The Rosary – Past, Present, and Future

It’s October 7, or the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary!

So, it seems like as good of a time as any to talk about the Rosary and how it has touched my life in the past, is touching my life even now, and how it will — God-willing! — continue to touch my life!

But first… I have a bit of a confession to make. I was never really brought up with the Rosary. Honestly? Even as an adult, I still struggle remembering the Apostles’ Creed and usually have to look at the text of the prayer . As a kid, who had received her first communion (so not completely young), I remember going to my grandfather’s funeral, which was preceded by a Rosary, and not having the slightest idea of how to follow along with the prayers. Though I loved the rosary as a beautiful piece of jewelry (gah, I hate to say that, but that’s what I regarded it as), I really had no idea how to use it.

Learning to Pray

Then, when I hit college, I fell away from the faith, mostly because I believed Christianity and especially Catholicism didn’t really… make sense. Though I was okay with the idea of God as Creator, the idea of a loving God and Jesus just seemed really strange to me. I thought it was something that only simple people believed, and I was too intellectual to believe in that, though at the same time I still felt that yearning to be loved. Even when I went to a Baptist bible study, I still was struggling to accept that we were not simply atoms in a universe that didn’t care, but rather beloved by God.

It was only until reading a combination of St. Thomas Aquinas, G.K. Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis when I slowly realized that perhaps maybe Christianity and Catholicism were not as simple as I once thought. And then, if Christianity were true — and it certainly seemed that way after plenty study! — then I needed to pray.

But, how does one pray to God when one has been separated from Him so much? After all, prayer is to commune with God. But, when one doesn’t know Him, how can one even begin to pray?

So, feeling very silly and stupid, I remembered the rosaries in my sock drawer and decided to take them out. Then, I found some sort of manual online about how to pray the Rosary and how the prayers — that I had since long forgotten — were like. And then, doing my best to focus on the mysteries, I prayed the Rosary.

And you know what? I had never really even contemplated the gospel narrative before then. Even with the Baptist in-depth bible study, it was mostly just individual bible verses strung together. I never was forced to contemplate the whole of the gospel in one sitting. But that’s what the Rosary challenges us to do. And, as I prayed this prayer, it occurred to me that this was perhaps the most beautiful prayer of them all, besides mass.

It was a good thing that I learned how to pray the Rosary then, because tough times were ahead of me! But, even when I couldn’t find the words to say, I knew I could pray to God using the Rosary and unite my own personal struggles with Christ’s through the Rosary.

Praying with Children

Then I got married and had kids. And then praying the Rosary became a lot more… difficult. To put it mildly.

Here’s a picture of a rosary in progress that I made while I was pregnant with my first child! It eventually became my daughter’s first rosary.

One day, soon after I had my second child, I was sitting in perpetual adoration, juggling a baby and a toddler and trying to sneak in a prayer or two. And it didn’t go well. My infant was sleeping in my arms while my toddler, who had just turned two, was bored and doing her best to wake him up. So, I tried saying a Rosary with her. Nope. She wasn’t interested. Even when I gave her a chance to play with my rosary, she wasn’t interested.

But. She was interested in reading a sacred art book about the Rosary. The problem? There was only one sacred art piece per mystery, and she got bored really quickly. She wanted more pictures.

So, sleep deprived though I was, I began to assemble a lot of beautiful, classic religious pictures together to share the mysteries of the Rosary with her in a manner that both she and I could thoroughly enjoy. Then, we would sit down and look at pictures together.

But, letting a two-year-old near a computer is a dangerous thing — after all, a computer has many fun buttons to push. Books are much safer.

So, I dusted off my fifteen-year-old computer that I used when I did lots of graphic design and publishing work. And I started to make a book about the Rosary during nap time. A beautiful book that contained all the prayers, with each prayer illustrated with classic, religious artwork. A book that was designed less like a religious book and more like my wedding album in the way it was laid out. A book that she could not grow out of so quickly.

And, almost exactly a year since I first started, I finished the first book — a book about the Joyful Mysteries — today… totally by coincidence, mind you. And today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

God works in funny ways sometimes.

The Book

The book is really… quite beautiful. Every individual prayer — from the Sign of the Cross in the Introductory Prayers, to the final prayer of the Rosary is illustrated with beautiful, classic, religious art from the public domain. Honestly, when I set off to make this book, I didn’t realize how lovely it would be. I mean… just look at these screenshots.

Every decade starts off with a scripture reading, since the Rosary is so strongly based in scripture.

 

This is the beginning of the Fifth Joyful Mystery, aka The Finding of Christ in the Temple! Usually, there aren’t a lot of angels in this most of these artworks, which makes this particular picture rather unique!

Then it goes to an Our Father…

This scene features the Visitation. I love how they’re both in Hungarian garb. Also, look at that neat castle in the background!

And then there are the Hail Mary prayers.

Scenes from the Annunciation. You can really see from this spread how different artists had different visions for the same scene! For instance, in the left piece, the artist concentrates on the Holy Spirit and shows Mary interrupted in prayer, whereas in the right piece, God the Father is watching over this scene and Mary is enthroned.

Did I mention that there were lots of Hail Marys?

These scenes depict the Presentation of Christ at the Temple!

Each decade ends with the Glory Be and Fatima Prayer, of course!

This depicts the Birth of Christ! And, yes… it is a full spread of the most magnificent art that I could find. Pay no attention to the white line! That’s there because of how the book is bound.

And then, finally, it concludes with both the Hail, Holy Queen and the final concluding prayer of the Rosary:

Both the introductory prayers and the concluding prayers sections show beautiful images of the Holy Family. Like this one! Also, you do NOT want to know how much editing it took to restore that picture into that vibrant image. There was quite a lot of image restoration that I did throughout the book!

I mean. This isn’t just a book for my children. I can use this book for myself. After all, how distracted can I get during prayers? (Answer: very distracted.)

Which goes to my next point… honestly? This book turned out way better than my wildest dreams. A year ago when I started this journey, I wouldn’t have imagined that it would end up looking like this. It’s lovely, and I think it would be a beautiful way to pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary with deep devotion. Plus, perhaps you could even share the Rosary with your children in a way that may be palpable to them!

So, I would like to share it with you!

If you’re in the United States, I will be publishing it sometime in early November! And I’ll probably give more updates as I get nearer to publishing. So, if this is something you’re interested in, let me know and I’ll be sure to update you! Especially as I finish the other books. (I’ve started on them, but they’re not done… yet! Soon!)

In the meantime, if you’re outside the United States or are not interested in this book, but still like the religious art featured on this website? Don’t worry! I won’t spam you mercilessly with advertisements. I’ll still be posting regular blogs and whatnot about religious art. Because, let’s face it: we can all use some more beauty in our lives.

And, after all, what is more beautiful than God?

 

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4 thoughts on “The Rosary – Past, Present, and Future

  • October 8, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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    Beautiful, just beautiful.

    Reply
    • October 9, 2017 at 3:57 am
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      Thank you!

      Reply
  • October 8, 2017 at 10:43 pm
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    Well, I guess I’ll just have to order a copy! Of all the things that could’ve not made sense to you, it’s slightly amusing to me (sorry) that the part of Catholicism that started to not make sense to you was a loving God and Jesus.

    Reply
    • October 9, 2017 at 3:56 am
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      Ha, it’s okay! I think one of the big reasons why I felt that way was because of my major. I studied biochemical engineering in university, and there is actually a pervading sense of a sort of nihilism in the STEM field. Like, there is such a focus on nature and the beauty of nature, but unfortunately that can easily turn into the idea that we, as all things in nature, will be destroyed and nature will not care. So, when I came back to the Church, I was definitely having a hard time accepting the loving God idea! Fortunately, learning to pray really helped with this… it’s hard to not believe in a loving God when He speaks to you in prayer. 🙂

      Reply

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