In 2002 Pope John Paul II announced five new mysteries to the rosary, called the Luminous Mysteries. They were introduced in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae. Before the addition of these mysteries, there were 15 mysteries ― five Joyous, five Sorrowful and five Glorious ― known as the whole Rosary. The Hail Marys in these 15 mysteries along with the three preliminary Hail Marys, would number153, if you continue reciting the 15 mysteries, one after another. (It should be noted that a third of the whole rosary is also called a Rosary.)
Praying the Rosary was part of the message of Fatima of 1917. It's interesting to realize that the span of time covered by Mary's appearances at Fatima, from May 13th to October 13th, adds up to153 as well―153 days. You may do the addition of the days yourself: May (18); June (30); July (31); August (31); September (30); and October (13).
There is something else about that figure of 153 that could be associated with the rosary. The number 153 is found in Scripture, in John 21:4-13. It's the number of fish caught at the direction of Christ and hauled ashore in a net. So what might 153 fish have to do with the Rosary?
Consider this footnote in the Gospel of John, found in a Spanish language Bible, La Nueva Biblia - Latinoamerica, Juan 21: Los apostoles arrastran en sus redes 153 peces grandes: Ahora bien, en ese tiempo el numero conocido de las naciones del universo era 153; de moda que la pesca milagrosa representa la accion de la iglesia. Los Pastores de la iglesia llevaran en sus redes hacia Cristo a todas las naciones de la tierra.
(The apostles dragged in their nets153 big fish. Now then, at that time the number of known nations in the world was 153. This way the miracle of the fish represents the action of the church. The shepherds of the church carried in their nets toward Christ all the nations of the earth).
At Fatima the Blessed Virgin Mary asked
that the Rosary be prayed for peace in the world. Jesus told Peter in
Matt. 4:19, "I will make you fishers of
men." In John
21:9-10 when they came ashore, they saw a fish
laid on the coals. Jesus said to His disciples: "Bring hither of the
fishes which you have now caught." The fish was not only a symbol for Christ,
but it represented his followers as well. It could just as well
represent the nations Christianized. Jesus would want the whole world
to come unto Him.
Is there a linkage of the 153 Hail Marys, the 153 days of Fatima and the 153 fish? I believe all three can be associated together. The Rosary's meant for meditation and we can "set out into the deep," cast our net into the depths, contemplate the mysteries, and hope to come up with something more Christlike—and pray to internalize it in our lives and the lives of others in the world.
If you want to use your imagination,
think of the Rosary beads being like floats on a net. Visualize the
loop of beads being drawn across the surface of the water, and down in the
water, the net to catch the minds and hearts of men, which drawn forth,
bring a better world to the earthly shore.
Copyright © 2005 - John Riedell - All