Entering into the Mysteries: Using Ignatian Meditation to Pray the Rosary

Saints throughout the centuries have spoken on the power of Our Lady’s intercession and the importance of praying the rosary.

 Min read
October 4, 2022

Saints throughout the centuries have spoken on the power of Our Lady’s intercession and the importance of praying the rosary. 

Many Catholics find it easy to say the prayers of the Rosary, but many find it difficult to actually meditate on these great mysteries of our faith while doing so. 

Reading the Scripture associated with each decade can help but using Ignatian Meditation can allow you delve even deeper into this timeless prayer. 

Ignatian Meditation takes its name from St. Ignatius of Loyola–founder of the Jesuits and a great spiritual master of the Church. 

Ignatian Meditation, also known as Imaginative Prayer, engages the mind and heart to enter more fully into prayer and conversation with God. It helps make the scriptures come alive and facilitates a personal encounter with the Lord. 

It can also help you meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary. You can use Ignatian Meditation to pray with a single mystery of the Rosary or with all five decades. It is also a unique way to pray with your family or small group. 

Steps to Ignatian Meditation 

Become aware of the presence of God

Begin your prayer by recognizing God’s presence within you (and in the Eucharist if you decide to pray using this method during Adoration). Offer this time to Him and invite the Holy Spirit to guide your mind and heart during this time of prayer. 

Put it in Context

Each mystery of the rosary focuses on an event in the life of Jesus, many of which include His Blessed Mother. Read the scripture passage associated with each mystery to once again familiarize yourself with the event.

Here are the scripture passages for the Rosary:

The Joyful Mysteries

The Annunciation: Luke 1: 26-38
The Visitation: Luke 1: 39-45; 56
The Nativity: Luke 2: 6-7
The Presentation: Luke 2: 22-24
The Finding in the Temple: Luke 2: 41-52

The Luminous Mysteries
The Baptism of Jesus: Matthew 3: 13-17, Mark 1: 9-11, or Luke 3: 21-22
The Wedding at Cana: John 2: 1-11
The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven: This mystery encompasses many passages in the Gospels, giving you many options to choose from. Some good passages to start with are Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 2:1-12 or Luke 5:1-11
The Transfiguration: Matthew 17: 1-9
The Institution of the Eucharist: Matthew 26: 19; 26-30, Mark 14: 22-26, or Luke 22: 14-20

The Sorrowful Mysteries–
The Agony in the Garden: Matthew 26: 36-46, Mark 14: 32-42, or Luke 22: 39-46
The Scourging at the Pillar: Mark 15: 11-15
The Crowning with Thorns: Matthew 27: 27-31 or Mark 15: 16-20
The Carrying of the Cross: Matthew 27: 32-34, Mark 15: 21-23, Luke 23: 26-32, or John 19: 16-17
The Crucifixion and death of Jesus on the Cross: Matthew 27: 35-61, Mark 15: 24-47, Luke 23: 32-56, or John 19: 16-42

The Glorious Mysteries–
The Resurrection: Matthew : 1-10, Mark 16: 1-14, Luke 24: 1-12, John 20: 1-20
The Ascension: Matthew 28: 16-20, Luke 24: 45-53, or Acts 1: (1-) 9-12
The Descent of the Holy Spirit: Acts 1: 1-14 or Acts 2: 1-4
The Assumption of Mary: Luke 1: 26-33
The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and earth: Revelation 12: 1-6

Place yourself in the scene

After reading through the passage once or twice, close your eyes and imagine the scene. Spend time experiencing this scene either by placing yourself in the shoes of one of the characters or by placing yourself in the story. 

“Use” your five senses. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch in this place? 

Who is there? What are they doing? How do they interact with one another and with you? 

St. Ignatius encourages us to speak to one of the characters in the scene, what do they say?

Then consider how you feel as you pray with this passage. Are you filled with feelings of love or gratitude? Do you feel sorrow or some fear? Bring these feelings to the Lord.

Let God surprise you 

Don’t go into this time of prayer with any agenda; rather, open your mind and heart to hear whatever God wants you to hear.

During your meditation, don’t worry about following the scene exactly as it plays out in Scripture; if you feel yourself being pulled in a particular direction or being drawn to stay longer in a particular moment, follow that. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you where you need to go. 

Talk to God about your experience

Speak with Christ about whatever movements of the heart have occurred. Ask Him what He wants you to take away from this meditation. Then hold these thoughts and God’s words to you in your heart as you begin praying the decade. 

As we celebrate the Most Holy Rosary during this month of October, consider making the time to contemplate each mystery of the Rosary using Ignatian Meditation. Or, try our new Rosary series where each class is a meditation on a particular aspect of the Rosary.

Pietra Fitness