At first glance, the Rosary looks like nothing more than an ancient counting tool. Its beads are chained together in simplicity and beauty, but for the untrained eye, simple beauty is its only face value. Sure, the beads could be made from 24 karat gold and the chains of pure silver, but the true value of Our Lady’s gift to humanity is worth much, much more.
We get a hint of just how much the Rosary is worth by going deeper into its rich symbolism. In its craftsmanship and its development, Our lady has provided us with a tool for advancing in our faith, a weapon that destroys entire legions of evil, and an indestructible fortress that protects even the weakest from harm. I’d like to speak on seven specific symbols that manifest these truths
The first symbol I’d like to talk about is the seeds. Each bead consists of the potential to bear fruit in our spiritual lives. Essentially each of these 50 beads are scattered amongst the fields of our own soul as well as those for whom we pray for. They are placed symmetrically in rows that, when stretched, align perfectly with one another equidistance in their decades but separate from the Our Father. Together, they grow in a symbiotic relationship where we need God entirely, and he desires us entirely in order for his love to thrive exponentially, bearing fruit 60, 80, 100 fold.
This segues into the second secret symbol of the Rosary, that we too will be stretched to our limits as Christians. When our lives dredge into the valleys of despair, hopelessness, and grief, it is then that our priorities become properly aligned. Disaster strikes, but we are meant to remain sturdy and remain strong together as one, for our God is a God of order, and we as members of of the global Church remain equidistance from one another as separate missionaries in zeal, yet one community in love.
This community is the third secret symbol of the Rosary: That in each decade, the constant folding and stretching that keeps us from being separated from the flock provides us with a certain degree of personal freedom to explore our vocation. Yes, we’ll make mistakes, we’ll get “knotted up,” but the circle of life will always remain in tact for those who love the Lord. As such, we will always know that we can become disentangled if we work hard enough at examining the constant criss-cross of our will and God’s will. It is in this contemplation that we become centered on Christ who sends His spirit to guide us into order with Him.
The fourth secret symbol of the Rosary is the fact that the placement of each bead is always “out of reach,” yet still centered in God the Father. The ten beads of each decade remain as one unit that spirals around in infinity the ideal of our souls Who is Our Father. It is right that we constantly seek Him in endless circles to remind us of our humanness. The Apostles John tells us “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This is why the 10 decade beads we pray the Hail Mary because who better to accompany us to the mystery of the beatific vision than the Theotokos, the God-bearer herself, Mary.
The fifth symbol is the mystery of each decade. Mystery surrounds our faith because we can never be 100% sure. Our human surety is what keeps us from being God. This is a good thing. Because if we were God we would surely mess everything up. The weeds that we would grow in our fields of faith would overcome the fruits and vice would overcome our virtue. We need a pure sunshine in the perfect water from above in order to become who we truly are. As we grow this faith turns into a tree of sorts, a tree that was meant to bear much fruit.
And from this tree comes the sixth symbol of the rosary, with each and every branch that is broken, that is to say with every hardship that we experience, each branch and scraped away placed upon our shoulders as a cross, a cross that solidifies us in God‘s love through redemptive suffering. Of this cross, Our Lady stands mending the reeds together and weaving them together to form a spiritual rope, a rope that unites us with her love and out of her son Jesus, a rope that saves us from our own selfishness, a rope that when climbed leads us to everlasting life. That rope is the rosary, born from the seeds of our faith, nurtured by the grace of our God, and forged the love of Our Lady.
At first glance, the Rosary is nothing more than a knotted string, a child’s necklace, a jumbled set of jewelry whose value is only determined by the karat of the exquisite elements used to form its structure. but I vouch that even if it were made of solid diamonds, its monetary and physical values are far outweighed by its spiritual power. As I mentioned before, it is in the symbolism that one discovers that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this precious form of prayer.
The same should be said of all those who pray it faithfully.
You are the 7th symbol of the Rosary because through you that each of the mysteries are manifested. It is through you that Our Lord’s name is hallowed. It is through you that those most in need are given food to eat, water to drink, a shelter to protect. It is through you that His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is through you that His daily bread is given to those most in need. It is through your repentance that God forgives us of our trespasses because you were so willing to forgive the trespasses of others. It is through you that we wage spiritual warfare against the devil with our primary weapon being the Rosary so that those who we love might not be led into temptation, but delivered from evil.
It is through you, and through your faithful recitation of this seemingly inconsequential piece of jewelry, that the world will be saved.
If this article resonated with you, take the next step by joining Our Lady’s Army. Go to www.rosaryconsecration.com to join thousands of others as we consecrate our souls to Jesus through the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Simply enter your email address, and you’ll have access to a free online program that will guide you toward a deeper prayer life, a more profound relationship with Our Lady, and total consecration to her Son.