Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rosary Reflections ~ All the Mysteries

I had mentioned recently that we have been using beautiful images to use for reflection and meditation during our daily, family rosary. Images that I know will sink deeply into the hearts of my children for life, creating cherished, prayerful memories. I know this can happen as I remember as a child, being facinated with my mother's daily prayer book. She knelt by her bed every morning with this book. It was filled with holy cards with prayers on the back and using them, she would recite her prayers for the morning. Inside this book (which I think from memory, might have been a latin missal) there were the most beautiful images of the life of Our Lord and Our Lady, many were the were work of Danish artist, Carl Bloch and it explains why I love his work so much. With the use of so many of the world's greatest artists work, it's also an effective way to cultivate in children, the love and appreciation for the finest art in history.

I remember in Maria Von Trapp's autobiography Maria: My Own Story she shares a similar childhood memory:

"In these first years of my childhood, God entered my life for the first time in a very gentle and loving way. My foster mother was a deeply religious person, truly pious. Every morning she would go to church, many times taking me with her, and I remember how I often looked at her rather than at the altar. Her face radiated kindliness and the love of God.

At home she would sometimes take me on her lap in the evening and go through an illustrated Bible in large print. I am sure I would think the pictures atrocious now, but at that time they were a source of great happiness. I remember a child Jesus in a pink gown with yellow curls, His mother all dressed in blue. I couldn't get enough of it. And then at the gruesome pictures of our Lords' passion, my little heart welled up in pity and misery. Once my foster mother found me in a corner curled up over the Bible as I pierced the eyes of those bad men torturing our dear Lord - with a crochet hook."

We have been using these images on our TV screen, just below our altar, for a couple of months now and it has been a wonderful help to us all. I find if I am reciting the rosary out of the home, I now recall images I love in my head to assist in my meditation.

I am at the present moment, sitting the children down and stepping them through the images, folder by folder, encouraging them to look for the symbols and images in the paintings, explaining to them what they all mean (similar to what they do in one of the Seton homeschooling Art books). It has been a wonderful learning experience for us all.

I have purposely chosen images that visualize the invisible spiritual world around us. You could have a painting that has only Our Lord being baptized by St John the Baptist in the river Jordan, very simple and straightforward, but doesn't everyone want to see the heavens open up, the God the Father and the Holy Spirit surrounded by beautiful angels, the light pouring down upon baptism? Catholic paintings emphasize the reality of the spiritual in a wonderous way. Catholic symbolisim also speaks strongly to us, so it is great to see it in a painting.
So I have finally shared here at Starry Mantle my 20 images for each decade/mystery of the rosary (20 mysteries all up). You can click open each image and it will blow up to full size, which then can save. I have one master folder on the desktop called "Holy Rosary" when I click it open, there are four folders, "Rosary 1" "Rosary 2" etc. Each of these folders are structured the same, click one open and there are four more folders, "Joyful Mysteries 1" "Luminous Mysteries 1" etc. When I click open one of these folders, say the Joyful Mysteries 1 for example, you will find 5 folders, "Annunciation 1" "Visitation 1" etc.
When you click open one of these mysteries, there are the 5 images and the Irfanview slideshow for those 5 images. It is this Irfanview slideshow I click open to display on our large TV screen (which is attached to a computer) ~ the TV screen is directly under our large family altar. If your TV is not readily turned into a computer screen maybe you can think of a way of placing the images on a DVD disk as a slideshow? I'm sure there would be a way. For some people their computer is a laptop and could be placed near their altar for the recitation of the rosary.
So why so many images? We discovered years ago when we use to have images in folders for the children, it was good to rotate images in a way that they were seeing the same image once every 10 days or so. The other reason you realise just how many BEAUTIFUL Catholic old masters paintings there are?? It's a very hard job to short list with only 5 or 10 pictures.
The opening for the TV cabinet has wooden doors which we can close and lock at any time. So we open them up for the times we want to watch EWTN, say the rosary or watch a video.
For those who do not want to place the images on the computer during the recitation of the rosary, you can just print some of the images and place them in folders, one for each of the children in the family, this is what we have done in the past.
Below are all the postings for each mystery of the rosary. Each mystery contains the twenty images (in groups of five) of old master paintings we have chosen to use for our rosary.


noreen said...

Hi Anne, I'm so happy I found yoru blog from Tiffany's blog - Family at the Foot of the Cross. I love the information you put down about the rosary reflections. I'e been praying the rosary for almost 2 years now and it helps to have a good mental image of what is happening during the mystery mediation. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Lacy @ Catholic Icing said...

This is incredible! Thanks for putting together such an amazing resource! I'll be keeping this link!!! :-)

Chad Myers said...

This is a great resource! We're totally going to make a DVD to put on our TV while we pray the rosary!

Do you happen to have all the images available in a ZIP file? These are a lot of images to download and arrange. I figure you've probably got them all in a folder already.