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But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness,

godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. ~ 1 Timothy 6:11

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Rosary

The rosary a great prayer made of a collection of smaller prayers.  The rosary can be prayed on rosary beads like the ones shown below.

This is what you say when praying the rosary:
  • Start by making the sign of the cross
  • On the cross (1) say the Apostle's Creed
  • Then, on the next bead (2) say one Our Father
  • On the next three beads (3) say one Hail Mary on each bead
  • Then, on the next bead (4) say one Glory Be
  • Now we start a decade on the next bead (5) by saying one Our Father
  • On the next ten beads (6) say one Hail Mary for each bead
  • And on the next bead (7) say one Glory Be to finish the first decade
  • Use the same bead (7) to start the next decade by saying one Our Father
  • Continue as you did for the first decade all the way around the rosary (five decades)
  • Afteive decades you should be back at the beginning bead (5)
  • Say one Hail Holy Queen
  • And one Rosary Concluding Prayer 
  • Finish by making the sign of the cross

Praying the Rosary

There is no wrong way to pray a rosary. Some people like to focus on the words of the prayers they are saying.

Personally, I like to meditate on the mysteries of Christ. There are four sets of mysteries.  Each set contains five mysteries to correspond to the five decades of the rosary.  The four sets of mysteries are:
(If you go to the links above, you will see that each mystery has 10 "thoughts" associated with it that can be meditated upon while saying the 10 Hail Mary prayers in each decade.  These are not required, but are a nice addition.)

The mysteries are said on a schedule according to the day of the week.  The schedule is:
  • Sunday: Glorious
  • Monday: Joyful
  • Tuesday: Sorrowful
  • Wednesday: Glorious
  • Thursday: Luminous
  • Friday: Sorrowful
  • Saturday: Joyful

The Origins of the Rosary

The origins of the Rosary are not confirmed, but it is believed the practice started around 800 AD in the efforts of lay people to imitate the practices of local monks.  

The monks were widely respected for being holy and sang all 150 Psalms each day.  The lay people wanted to imitate the practice, but most of them could not read and the Psalms were too long to memorize.  So the lay people began saying the Our Father 150 times.  

In order to avoid losing count, the lay people filled a leather pouch with 150 small stones and would throw one out each time they completed an Our Father.  

Eventually, a knotted rope with 150 knots replaced the bag of stones as it was much easier to carry around. Soon, the rope was simplified to 50 knots, to be repeated 3 times a day.  

When the monks began travelling and evangelizing, they took the practice of praying on these knots with them.  Soon, praying on knotted ropes was a common practice although the prayers said were not uniform.

Eventually, the prayers were recorded in three sets of five mysteries.  The initial three mysteries were the Glorious, Joyful, and Sorrowful.  Each mystery corresponded to one set of ten Hail Mary prayers, or one decade.  Thus, saying all three sets of mysteries resulted in 150 prayers!

Later, in 2002, Pope John Paul II added a fourth set of mysteries focusing on the public life of Christ, the Luminous mysteries.

Keep Pursuing

Additional Resources

This wonderful site is the most concise and ordered explanation of the rosary I have found:
It is the resource I used when learning the mysteries.

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