The Holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Holy Rosary is also a prayer of meditation: In repeating the Hail Mary we are invited to think back and to reflect upon the mystery we have announced. But we can also dwell upon some intense spiritual experience, on the words that have remained with us from our participation in the Sunday Eucharist. You see, therefore, there are many ways of meditating and of thereby making contact with God—of drawing near to God, and in this way, of being on the road to heaven. —Pope Benedict XVI
The devotion called the Rosary consists of twenty Our Fathers and Glory Be's, and two hundred Hail Mary's, to be recited on beads. It is divided into four parts, each containing five decades (or decads); a decade consisting of one Our Father, ten Hail Mary's, and one Glory Be. To each of these decades is assigned one of the principal Mysteries of the life of our Savior or of his Blessed Mother, as matter of meditation, whereon the mind is to exercise itself while at prayer, and therefore it is prefixed to every decade. The fifteen Mysteries, as we have said, are divided into four parts—namely, five Joyful, five Luminous, five Sorrowful, and five Glorious Mysteries.
Now, the method consists in raising corresponding affections in the will during the recital of each decade, such as the devotion of each one may suggest: for example, for the Joyful Mysteries, sentiments of joy for the coming of our Redeemer; for the Sorrowful Mysteries, of compassion for the sufferings of our Lord, and contrition for our sins, which were the occasion of them; for the Glorious Mysteries, of thanksgiving for the exaltation and glory of our Savior and His Blessed Mother, hoping through the merits of His Passion, and her Intercession, to be made partakers of their glory. To assist the mind in this exercise a short meditation and prayer are usually given to be used before and after each decade.
In order to say the Rosary well, we should not be satisfied with merely pronouncing the words of the prayers, or with a vague and general reflection on the Mysteries; but we should endeavor to acquire the habit of reciting them with great attention and reverence, at the same time dwelling in a vivid manner upon the different Mysteries. In order to do this the better it is some times the custom, in addition to the short meditation on the Mystery (which is usually read before the recital of each decade, and which contains, either expressed or understood, a prayer for the particular virtue to which it has relation), to subjoin an aspiration in reference to the subject of the Mystery, which may be inserted after the holy name of Jesus in the Hail Mary. The reading of the meditation, aspiration, or prayer are only pious practices to assist in the more devout recitation of the Rosary, which consists essentially only in the recitation of the vocal prayers while the mind dwells upon the subject of the Mystery contemplated.
For More Information...
The Rosary is recited 30 minutes before every Mass. Please come early and join us in praying this centuries-old prayer.
For more information on devotion to Mary and the Rosary consider reading the following:
- Mary by Peter Kreeft (Catholic Information Service) [PDF]
- Mary, The Mother of God edited by Father Gabriel B. O’Donnell, OP (Catholic Information Service) [PDF]
- A Scriptural Rosary for the Family by Father Bernard Mulcahy, OP (Catholic Information Service) [PDF]
- A Guide to Praying the Rosary (Catholic Information Service) [PDF]
- How to Pray the Rosary (Catholic Information Service) [PDF]
- Pope Saint Pius X, Encyclical Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum [HTML]
- Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam [HTML]
- Saint Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus [HTML]
- Pope Saint John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptoris Mater [HTML]
- Pope Saint John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae [HTML]