve said or done. Jesus provides sound advice when He says we must have sorrow for sin. Without sorrow for sin, we would continue down the path of sin, heartache and pain. Admitting one’s faults isn’t always easy. Once you’ve gathered the nerve to do it, you almost always feel at ease after having done so.
We’re all human. Some days are just bad days. When we are verbally scourged by our spouse, or the one doing the scourging, it can be painful and leave us feeling hurt and resentful. Perhaps we can take a step back and see this is as an opportunity to mend relations and start anew. Purity is often painful, but it can be beneficial.
Courage is a beautiful gift. It takes courage to live our lives according to His will. I’ve had to gather courage to admit I was wrong or to apologize to my husband. It hurt a little, but in the end I felt much better. Jesus showed us tremendous courage during his death and triumphant resurrection.
We are coming up to my two favorite "fruits", primarily because I lack them so often. When I pray the fourth Sorrowful mystery I often think of all that Jesus endured for me. All the while, He possessed patience and love for those who placed the cross upon His back. In marriage, we often find that we have less patience with those we love most. Why? Perhaps it’s because we are secure in their love and acceptance of us. Sometimes this security enables us to take advantage of our loved ones. Husbands and wives deserve the most patience and understanding from one another. Once again, God provides us with another tool trying to teach us how to love one another better.
Fruit that Lasts
Perseverance is my absolute favorite fruit of the mysteries. Whenever I’m on bended knee looking up at Jesus on the cross, I am reminded of the incredible perseverance Jesus had. I often find a tear escape me during this time because I feel so ashamed that under less difficulties there are times I have wanted to give up. Jesus comforts me and inspires me during these times because He endured so much. Perseverance is a necessary part of marriage. If we all just gave up at the first sight of trouble, no one would remain married. I’ve learned that perseverance is what makes (or breaks) marriages. Going through life’s challenges, getting beyond them, still holding on to God and to one another takes perseverance—that’s what marriage is all about.
The Rosary reveals the fruits of the mysteries in marriage throughout its lifetime. Marriage encounters joyful, glorious, luminous and even sorrowful times. These are all a part of marriage. Perseverance is one of the most important fruits of the mysteries and what keeps a marriage together. Sticking it out when we feel like walking away. The ups and downs are natural parts of the cycle of marriage, of life. Getting through tough times is what strengthens a marriage. The result of perseverance is a lifelong commitment we call marriage.
God wishes to reveal His blessings to each of us by unlocking the mysteries of the Rosary.
Copyright 2010 Lorrie Lane Dyer
About the Author
Lorrie Lane Dyer is a facilitator for the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation with the University of Dayton as well as religious education and parish coordinator. She is working on her Masters of Leadership Development, with a focus in Military Chapel programs at St. Mary of the Woods College. Her faith provides her with inspiration for many of her poetry collections, columns and short stories.