It occurred to me the other day that the Apostles’ Creed is a synopsis — a summary — of the fifteen traditional mysteries of the Rosary. Meditating on that fact helps you integrate the Creed into the Rosary. It doesn’t seem like an arbitrary starting point for the prayers and mysteries that follow. Here’s how my thought came about:
The traditional Rosary consists of five Joyful Mysteries, five Sorrowful Mysteries, and five Glorious Mysteries. These mysteries focus on Our Lord’s Incarnation, Birth, Infancy and early life, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and events after the Resurrection. The Luminous Mysteries, which commemorate events in Our Lord’s Public Ministry, are not present.
You can very easily divide the articles of the Apostles’ Creed into three sections corresponding to the three sets of mysteries:
1.) Joyful Mysteries: Everything from “I believe in God the Father” to “born of the Virgin Mary.” The mysteries of the Annunciation (“conceived of the Holy Ghost”) and the Nativity (“born of the Virgin Mary”) are explicitly mentioned.
2.) Sorrowful Mysteries: Covers “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.” The scourging and crowning with thorns correspond to “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” The carrying of the cross and the death on the Cross correspond to “was crucified, died, and was buried.” The Agony in the Garden presaged the other events of the Passion.
Note that the Creed covers Our Lord’s Incarnation and Nativity, then skips ahead to the Passion. No articles in the Creed address events in Our Lord’s Public Ministry.
3.) Glorious Mysteries: Covers everything from “the third day He rose again from the dead” onward.’ Here’s how:
a.) Resurrection: “the third day He rose again from the dead.”
b.) Ascension: “He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
c.) Pentecost: “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church.” The Holy Ghost descended on Our Lady and the Apostles on Pentecost, which is the birthday of the Church.
d.) Assumption and Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth: “the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.” The mysteries of the Assumption and Coronation relate to Our Lady as the Queen of all saints, the Immaculata who was preserved from all stain of sin, who enjoyed a personal resurrection of her body in the Assumption, and who reigns forever in Heaven with her Son.