The Rosary as an Instrument of Forgiveness

How do you find forgiveness? Father Matthew Spencer OSJ, host of Saint Joseph’s Workshop on Relevant Radio®, shared a practice that helps him to overcome frustration or anger when someone has wronged him. When something is weighing heavily on his mind, he often turns to the Holy Rosary to bring himself back to a place of peace and forgiveness.

“I just realized it as I was praying the Rosary thinking, I do this a lot where I bring to the Rosary the particular suffering, difficulty, the challenge that I’m going through. And I pray the Rosary—yes, meditating on the life of Jesus, but also trying to process some difficult experience in my life. To me, this is a really beautiful part of how we pray the Rosary,” explained Fr. Matthew.

When you’re struggling with forgiveness, letting things go, or being the victim of an injustice, Fr. Matthew hopes that this idea will help you to move through the difficulty and find a way forward. “I’m thinking of those times when you’ve been very deeply hurt by another person, how do you address that especially when it’s really hard to move forward?”

There’s a lot to be gained by praying the Holy Rosary. “I definitely think the Sorrowful Mysteries are the best ones to pray when we’re trying to learn forgiveness … because all of the Sorrowful Mysteries are a tool for us to reflect on the life of Jesus who was so wronged. I mean the greatest injustice of all time—literally—perpetrated against God himself in the person of Jesus. And you and I can meditate on these experiences that Jesus went through and then learn to see our own sufferings and struggled in light of that,” said Fr. Matthew.

First Sorrowful Mystery: Agony in the Garden
Reflect on our suffering and the suffering of others. Then, offer it up.

Second Sorrowful Mystery: Scourging at the Pillar
Reflect on Jesus’ suffering. “We don’t blow it out of proportion and says, ‘Why me? Why am I the only one that suffers? Why am I the only one that has to go through these things?’ You’re not. Jesus himself went through it and every follower of his since has gone through trial and difficulty, and therefore you and I also must go through difficulty at different points in our life.”

Third Sorrowful Mystery: Crowning with Thorns
We must allow our suffering to teach us humility, just as Jesus taught us humility when he allowed himself to be mocked and crowned with thorns. “There’s an opportunity for me to be humbled, not to cry out to the heavens for justice, necessarily, and demand vengeance upon those who have hurt us,” said Fr. Matthew.

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Carrying of the Cross
Like our Savior, we must bear our burdens patiently. “Maybe like me, sometimes you just want all … offenses to be fixed in your own time frame. … But I think Jesus’ patient march to Calvary reminds us that we must also very carefully, very patiently bear injustice against us,” explains Fr. Matthew.

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion
It’s the ultimate moment of forgiveness, says Fr. Matthew. “It’s the greatest injustice of all time—God himself dying on the cross—and yet, it leads to our forgiveness.” When we’re searching for a way to forgive, this is the moment to reflect upon: “being at the foot of the cross and recognizing that Jesus himself did it first. Jesus himself forgave you.”

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