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.
The Glorious Mysteries are:
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.
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.