The Rosary

 

 

One of the most uniquely Catholic practices is praying the Rosary. Let’s talk about what this is.

The Rosary comes to us from St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican order. He received a vision of the Virgin Mary with rosary beads in her hand, which inspired the prayer.  She also gave him the following promises for everyone who prays the rosary.

1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.

3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.

4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal Things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.

6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.

7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.

8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.

9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.

10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.

11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.

12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.

14. All who recite the Rosary are my Sons, and brothers of my Only Son Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

Those promises are the reason I pray the rosary.  I like the idea of the Virgin Mary calling me her son, as stated in #14. I feel that if she was Jesus’s mother, that means she was an especially good mother–look how well her son turned out!

The Rosary is prayed like this. First , you make the sign of the cross and kiss the Crucifix.  While holding the Crucifix, you recite the Apostle’s Creed. Then you say the Our Father while holding the first bead. On the next three beads, you recite the Hail Mary once per bead. After that, you say the Glory Be.

The heart of the Rosary comes next.  There are four sets of mysteries, events that occurred during Jesus’s ministry and in Mary’s life.  While praying the rosary, you meditate on these events. It is suggested that you use a specific set for a certain day of the week. The Joyful Mysteries are said on Mondays and Saturdays, and on Sundays in Advent.  The Sorrowful Mysteries are said on Tuesdays and Fridays, and on Sundays in Lent.  Glorious Mysteries are said on Wednesdays and Sundays. Finally, the Luminous Mysteries are said on Thursdays.

The Joyful Mysteries are:

1. The Annuciation of Jesus.

2. The Visitation to Elizabeth.

3. The Nativity.

4. The Presentation of Jesus.

5. Finding Jesus in the temple.

The Sorrowful Mysteries are:

1. The Agony in the Garden.

2. The Scourging at the Pillar.

3. Crowning of Thorns.

4.Carrying the Cross.

5.The Crucifixion.

The Glorious Mysteries are:

1.The Resurrection.

2.Ascension.

3.Descent of the Holy Spirit.

4.Assumption of the Holy Spirit.

5.Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven.

The Luminous Mysteries are:

1.Baptism of Jesus.

2.Wedding at Canaan

3.Sermon on the Mount.

4.Transfiguration.

5.The Last Supper.

Each bead is grouped into five groups called decades. You start a decade by saying the Our Father, and then you meditate on each of the mysteries in order as you say one Hail Mary per bead for the next ten. Then you say the Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy. This is repeated for each subsequent decade.

When you finish that step, you hold the medallion and recite the Hail Holy Queen. Then you say the closing prayer:

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 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.

That’s it.  The whole process should take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

 

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Saint of the Month: Virgin Mary

Birth/Death: Unknown

Feast: January 1

Patron Of: US (Immaculate Conception), France (Our Lady of Assumption), Portugal (Our Lady of Fatima), Argentina (Our Lady of Lugan), Australia (Our Lady Help of Christians), Brazil (Immaculate Conception), Chile (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel), Corsica (Immaculate Conception), Dominican Republic (Our Lady of High Grace), Mexico (Our Lady of Guadalupe), Paraguay, Phillipines, Slovokia, and South Africa.

Info: The Virgin Mary is probably one of the most celebrated women in the Bible. According to tradition, her parents were named Joachim and Anne.

It is believed that Mary was probably 15 years when Gabriel informed her that she would become the mother of Jesus.  As a Catholic I was taught that, like Jesus, she too was immaculately conceived. Some of you may wonder why the Perpetual Virginity is included in the doctrine.  Pope John Paul II gave an excellent analogy.  In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was so holy, that you could not even touch it.  Because Mary is the New Ark (meaning Jesus was in her womb), Joseph did not wish to touch her.  She was far too perfect. In fact, one of Mary’s many titles is Theotokos, which means “God-bearer” in Greek.

As a Catholic, I was taught that Mary was more than the Mother of God, she is also the church’s “spiritual mother.”  (Catechism par. 963) We revere her as a person worthy of praise and respect for her obedience to God.  Although we pray special prayers to her, she is not  worshiped.  (Catechism par. 971) Honor is not the same as worship.  When we invoke her name, we are asking her to pray for us, much like if you were to ask me to pray for you.  It is not so much us praying to Mary, but with her.

For the longest time, I felt that Mary was unapproachable.  She was immaculately conceived. How could I, a sinner, even hope to be worthy of her aid?  But then I learned of her title as Our Lady of Sorrows.  This made me realize something I never considered, and I’m sure some of you haven’t either.  Even though Mary was not crucified with Jesus, she might as well have been.  She had to witness in emotional anguish as her own son, her flesh and blood–her God–was beaten, humiliated, and crucified.  She could do nothing to stop her.  Think how hard it was for her to watch!  I realized here was someone who could certainly help me.  She was still human, even though she never sinned.  She played a vital role in salvation as Jesus’s mother.  She suffered in the most horrible way any mother could.  How could I not accept her help?

I once dreamed about the birth of Jesus.  I dreamed I was there with my guardian angel as Mary brought forth the Christ Child.  She then passed Jesus around so everyone could hold Him.  When it came to my turn, I refused.  Surely, I, a sinner, was unworthy of even holding Jesus.  But my guardian angel told me, “That is the whole point, my child. No one is worthy of Jesus.” I realized the point of the vision. I am unworthy of God’s love and salvation, yet I am receiving it anyway.

In closing, I want to present my favorite prayer to the Virgin Mary, the Memorarae.  Often, when I recite this prayer, I imagine myself standing crestfallen before the Virgin. Then she smiles and asks me what I need and I feel my fears and guilt wash away.  All that remains is perfect love. Here it is:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Tribute to My Mother

Since Mother’s Day is this Sunday, I thought I’d make a special post all about my stepmother.

My biological mother pretty much didn’t want to play a part in my life. She felt that having a child would “tie her down”, so she and my father divorced.  Sometime after that she tried to kidnap me, which resulted in a custody battle  and she won.  However, her desire to be free-spirited often meant that she would just drop me off at dad’s house. Eventually, dad persuaded her to give him custody and I’ve lived with him ever since.

It was during the “back and forth” period that dad met the the woman who would become my stepmother.  She would care for me while my dad worked as a bricklayer (which he still does today). By the time I began to talk, as far as I was concerned, my stepmother was my mother, and even today, I don’t call her “stepmom”, I call her mom.

For those who are wondering, yes, I have met my real mother.  The first time was when I was eight.  Because of when she kidnapped me, my father and stepmother didn’t trust her.  While she was with us, she tried to win me over, as I reflect on it.  She brought a book of sheet music because my parents had told her that I play the piano and even “promised” to take me to a Bon Jovi concert.  Like many aspies, I was (and still am) naive and willing to trust people too easily, so I believed her. But I never went.  The second time occurred during college.  It’s not that I want nothing to do with her–she has made little to no effort to be a part of my life.  Seldom have I received a Christmas card, a birthday card–not even a phone call.  I don’t even have her e-mail, Facebook, whatever. Does this bother me? Very little. God has given me a better mother.

Why do I love my stepmother so much? It’s mostly for the time and energy she has put into raising and guiding me.  She can be harsh and strict, but I need the structure she provides.

My stepmother fought for me throughout most of my schooling. When I was in kindergarten, I was the first in my class to learn to read. But my teacher felt I was not ready for first grade.  I wasn’t tired enough for nap time and I was clumsy with my lunch tray, among other problems.  But my mother disagreed, beginning the first of many battles. I was eventually taken for evaluation and it was discovered that my mother’s approach was working, so she was told to change nothing.  This meant that I was in special ed, but by high school, I was finally mainstreamed.

I learned the hard way just how much I needed her structure when I went to college.  During my first year, I had made both the Dean’s List and the President’s List.  This inspired my parents to let me live on campus.  I took full advantage of this newfound independence and spent very little time studying. Naturally, my grades suffered. I did eventually pass some of my classes with my mother’s help. But because I had refused to apply myself, my parents decided I would no longer be allowed to live in the dorms.  I did eventually graduate and she pushed me every step of the way.

I am grateful to my mother for her willingness to sacrifice her time and energy to raise me properly.  True I haven’t been a “model child”, but I love her.
So, let’s hear it for all the mothers out there who shape and mold us into what we are supposed to be.

Hey, what do you expect? I was an 80’s kid.

 

Soul Surfer

Genre: Drama/Biopic

Director: Sean Macnamara

Stars: Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Annasophia Robb, Carrie Underwood

Studio: Tristar/Film District/Mandalay/Enticing Entertainment

Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

MPAA: PG-13

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%

Best Line: “I don’t want easy. I want possible.”–Todd Hamilton

Summary: This is the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a pro surfer who lost her arm to a shark attack.

Review: I am a huge fan of inspirational stories, so I checked this movie out.

I liked how Bethany narrated the opening shots by telling us that she was born to surf. Her parents were champion surfers and they lived in Hawaii.  She tells the audience that the reason she’s so competitive is that she has two brothers who also surf. We also learn that she is homeschooled and her family is evangelical Christian.  Her best friend is Sara, her youth minister (played by Carrie Underwood, of “Jesus Take the Wheel” fame).

Another thing I liked was Bethany’s perseverance.  She tries her best to keep a positive front and adjust to the loss. She does very little rehab, and forces herself to adjust on her own.  When she tries out for a meet and loses to an aggressive competitor, her friends lash out at her rival, but Bethany objects because her rival sees her as an equal and is not doing any favors because she is handicapped.

Later in the movie, she takes a turn for the worst and goes into a depression.  It is not until she decides to join Sara on a charity drive in Thailand that she finally realizes that even though she doesn’t have two arms she can still make a difference.  She receives lots of fan mail, including one from a similarly-handicapped child.  This gives her the confidence she needs.  Her father designs a special board that will make it easier for her to get onto it and/or steer.  When she meets her rival one more time, she actually thanks her for pushing her so hard.

I did have a few problems. Firstly, Annasophie’s performance needed a little work. She seemed as though she wasn’t putting much effort into the role and there was little if any emotion.  Also, Carrie Underwood is a much better singer than an actress (and considering that I don’t even like country, that’s saying something!)

So for the most part, I think this was a great movie. If you want a good inspiring story, watch it.