Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Month of Mary: Pray Her Rosary Daily


Click here to pray the Holy Rosary daily

The Family Rosary of Father Peyton stems from an old tradition that dates back to the early Christians. In the Old Testament when the extended family came together to pray, they would say the prayers that they had learned in the synagogue. These prayers were called the Psalms. There are 150 Psalms. Since most of the people at that time could not read, what they did was to collect 150 stones into a leather bag, one for each Psalm. When it came time to pray they would take out a stone and try to remember as much as the Psalm prayer as they could: “The Lord is my Shepherd. He leads me to green pastures…”

If they could not remember the words to the Psalm they would simply rub the stone and Think Good Thoughts. They would use the stone as something that would draw them into a spirit of prayer.

In the early centuries of monasticism, Christian Monks used the same method to keep track of their prayers. They, too, prayed the Psalms and used 150 stones or beads, which they treaded together. Some just tied knots in a rope that they wore around their waist.

At some point the monks decided that they wanted to pray together, so they began saying common prayers on each bead. The “Our Father,” which they said 150 times, was probably the first such common prayer for the beads. But while they were saying the prayers out loud, they were encouraged to think of Good Thoughts from scripture. What events from the life of Jesus related to their life and times? Their meditation on the Psalms was giving way to a meditation on the life and mysteries of Jesus.

Over time, as devotion to the Blessed Mother increased, the Our Father that were said in common were replaced by a devotional, scripture-based prayer to the Blessed Virgin, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace…”

The Rosary as we know it today has evolved from an ancient tradition of prayer. We say five “decades” of beads (50) three times. Each decade is begun and ended with another bead that helps us “keep track” of where we are in the prayer. During the recitation of the words of each decade we are encouraged to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and relate these mysteries to our own life. Read the rest here.

The Holy Rosary and St. Dominic

The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (died in 1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the Faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin.

One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, it's most active promoters have been Dominicans.

Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. the Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys or Franciscan Crown, the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads." This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).

The rosary has been called the preparation for contemplation and the prayer of saints. While the hands and lips are occupied with the prayers (it can and should be prayed silently when necessary so as not to disturb others), the mind meditates on the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption represented by the decades. Meditation is the form of prayer by which the one who prays uses the mind and imagination to consider a truth and uses the will to love it and form resolutions to live it. In this way the heart, mind, and soul of the Christian is formed according to the Gospel examples of the Savior and His First Disciple, His Mother. In God's own time, when this purification of the heart, mind, and soul has advanced sufficiently the Lord may give the grace of contemplative prayer, that special divine insight into the truth which human effort cannot achieve on its own.

Why pray the Rosary today?

Certainly, to grow in holiness and in one's prayer life. The following are a few others reasons why the rosary should be prayed often, even daily:

"Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary" (Pope Pius IX).

"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world" (Our Lady of Fátima).

"There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family . . . than the daily recitation of the Rosary" (Pope Pius XII).

"We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times" (Pope Pius XII).

"No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary" (Bishop Hugh Doyle).

"The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world" (Pope John XXIII).

"The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel" (Pope Paul VI quoting Pope Pius XII).

"Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary . . . can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions [i.e. the Mass] and can also become a continuing echo thereof" (Pope Paul VI).

"My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fátima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God" (Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fátima).

"How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening" (Pope John Paul II).
Pope John Paul II has called the Rosary his "favorite prayer," after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.

St. Louis de Montfort warns us against both the ignorant and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance..."the Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God."


Image from here.


Blogger Danny Garland Jr. said...

Wonderful post! I never knew all that about the rosary. It truly is a great prayer! I've been trying as much as possible to make sure I say it every day.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

A beautiful image and wonderful information! I wouldn't help but to link to this post from my blog. I'll try extra hard to pray the Rosary as often as possible this month.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Saint Peter's helpers said...

Thank you Danny and Moneybags! As Father Corapi always says that the Rosary is a sure weapon against Satan! So keep those Rosaries always handy friends!

9:13 AM  

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