In Catholic tradition, October is the rosary month. In keeping with this tradition, I offer two separate takes on a queer rosary, for LGBT Catholics. Here’s the first:
Taking his lead from Pope John Paul II, who added to the traditional rosary the “Mysteries of Light”, Stephen Lovatt has developed a set of five meditations for a rosary specifically for gay men:
- The healing of the Centurion’s Boy.
- The answering of the Rich Young Ruler.
- The raising from the dead of Lazarus.
- The Last Supper.
- The Kiss of Judas.
Bookended by two entirely traditional Catholic prayers, to St Michael the Archangel and the “Hail Holy Queen”, each part of this rosary meditation is accompanied by a suitable picture, as well as words form meditation.
As a taster, here are his notes for the opening meditation, the healing of the centurion’s “boy”:
The Healing of the Centurion’s boy [Mat 8: 5-13; Lk 7:1-10; Jn 4:46-54]
How much the officer loved his young batman. Now, the youth was near death and he was desperate. Perhaps the wonder working Rabbi would help?
But why should a Pharisee condescend to help a gentile and an officer of the Roman Occupation at that? Why should he heal a pagan catamite?
Still, the centurion would do anything for his boy, even if it risked humiliation at the hands of a Jew. Moreover, the Rabbi had a reputation for compassion as well as for miracles.
The God of Israel was just and kind and could not refuse a request made for the sake of love. The Centurion plucked up his courage and decided that he would ask in confidence! “Lord, my boy is paralysed, in terrible distress.”
Touched by the officer’s appeal, Jesus said: “Don’t be upset any more, everything will be all right. I will come and cure him.”
The Centurion, knowing his ritual impurity protested: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but say only the word and my boy will be healed.”
And the Master said: “Truly, I have never met faith like this in the whole of respectable Israel. Go, your boy is healed.”
Now, the prayer of the Centurion is at the heart of the Roman Mass: the prayer of a gay man, whom Jesus commended as having more faith than any other He had met!
Jesus reaches out to the despised and unlovely, the hated and feared: because God loves all that He has made. His arms are open to heal all kinds of his creatures and gather them to His Sacred Heart.
Let us have faith that there is no unlovely part of our lives that His grace cannot touch and sanitize. . Let us only ask in confidence, knowing that He inspires, hears and answers all our prayers.
Lovatt’s interpretation is particularly appropriate for gay men rather than lesbians, but he is not the only one to have developed a rosary for our community. Another version, developed by the Metropolitan Community Church Berkeley, is suitable for both women and men. Eugene McMullan, a Catholic who was teaching a course with the MCC Berkeley, developed a set of “Relational Mysteries” which caused an uproar among conservative Catholic groups when they were described as “Queering the Rosary”. Since then, he has added Prophetic and Incarnational Mysteries, to form what he calls a Peace and Justice rosary. In a comment to my original post on the relational mysteries, McMullen described how he came to develop these, and included a useful link which I included in an update to my original post – but that link is now broken. However, Dignity San Francisco has combined all three of these Justice and Peace mysteries of the rosary with the traditional three (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious) and the Luminous Mysteries, making a full complement of seven, for the seven days of the week:
SUNDAY: The Glorious Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Resurrection 2. The Ascension 3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit 4. The Assumption 5. The Coronation of Mary 6. The Wolf Lies Down with the Lamb (Isaiah 11:6) 7. Love Reigns
MONDAY: The Relational Mysteries
1. Ruth’s Pledge to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18) 2. The Parting of David and Jonathan (I Samuel 20:35-42) 3. Esther Intercedes for Her People (Esther 4:9-5:2) 4. The Raising of Lazarus (John 11:38-44) 5. The Two Encounter Christ on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) 6. The Beloved Community Shares All Things in Common (Acts 2:44-45) 7. Love Reigns
TUESDAY: The Prophetic Mysteries
1. The Spirit Moves on the Face of the Deep (Genesis 1:2) 2. The Angel Appears to Hagar (Genesis 16:7-12) 3. The Parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22) 4. Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) 5. Jesus’ Action in the Temple (Mark 11:15-17) 6. A New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation 21:1) 7. Love Reigns
WEDNESDAY: The Joyful Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Annunciation 2. The Visitation 3. The Nativity 4. The Presentation 5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple 6. Jesus Becomes a Man (Luke 2:52) 7. Love Reigns
THURSDAY: The Luminous Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan 2. The Wedding Feast at Cana 3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom 4. The Transfiguration 5. The Institution of the Eucharist 6. The Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) 7. Love Reigns
FRIDAY: The Sorrowful Mysteries (1-5 traditional)
1. The Agony in the Garden 2. Jesus Is Scourged 3. Jesus Is Crowned with Thorns 4. Jesus Carries His Cross 5. Jesus Is Crucified 6. Mary Magdalene Weeps in the Garden (John 20:11-18) 7. Love Reigns
SATURDAY: The Incarnation Mysteries
1. God Breathes Life into Adam (Genesis 2:7) 2. Moses’ Mother Gives Nurse (Exodus 2:7-9) 3. The Bride Opens to Her Beloved (Song of Songs 5:6) 4. The Word Becomes Flesh (John 1:14) 5. Jesus Feeds the Multitude (Mark 6:30-44) 6. Thomas Touches Jesus’ Side (John 20:24-29) 7. Love Reigns
The Relational Mysteries:
Fidelity—Ruth’s pledge to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18);
Grief—The parting of David and Jonathan (I Sam 20:35-42);
Intercession—Esther intercedes for her people (Est 4:9-5:2);
Restoration—the raising of Lazarus (John 11:38-44); and
Discipleship—the two encounter Christ on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
The Rosary for October: Subversive, Queer.
Therese of Lisieux: An Ally in Our Gay Great War.
Gay Passion of Christ Series (Jesus in Love blog)