The Rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to initate the monastic prayers (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), during the course of which the monks prayed daily the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50, or even 150, Ave Marias (Hail Mary's) for the Psalms.
(Some of us remember the Sisters who had the 150-bead Rosary on their belts.) This prayer, at least the first half of it so directly biblically, seems to date from as early as the 2nd Century, as ancient graffiti at Christian sites has suggested. Sometimes a cord with knots on it was used to keep an accurate count of the Aves, The Hail Marys. The first clear historical reference of the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (died in 1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of rosary in France at the time that the heresy was devastating the Faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin.
One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the Rosary. The Form of the Rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the Saints and Popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, its most active promoters have been the Dominican friars.
Rosary, means a Crown of Roses a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometmes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it form other rosary-like prayers (e.g. the Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys or Franciscan Crown, the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads". This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).
The Rosary has been called the preparation for contemplation and the prayer of saints. While the hands and lips are occupied with the prayers (it can and should be prayed silently when necessary so as not to disturb others), the mind meditates on the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption representated by the decades. Meditation is the form of prayer by which the one who prays uses the mind and imagination to consider a truth and uses the will to love it and form resolutions to live it. In this way the heart, mind, and soul of the Christian is formed according to the Gospel examples of the Savior and His First Disciple, His Mother. In God's own time. when this purification of the heart, mind, and soul has advanced sufficiently the Lord may give the grace of comtemplative prayer, that special divine insight into the truth which human effort cannot achieve on its own.
Why Pray The Rosary Today?
Certainly, to grow in holiness and in one's prayer life. The following are a few other reasons why the Rosary should be prayed often, even daily:
--"Among all devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary" (Pope Pius IX).
--"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world" (Our Lady of Fatima). "There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the Family...than the daily recitation of the Rosary" (Pope Pius XII).
--"We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times" (Pope Pius XII)
--"No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary" (Bishop Hugh Doyle).
--"The Rosary is a magnificant and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world" (Pope John XXIII).
--"The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel" (Pope Paul VI quoting Pope Pius XII).
--"Meditation on the mysteries of the rosary ...can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions (i.e. the Mass) and can also become a continuing echo thereof" (Pope Paul VI).
--"My impression is that the Rosary is one of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. "My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray this simple method of getting closer to God" (Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima).
--"How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening" (Pope John Paul II). Pope John Paul II has called the Rosary his "favorite prayer," after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. St. Louis De Montfort warns us against both the ignorannt and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance..."the rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God."
Our Lady of The Rosary Prayers
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, in these times of such brazen impiety, show your power with the signs of your former victories. Look with mercy on the Church of your Son, on His Vicar on earth, and on all the clergy and laity, who are sorely oppressed in this mighty conflict. Powerful vanquisher of all heresies, hasten the hour of mecy even though the hour of God's justice is every day provoked by the countless sins of men. As I kneel before you in prayer, obtain for me my requests (mention your intentions). Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
O, Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you. You will be our comfort in the hour of death: yours our final kiss as life ebbs away. And the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii, O dearest Mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in Heaven. Amen
--Blessed Bartolo Longo
Some of The Promises Our Lady Made to Christians who faithfully pray the Rosary
1. To all those who shall pray my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and great graces. 2. Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my rosary will receive some special grace. 3. The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell: it wil l destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy. 4. The Rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means. 5. Those who trust themselves to me through the rosary will not perish. 6. Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly reflecting on the Mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God nor will he perish by an unprovided death. The sinner will be converted; the just will preservere in grace and merit eternal life. 7. Those truly devoted to the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church. 8. Those who are faithfull to recite my Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces and will share in the merits of the blessed. 9. I will deliver promptly from purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary. 10. True children of my Rosary will enjoy great glory in Heaven. 11. What you shall ask through my Rosary you shall obtain. 12. To those who propagate my Rosary I promise aid in all their necessities. 13. I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court. 14. Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. 15. Devotion to my Rosary is a special sign of predestination.
How To Say The Rosary
1. Make the sign of the Cross holding the Cross then say the Apostles Creed
2. Say the Our Father
3. Say three Hail Mary's
4. Say the Glory Be to the Father
5. Announce or say to yourself the First Mystery, then say the Our Father
6. Say 10 hail Mary's while mediating on on the mystery
7. Say the Glory be to the Father
8. Announce the Second Mystery; then say the Our Father.
Repeat steps 6 and 7 and continue with Third, Fourth and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner.
After the rosary: Hail Holy Queen, Mother if Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us , and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy 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 Thee, that while 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.
After each decade say the following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy."
As suggested by Pope John Paul II the Joyful mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday, the Luminous onThursday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, and the Glorious of Wednesday and Sunday (with the exception: Sundays of Christmas season-the Joyful; Sundays of Lent-the Sorrowful).
THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES
1. The Annunciation-For the love of humility
2. The Visitation-For charity toward my neighbor
3. The Nativity-For the love of God
4. The Presentation-For a spirit of Sacrifice
5. Finding in the Temple-For zeal for the glory of God
The Joyful Mysteries are said on Mondays and Saturdays, the Sundays of Advent, and Sundays from Epiphany until Lent.
THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES
1. Agony in the Garden-For true repentence of my sins
2. Scourging at the Pillar-For a spirit of mortification
3. Crowning of Thorns-For moral courage
4. Carring the Cross-For the virtue of patience
5. The Crucifixion-For the grace of final preseverance
The Sorrowful Mysteries are said on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the year; and daily from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.
THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES
1. The Resurrection-For a strong faith
2. The Ascension-For the virtue of Hope
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit-For zeal of the glory of God
4. The Assumption-For the grace of a happy death
5. The Coronation of the BVM-For a greater love of Mary
The Glorious Mysteries are said on Wednesdays, and the Sundays from easter until Advent.
THE LUMINOUS MYSTERIES
Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Baptism of Jesus-For living my Baptismal Promises
2. The Miracle at Cana-For doing whatever Jesus says
3. Proclamation of the Kingdom-For seeking God's forgiveness
4. The Transfiguration-For becoming a new person in Christ
5. Institution of the Eucharist-For active participation at Mass
The Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light are said on Thursdays.