The Rosary

One of the “Sacramentals” Catholic use to help themselves to understand and communicate with Jesus is the Rosary.  Many non-Catholics have a problem of one sort or another with the Rosary, but I am betting it is because they are not sure what is happening when they see the Rosary, and they think we are “Idol Worshiping”.  This could not be further from the truth though!

So, what is the Rosary?  First let me describe the “beads” and how they are “put together”.  The “standard” Rosary will start with a Crucifix of some sort and have a short “space” before having one bead, followed by a space, followed by three beads in close secession, followed by a space and a single bead.  After the single bead is a space, and then a “splitter” of some sort.  This splitter is often a medal, brief of a Saint, or other special, to the creator (and presumably the buyer), item.  From here we have a space followed by ten beads close together.  This is “one Decade” of Beads, counting the last solo bead before the “splitter” (my word, not the official word for this piece!).  After the tenth bead, there is a space, then a load bead/space/ten beads.  This goes on until there are five “Decades” which terminates at the “splitter” again.

Ok, that is the Rosary Beads themselves.

Now, let me explain what the Rosary is all about.  The Rosary consist of 4 “Mysteries of Christ Jesus’ Life”.  They are:

  • Glorious (Sunday and Wednesday (more on this in a bit))
  • Joyful (Monday and Saturday (and Sunday during Christmas Season))
  • Sorrowful (Tuesday, Friday (and Sundays during Lent))
  • Luminous (Thursdays)

On Sundays and Wednesdays we focus on the Glorious Mysteries, which are:

  • The Resurrection
  • The Ascension
  • The Descent of the Holy Spirit
  • The Assumption
  • The Coronation

The Joyful Mysteries are focused on on Mondays and Saturdays, and they are:

  • The Annunciation
  • The Visitation
  • The Nativity
  • The Presentation
  • The Finding of  Jesus in the Temple

On Tuesdays, Fridays and during the Lenten Season on Sundays as well, we focus on:

  • The Agony in the Garden
  • The Scourging at the Pillar
  • The Crowning with the Thorns
  • The Carrying of the Cross
  • The Crucifixion

And lastly on Thursday we focus on the Luminous Mysteries (these have been added to the prayers within the last 30ish years, and some do not use these Mysteries):

  • The Baptism of the Lord
  • The Wedding of Cana
  • The Proclamation of the Kingdom
  • The Transfiguration
  • The Institution of the Eucharist

Ok, you have all that, but you are probably still wondering what that all means, and how it comes together right?

  1. Starting at the Rosary we begin by giving ourselves a blessing in the form of crossing ourselves and saying “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” while holding the Crucifix in the dominate hand.
  2. Staying on the Crucifix, we then say the Apostles Creed.
  3. Moving to the first “solo” bead we then say the Lords Prayer.
  4. We then say, once for each of the three close beads, 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. (Here we have some people get upset, because we say “Mother of God”.  If you believe in the Trinity, and that Jesus is God personified, and you believe that Mary was His mother on Earth, does that not by “default” make her the Mother of God?  The rest of the text, including “Mother of My Lord (God)” is in the Bible.)
  5. After the three Hail Mary’s we say on the space before the solo bead two short prayers:  “Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.”  And “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have the most need of thy mercy.
  6. Now, moving to the first solo bead we “announce” the first Mystery (and for my example today we will be using the Glorious Mysteries” by saying ‘”The First Glorious Mystery” The Resurrection’ then say the Our Father.
  7. At this point, until we get to the next mystery we are to contemplate that  mystery, in this case the Resurrection of Christ Jesus.  What I do, as do many others is announce an event in that time of Jesus’ life, and here I say “The Body of Jesus is placed in the Tomb on the evening of Good Friday”.  Then say the Hail Mary (as above).
  8. I then move to the next of ten beads and say “His soul descends into the realm of the dead to announce to the Just the tidings of their redemption.” followed by the Hail Mary.
  9. This goes on for the remainder of the ten beads, and the Glory Be and O my Jesus.
  10. We then move to the next solo bead and Announce the Second Mystery and follow the same course through the remaining of five Mysteries.
  11. After the last Mystery and O My Jesus we ask our Mother Mary to intercede on our behalf by saying:  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, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.  Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worth of the promises of Christ.  Let us pray.  O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech they, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

So, the Rosary is a “sacramental” that is used to bring to our mind, each day, the life of Christ, and to ask for the intercessory prayers of Mary, Jesus’ Mother, in obtaining the Life of Christ in our life.  As in all request for Intercessory Prayer, we end our prayer with a direct request to God Himself, in support of our request through Mary, our intercessor.  And the beads are just a means of keep track of where you are in the meditation/prayer!

This process, without the sentences I add between each Hail Mary during the “Decades”, takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and with the added “forced thoughts via verbalization of the added sentences” adds about 10 to 15 minutes to the meditation/prayer.

I hope this helps you understand the Rosary better!

Related Posts

  • 21
    In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for Worship (or to bow down) was hishtakhavah.  In each occasion of the use of this word (Gen 22:5 is the first use) worship consisted of a sacrifice (or in some rarer cases bowing down).  In the New Testament Greek was used, but…
    Tags: eucharist, god, jesus, christ, prayers, amen, catholic, holy, resurrection, pray
  • 19
    Many non Catholic Christians do not believe that the Communion elements, and in actuality many Catholics don't either, are the Body and Blood of Christ in truth, but are just a symbol.  Let's start talking about that. First, in Genesis 14:18 we have the bread and wine offered by the…
    Tags: jesus, eucharist, life, christ, catholic, god, holy
  • 16
    One of the issues I had early on in life and most Protestants still have is the perceived way the Catholics deal with Saints.  Early on, this was a factor for me that kept me away from the Catholic Church and from looking at it seriously.  I felt that instead…
    Tags: life, catholic, christ, god, prayer, pray, jesus
  • 14
    Over the last few years I have heard complaints of people calling Catholic Ministers Priest and Father.  To be honest, before I came to understand the reasoning for calling a Catholic Minister Father, I had a problem with that title myself.  After extensive research into this, I am more than…
    Tags: father, jesus, god, catholic, christ, mother
  • 14
    As we come fully into Lent, I would like to remind everyone to pray often!  One of the best sacrifices you can do is to give up some of your play time to prayer time!  Bi-directional conversation with God, through prayer and reading the Bible (and listening to God's Words…
    Tags: prayer, god, christ, pray, jesus, lord

New Beginnings

While in Maryland, before moving to Florida, I looked over all the religions and faith systems that I had looked at before.  Nothing felt right.  The closest to right was the ways I was currently following, that of the Native Americans.

A good job came up that took me down to Florida, and I pretty much dropped the quest if favor of work, but in the course of work, I ran into a lady that captured my attention because of her faith.  She lived on the west side of Florida, and I lived on the east side of Florida.  We talked long and often about her beliefs.  We spent hours on the phone, often late into the night, talking about Catholicism.  This drew me even closer to the idea of looking deeper into the Catholic Church.

I dropped my younger brother a line, but never heard back from him.

I went to 5 or 6 Catholic Churches in the Fort Lauderdale area, and pretty much got a cold shoulder as the RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation for Adults) program had just started a couple of months earlier, and no one was wanting to accept new Candidates.  It almost chased me away.

I finally made an appointment with Father Francis at St. Henry Catholic Church for after Mass one week day, and went to Mass to listen to him before we talked.  After Mass was over, he vanished and I never saw him the rest of that morning.  I hung around for about 30 minutes, and the Receptionist saw me sitting in the Church when she came to lock it up and asked if she could help me.  I informed her I was there to meet the Priest for an appointment, and she informed me that he had not put it in the calendar, and had been called away for a very sick person, could she schedule me for the next day?

I said yes, but in my mind I thought, “Hmmm, bet that he just forgot and is back in his office.”  (I later found out he had in fact been called to the Hospital.)  We schedule me to meet with him the next day after Mass.

So the next day I went to Mass again, and after the Mass, we went into his office and talked.  During that meeting he informed me that his Church was a smaller Church with an older community, and that they did not do RCIA there, that I should go talk to the Priest at St. Elizabeth’s in Pompano Beach (just up the road).  I told him that I had, but that their classes were already in session by a few months (it was only a couple months from Easter) and they felt it was too late to join.  We ended on that note.

I went home kinda discouraged about Catholicism and figured my search was still on…  And I prayed to God asking where I should be.

A few days later I received a call from Father Francis, and missed it, so he left a message:  “Dr. Bell, If you have not found a Church that will accept you as a Candidate, please come by the offices here, and we will talk again.”  I called back and left a message asking when I should stop by, late that evening after I listened to the message.  About 10 minutes later I received a call back from him and he said come in the next day after Mass.

I went into Mass the next day, and then we meet in his office again.  We talked a bit about general topics then he asked how my search for RCIA was going. I told him not so well.  He then told me that he would teach me what I needed to know but that he felt I needed to be with other Adults learning as well, so he would insure that I would be accepted into the next years RCIA class, and then he picked up a book and handed it to me.  He got up and told me to follow him, in which he lead me to an office across from his.

He said, “Read this, tell me what you think when you are done.  No questions till you have finished it.  This is your office, come as you want to use it.”

I ended up using that office 5 and 6 days a week for over a year, reading books he recommended and books I found on my own dealing with the Philosophy, Theology, and the Doctrine of the Catholic Church.  We had MANY GREAT conversations about God, faith, and the Catholic Church.

I purchased my first Rosary a few weeks later and began saying the Rosary daily.  A few months after that, I purchased the 4th volume of the Liturgy of the Hours (a 4 volume set that changes based on the time of the year, and we were currently on the 4th volume) and started doing the Liturgy of the Hours seven times a day.

One day I decided to find a case for my Rosary as it kept breaking in my pockets and getting tangled up in things, and I found a Catholic store that carried them locally.

I walked in and looked around.  I ended up talking in length with the proprietor who was a Brother in an Order who’s habit was EXACTLY like my dreams years earlier!  (Yes, I bought a case and some other items that day!)

To be continued…

Related Posts

  • 30
    During my RCIA studies, I was also involved in a Catholic Scripture Studies program at St. Elizabeth's that was very enlightening and educative on one Book in the Bible at a time.  This program, we did the Book of Matthew, was outstanding and helped me to better study the Bible.…
    Tags: learn, rcia, book, st, catholic, church, god, faith, couple, day
  • 23
    Well, for the past month and a half, I have been a bit slack on my spiritual life.  I haven't really been reading much in the way of theology or within my faith (although I have done some "recreational" reading), and I have missed more of my prayer hours that…
    Tags: will, mass, hours, church, office, schedule, theology, well, faith, started
  • 23
    During the year 2008, our supervising Bishop retired due to health, and shortly after that, our Superior General left the Order for some reason.  In the process, the newly selected Superior General moved the Order to Ft. Lauderdale Florida.  A few months later, he petitioned the Archbishop of Miami, our…
    Tags: order, church, months, will, catholic, told, francis, faith, lauderdale, god
  • 22
    Hello Folks! So, I am back!!  It has been a fast and busy eight months since this board was up and since I was active on the blog.  The reason for this is adjusting to my new life and getting things in order.  I think I am there now. I…
    Tags: day, months, theology, books, started, week, brother, will, catholic, order
  • 20
    Yep, more changes in my life! I am in the first stages of moving fully into the life of a Diocesan Hermit.  By that I mean, I am living the Rule of life, but must live it for six month to two years under Private Vows at which time, if…
    Tags: church, will, day, catholic, work, mass, brother, days, well, priest