The term Rosary means a crown of roses. Our Blessed Mother Mary revealed to several people, that each time they recite a Hail Mary they give her a beautiful rose. Each complete Rosary however makes a crown of roses.
The Rosary is attributed to Saint Dominic after Our Mother Mary appeared to him in early 13th century and urged him to use her Psalter together with preaching the mysteries of our salvation in order to succeed in combating the Albigensian heresy.
The main purpose of the Rosary is to help us remember certain key events in the history of our salvation. In the Rosary we reflect upon twenty mysteries. They are divided into; the five Joyful Mysteries (Mondays and Saturdays). Five Luminous Mysteries (Thursdays). Five Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesdays and Friday). Five Glorious Mysteries (Wednesday and Sunday).
As an exception, the Joyful mysteries are usually recited on Sunday during Christmas. While the Sorrowful Mysteries on the Sunday of Lent. The Rosary is a scripture-based prayer. The repetition of the Rosary is meant to lead to a restful and contemplative prayer related to each mysteries.
How to Pray the Rosary
1. On the crucifix, make the sign of the cross and then pray the Apostles’ Creed
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate. Was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; on the third day He rose again; He ascended into Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.”
2. On the next large bead, say the Our Father
“Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.”
3. On the following three small beads, pray three Hail Marys
“Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with You. Blessed are You among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
4. On the chain, pray the Glory Be
“Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
5. On the large bead, meditate on the first mystery and pray the Our Father
You pray mysteries for each of the five sections (decades) of the rosary according to the day of the week:
Mondays and Saturdays: The Joyful Mysteries
The Joyful Mysteries remind the faithful of Christ’s birth:
- The Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38);
- The Visitation (Luke 1:39–56);
- The Nativity (Luke 2:1–21);
- The Presentation (Luke 2:22–38);
- The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52)
Tuesdays and Fridays: The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Sorrowful Mysteries recall Jesus’ passion and death:
- The Agony of Jesus in the Garden (Matthew 26:36–56);
- The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26);
- The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27–31);
- The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:32);
- The Crucifixion and Death (Matthew 27:33–56).
Wednesdays and Sundays: The Glorious Mysteries
The Glorious Mysteries focus on the resurrection of Jesus and the glories of heaven:
- The Resurrection (John 20:1–29);
- The Ascension (Luke 24:36–53);
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–41);
- The Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God, into heaven;
- The Coronation of Mary in heaven.
Thursdays: The Mysteries of Light (the Luminous Mysteries)
Pope John Paul II added The Mysteries of Light, also known as the Luminous Mysteries, in 2002:
- The Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13–16);
- The Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1–11);
- The Preaching of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14–15);
- The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–8);
- The Institution of the Holy Eucharist (Matthew 26).
6. Skip the centerpiece medallion, and on the ten beads after that, pray a Hail Mary on each bead; on the chain, pray a Glory Be.
Even though a decade is ten, these twelve prayers form a decade of the Rosary.
Many Catholics add the Fatima Prayer after the Glory Be and before the next Our Father:
“O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.”
7. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 four more times to finish the next four decades.
8. At the end of your Rosary, say the Hail Holy Queen.
“Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To You do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to You do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, Your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of Your womb Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation; grant we beseech You, that meditating upon these mysteries of the holiest Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.“
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