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The Rosary

A rosary is a string of beads for counting prayers in a programme of prayer and meditation. Various aids for counting prayers seem to have been used in Western Christendom from as early as the fourth century. This particular form begins to appear about the tenth century. A popular way of using it is to start with the crucifix, on which the Creed is said; the next five beads are used for the Lord's Prayer, three Hail Marys', and the Gloria. Where the pendant joins the circle there is a large bead on which the Lord's Prayer is said. Then come ten small beads for ten 'Hail Marys' The next large bead is used for the Gloria which concludes the first decade, and for the Lord's Prayer which begins the next. There are thus five decades around the circle. You exit back down the pendant [as above but in reverse order].

The saying of these prayers is combined with a pattern of fifteen meditations on subjects drawn from the life of Jesus, and devotion to his mother Mary. These subjects are known as 'mysteries' and fall into three groups: five Joyful Mysteries, five Sorrowful Mysteries and five Glorious Mysteries. As each decade of the rosary is said one of these subjects is meditated on, so that each time the complete five decades of the rosary is prayed, one of the three groups of Mysteries is worked through. In order to deepen your meditations, you will probably want to reflect on each of the Mysteries outside of your time of prayer, studying the relevant Bible passages where appropriate.

There is no reason why you couldn't use other words if you wanted to, substituting the Jesus Prayer, or some other simple Biblical phrase, for the Hail Mary. Equally you could choose a different set of Glorious Mysteries if you wanted to use only Biblical subjects. The words of the Hail Mary. 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. Amen

The Mysteries.

The Joyful Mysteries
1.The Annunciation [Luke 1;26-38]
2.Mary visits Elizabeth [Luke 1:39-42].
3.The Nativity [Luke 2:4-8]
4.The Presentation in the Temple [Luke 2:22-25]
5.The Finding of Jesus in the Temple [Luke 2:46-49]

The Sorrowful Mysteries
1.The Agony in the Garden [Luke 22:39-46]
2.The Scourging [Mark 15: 9-15]
3.Jesus is crowned with thorns [Matthew 27:27-31]
4.Jesus carries His cross [John 19: 16-19]
5.The Crucifixion [Luke 23: 44-47]:

The Glorious Mysteries
1.The Resurrection [Matthew 27: 5-8]
2.The Ascension [Luke 24: 50-53]
3.The Coming of the Holy Spirit [Acts 2: 1-5]
4.The Assumption.
5.The Coronation of the Virgin [Revelation 11:19; 12:1-2]

Henry Morgan