I want to talk about one of the most potent weapons that man has ever encountered.
What is the Rosary?
The Rosary is a meditative prayer that takes anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour to pray. It combines the use of physical and spiritual contemplation. It combines a list of verbal prayers and contemplative prayers from the heart.
When you ask a non-Catholic what a rosary is, they will often say, just a necklace with some beads, with a cross on it.
I’m going to stop you there. First off, it is NOT a necklace! It should never, ever, ever be worn, EVER!
It is one of the highest prayers for Catholics.
- Large beads
- small beads
- A medal of Mary or a particular saint
We’ll go through each one of these, step by step.
Origins of the Rosary
According to Catholic tradition, the rosary was instituted by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself when she appeared to Saint Dominic, gave him one, and instructed him on how to pray it.
Since then, it has been a mighty spiritual weapon in a Catholic’s arsenal.
How do I pray the Rosary?
It’s easy because it has a list of simple prayers to pray over each bead.
Crucifix- Nicene Greed
Big beads – Our Fathers
Small Beads- Hail Marys
After 10 Hail Mary’s- Glory Be and Fatima Prayer
Do this five times- On the Medal of Mary or the Saint- Hail Holy Queen.
No… we get into the REAL meat of it.
When Catholics pray the rosary, the vocal prayers help to elevate our minds to true prayer. It is here when we are to contemplate and put ourselves in the times of Jesus and Mary.
Here a set of mysteries of the Lord and Mary, broken down into three groups of five. Of course, you don’t have to do all fifteen! Just make sure to do one set!
I know… it almost sounds like you’re lifting weights… and you kind of are.
First set- The Joyful Mysteries
- The Annunciation- where Gabriel announces to Mary that she is to be the Mother of God
- The Visitation- When Mary visits her relative, Elizabeth, to discover she too is with child
- The Birth of the Lord- Well… it’s about the birth of the Lord
- The Presentation at the Temple- This is when the Lord is taken to the temple to be consecrated to God
- The Finding of the Child Jesus- this is when his parents find Jesus, still a child, teaching to a group of scholars at the Temple of Jerusalem.
Second Set- The Sorrowful Mysteries
- The Agony in the Garden- Where the Lord sees the sins of the past, present, and future, and it grieves him mightly to the point he sweats blood
- The Scourging at the Pillar- The Lord is whipped at the pillar by Roman soldiers- for sins against the flesh
- The Crowning of Thorns- A crown of thorns is placed on his head to mock him as King of the Jews. This is for sins of pride.
- The Carrying of the Cross- When Jesus is forced to carry a heavy cross out of Jerusalem.
- The Crucifixion and Death- This is when Jesus is nailed to the Cross and dies, in atonement for all of our sins.
Third Set- The Glorious Mysteries (and my favorite)
- The Resurrection- The Lord rises from the dead on the third day. Alleluia, am I right?
- The Ascension of the Lord- After spending time with the Apostles, the Lord ascends to Heaven among the angels before the eyes of the Apostles
- The Coming of the Holy Spirit- This is when the Holy Spirit comes down upon the Apostles (who were locked in an upstairs apartment, afraid of being persecuting.) Tongues of fire appear over their heads as they go out boldly and preach the Gospel
- The Assumption of Mary- Years have passed, the Lord’s mother, sensing her time has come, is assumed up to Heaven, body, and soul. The apostles go to her tomb to see it is empty, with only fragrant lilies.
- The Crowning of Mary- Mary is crowned before the celestial court of Heaven and proclaimed the Queen of Heaven and Earth ruling as Queen Mother of the Lord.
Why the Rosary? What’s the Point?
On the surface, it might seem like a long prayer, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s a retelling of the Lord’s life.
Rosary takes us out of our mind and world and focuses our heart and mind onto Heavenly matters.
Try pondering the virtues of each mystery and how they might apply to your life.
One thing that inspires me is a particular tradition. Each Haily Mary in a rosary is like placing a most delightful and brilliant rose at the feet of our Queen Mother and her Son. And who doesn’t like receiving a rose?
A full rosary prayed thoughtfully is like us taking our roses in our hands, forming a beautiful crown, and placing it upon our Mother’s head with much love and affection.
I am startled by one story. There was Roman Legionnaire who was a secret Christian. He struggled with a mortal sin (deadly sin) and tried to pray the rosary without attempting to overcome his vice.
Well, Mary didn’t like that, so she appeared before the soldier in a dream asking, in her hand were two rose crowns, one shining with glittering gold and jewels, and another was caked in filth, mud, and dirt.
“Which crown would you give to your Queen?” She asked.
“The bejeweled one, my beloved Queen!” The soldier dropped to his knees.
“Then why are you giving me the filthy crown. Every Rosary prayed with mortal sin is tossing a crown into the mud.” She gently reminded him.
“Forgive me, my Queen! I will amend my ways starting now!” He confessed. This seemed to please our Mother.
When the soldier awoke, he found a perfect rose on his bed.
Now… we can still pray the rosary, even if we have mortal sins that we struggle with, but the question is, are you trying to amend, are you striving to overcome that sin? If the answer is yes, then I believe it is still a sincere prayer and pleasing crown, just imperfect.
If you make no effort in changing your life… well… that’s when you’re offering a cardboard crown rather than a crown of golden roses.