What is the Rosary?
The Rosary is like a Bible in our pocket!
We Catholics cop a lot of flack about the Rosary and about Mary. – our “Lady”
We are accused of “adoring” Mary. Nothing could be further from the truth, but perhaps that is the subject of another post?
The Prayers of the Rosary include:
- Apostles’ Creed
- the Our Father (Lord’s Prayer)
Both of the prayers above are prayers that are common to other Christians besides Catholics.
- the Hail Mary:
The first half is the angelic salutation of the angel to Mary and of Elizabeth – it is scriptural;
The second half is a prayer from us pleading with Mary to pray to Jesus for us.
(We, as children of God, run to the Mother of God asking her to plead our case for us. On the Cross, Jesus said to John – “Behold your Mother”.
- the Glory be – a prayer of praise to the Blessed Trinity.
Mary guides us to her Son
When we pray the Rosary, we are meditating on the life of Jesus – on selected events in the Gospels. In the days before the printing press, this was the best way to remember and think of the life of Christ.
These events are divided into “themes”- They are:
The Joyful Mysteries: These are: The Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to Mary.; the Visitation by Mary to her cousin Elizabeth; the Birth of Jesus at Bethlehem; the Presentation of Jesus by Mary and Joseph at the temple; and the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, when He had been “lost” for 3 days.
The Sorrowful Mysteries are: The Agony in the Garden; The Scourging at the LIllar; The crowning with Thorns; the Carrying of the Cross and the Crucifixion.
The Glorious Mysteries: The Resurrection; the Ascension; the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles; The Assumption and the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Queen of Earth.
These are the traditional Mysteries of the Rosary but in recent times, Pope St John Paul II added another theme: the Luminous Mysteries (or the Mysteries of Light. These include the following events: The Baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan; The first Miracle performed by Jesus at the Wedding Feast of Cana; the Proclamation of the Kingdom and the Call to Conversion; the Transfiguration: and the Institution of the Eucharist.
These are all scriptural accounts found in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelation.
Why do we repeat the prayers over and over?
Each decade (of 10 Hail Marys) is preceded by the ‘Our Father’ and completed with the ‘Glory Be’
During each decade we meditate on a particular aspect of Jesus’ Life. (see above)
The beads are a means of keeping time, whilst meditating on one of the Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious events in Jesus’ Life. Catholics are very familiar with these events as written in the Bible. There are scriptural meditations available for those who prefer to do this, or use as a guide to their own meditation. An example can be found at: https://www.rosarycenter.org/homepage-2/rosary/how-to-pray-the-rosary/joyful-mysteries-without-distractions/ Or on many other Rosary sites, or in Catholic literature.
There have been many miracles and military victories associated with it. Some of the most famous include:
There was St Dominic who fought against the heresy of the Cathars (that there was a god for the spiritual world who was good; and a god for the material world who was evil. He was sent by the Pope to convert these heretics, but he failed. In 1206 Our Lady appeared to him and told him to use the Rosary as a weapon. The heretics were all converted.
In 1571 Europe (Lepanto) was under threat from Moslems. The Christians only had a small fleet and were outnumbered. The Christian flagship flew a blue banner with Christ crucified on it and the pope ordered the faithful to pray the Rosary. A huge storm destroyed the enemy and their ships.
In 1683, Europe was again threatened by a Moslem invasion – this time at Vienna, Austria. A small garrison led by a wounded general, desperately fought to hold the city of Vienna against 300,000 Turkish invaders. The armies of Europe gathered and prayed the Rosary as they marched. The city was saved through the power of the Rosary
In 1716 Peterwardsein Hungary, was threatened by the Moslems –the people prayed the Rosary and Prince Eugene of Savoy led Christian armies to victory.
In 1945 at Hiroshima Japan – A priest and 7 others survived the nuclear bomb blast at ground zero. Scientists could not explain it. Fr H Schiffer S.J said “In that house we were living the message of Fatima”. That is – they were praying the Rosary together, daily.
In 1955 Austria faced the threat of a Communist takeover. Every day for 7 years people prayed the Rosary. Then the communists withdrew without a reason
In 1966 in Brazil, Communist rule was averted when a woman named Dona Amelia Bastos formed a group – campaign of Women for Democracy – to rid their country of the communist threat by praying the Rosary. 20,000 women reciting the Rosary in Belo Horizonte broke up a leftist meeting there. In Sao Paulo, 600,000 women praying the rosary in one of the most moving demonstrations in Brazilian history, sounded the death knell of the Communist revolution.
On April 25, 1974 the Communists came to power in Portugal. The same night, a small group of devotees of Our Lady spent the night in prayer and sought Divine Guidance for deliverance from the great evil that had befallen their country. They decided that Portugal should turn to the Rosary for aid. The apostles of the National Rosary Crusade in Portugal went north to the most Catholic part of Portugal, and on April 28, 1974, they launched the crusade. They discreetly set about asking their neighbours, one by one, to join the crusade to free their country. They feared to speak or publish too openly their request that individuals pledge to say at least five decades of the Rosary a day for their country, now held by the Communists. In November 1975, the Communists were removed from power.
There are many miracles associated with the Rosary. We need millions of people to say it every day in order to fight the evil in the Church and in the World today. We need armies of prayer warriors. And we need them to use the most powerful weapon that God has given us.
“The power of the Rosary is beyond description”