The word “Rosary” means a chain of roses and the roses are prayers. The Rosary Prayer tells us about the life of Jesus and his Mother, Mary. In the Church, the month of October is, by custom, the month of the Rosary but people do use this prayer all the year round.
There are four sets of “mysteries” or events from four periods of Jesus’s life.
First, there are the “Joyful Mysteries”. These are the events around the birth of Jesus. The five Joyful Mysteries are:
- the Annunciation;
- the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth;
- the birth of Jesus;
- the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple;
- the Finding of the boy Jesus
Next, there are the “Mysteries of Light”. These are events from the public ministry of Jesus. They are:
- the Baptism of Jesus;
- the Wedding Feast at Cana;
- the Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven;
- the Transfiguration;
- the Last Supper.
Then, there are the “Sorrowful Mysteries”. There are the events surround the death of Jesus. They are:
- the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane;
- the Scourging;
- the Crowning with Thorns;
- Jesus carries the Cross;
- the Crucifixion and death of Jesus.
Finally, there are the “Glorious Mysteries”. These are the events following the Resurrection of Jesus. They are:
- the Resurrection of Jesus;
- the Ascension of Jesus into heaven;
- the day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
- the Assumption of Mary into heaven;
- Mary as the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
As a prayer, it reminds us that we are never alone when we pray; when we pray we are always helped by the prayers of Our Lady and the saints in heaven as well as the prayers of all the members of the Church. It also teaches the words of the most important prayers.The Rosary Beads are used to help us; they count our prayers and tell us which prayer to say.
We being the Rosary Prayer with the Crucifix. We make the Sign of the Cross as we say:
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
And while still holding the Crucifix we say the Apostles’ Creed
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was 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 from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will 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.
Then there is a large bead. At each large bead we say the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed by 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;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Next there are three small beads. At each small bead we say the Hail Mary prayer:
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.
After these three Hail Mary prayers, we say the Glory be to the Father:
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.
Then there is a large bead. This indicates the First Mystery and one Our Father prayer.
Next on the Rosary beads there is a clasp; we shall come to this later. Most people move to the left and there are ten small beads for ten Hail Mary prayers and a Glory be. We move around the 5 decades of the Rosary in this way until we arrive at the clasp. At the clasp it is customary to say the following prayer
Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, 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 vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show to us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, Mother of God That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
The rosary is easy to use as a prayer. It can also be put into smaller sections which help us to get to know it.
So one week we could focus on the five Joyful Mysteries and each day, Monday to Friday, pray one decade each day. Then the following week we could focus on the Mysteries of Light, and so on.