I can speak from experience that there are many many misconceptions about the Catholic Church. One of these common misconceptions is the Rosary. Today I want to give you a brief overview of what the Rosary is, and what it is not.
The Rosary is praying the Gospels. That’s the most simple definition of the Rosary I can give you. Of course there are those who will say that all you do is pray “Hail Mary’s” all the time. Didn’t Jesus condemn repetition in Matthew 6:7? And some will perceive the Rosary as “Mary worship”. I could understand how someone not familiar with the Rosary could perceive this.
Yes the Rosary is repetitive. However so is Psalm 136. Every verse of Psalm 136 ends with “…his steadfast love endures for ever;” or some variation of that depending on which translation you use. Matthew 6:7 condemns (again depending on which translation you use) “empty phrases”, or “vain repetition” or “meaningless things”. The Rosary is not “vain repetition”. It is not full of “empty phrases” for if it was then all of the New Testament would be as well.
The Rosary is a meditative prayer of the life of Jesus Christ. It invokes the intercession of Jesus’ mother Mary and of other Saints as well. Intercession is simply asking a Saint in Heaven to pray for you and your cause just as you would ask a fellow Christian here on Earth to pray for you as well. It is not necromancy for no one in Heaven is dead, but rather are alive in Christ.
The Prayers of the Rosary are:
The Apostles Creed- an ancient statement of belief of who we are as Christians.
The Lord’s Prayer- Matthew 6:9-13
The Hail Mary- Luke 1:28, 1:42
The Glory Be- an ancient prayer to the Trinity and it’s forever glory.
The Fatima Prayer-adopted in the 20th century as a plea for the Mercy of Jesus for the whole world.
The Hail Holy Queen – a prayer to Mary the Queen of Heaven in Thanksgiving for her Son, and her Intercession in our prayers.
There are 20 mysteries of the Rosary that make up the life of Jesus Christ. When we pray the Rosary we meditate on these mysteries. The 20 mysteries of the Rosary are divided into 4 groups. They are The Joyful Mysteries, those that deal with Jesus’s birth. The Luminous Mysteries, those that deal with his adult life. The Sorrowful Mysteries, those that deal with his Passion and Death. And the Glorious Mysteries, those that deal with his Resurrection and beyond. Each set of mysteries makes up one Rosary. Different groups of mysteries are traditionally prayed but are not limited to certain days of the week. For example the Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the day of Resurrection-Sunday. The Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Tuesday’s and Friday’s. The Joyful Mysteries are prayed on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and the Luminous Mysteries are prayed on Thursday’s.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting reflections on each of the mysteries daily beginning with the first Joyful Mystery, The Annunciation.