Why Catholics Pray The Rosary
The word Rosary comes from Latin and means a garland of roses, the rose being one of the flowers used to symbolize the Virgin Mary.
The Holy Rosary Latin: rosarium also known as the Dominican Rosary refers to a form of prayer used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers.
Catholics pray the rosary because they believe that it is a powerful prayerful to God, through His mother, Mary. They also believe the Rosary is a remedy against severe trials, temptations and the hardships of life, and that the Rosary is one of the great weapons given to believers in their battle against every evil.
The Rosary is one of the most emblematic objects among Catholics.
Many Catholics believe that the rosary was given to Saint Dominic by the Blessed Virgin Mary between the 13th and14th century.
The prayers that comprise the Rosary are arranged in sets of ten Hail Marys, called decades. Each decade is preceded by one Lord’s Prayer and followed by one Glory Be. During recitation of each set, thought is given to one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. Five decades are recited per rosary. Other prayers are sometimes added before or after each decade. Rosary beads are an aid towards saying these prayers in the proper sequence.
A standard 15 Mysteries of the Rosary, based on the long-standing custom, was established by Pope Pius V during the 16th century, grouping the mysteries in three sets: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries.
During 2002 Pope John Paul II said that it is fitting that a new set of five be added, termed the Luminous Mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to 20. These mysteries had been used by Holy Cross father Patrick Peyton during the 20th century. The Glorious mysteries are said on Sunday and Wednesday, the Joyful on Monday and Saturday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, and the Luminous Mysteries are said on Thursday. Usually five decades are recited in a session. Each decade is devoted to a mystery regarding the life of Jesus or his mother. Here the word mystery refers to a truth of the faith, not to something incomprehensible.
The rosary consists of a set number of specific prayers. First are the introductory prayers: one Apostles’ Creed (Credo), one Our Father (the Pater Noster (Latin)or the Lord’s Prayer), three Hail Mary’s (Ave’s), one Glory Be (Gloria Patri). The concluding prayer of the Rosary is the Hail Queen (Salve Regina), sometimes called the Hail Holy Queen.
The Apostles’ Creed
The Apostles’ Creed is so called not because it was composed by the apostles themselves, but because it expresses their teachings. The original form of the creed came into use around A.D. 125, and the present form dates from the 400s. It reads this way:
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”
The Lord’s Prayer
The next prayer in the rosary Our Father or the Pater Noster (from its opening words in Latin), also known as the Lord’s Prayer is even more acceptable to Protestants because Jesus himself taught it to his disciples.
It is given in the Bible in two slightly different versions (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). The one given in Matthew is the one we say. ”This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need. Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.”(Matthew 6:9-13)
The Hail Mary
The next prayer in the rosary, and the prayer which is really at the center of the devotion, is the Hail Mary. Since the Hail Mary is a prayer to Mary. The prayer begins, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” This is nothing other than the greeting the angel Gabriel gave Mary in Luke 1:28. The next part reads this way:
“Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” This was exactly what Mary’s cousin Elizabeth said to her in Luke 1:42. The only thing that has been added to these two verses are the names “Jesus” and “Mary,” to make clear who is being referred to. So the first part of the Hail Mary is entirely biblical contrary to the believe of the non- Catholics.
The second part of the Hail Mary is not taken straight from Scripture, but it is entirely biblical in the thoughts it expresses. It reads: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
The Glory Be
The fourth prayer found in the rosary is the Glory Be, sometimes called the Gloria or Gloria Patri. The last two names are taken from the opening words of the Latin version of the prayer, which in English reads:
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.” The Gloria is a brief hymn of praise in which all Christians can join. It has been used since the fourth century (though its present form is from the seventh) and traditionally has been recited at the end of each Psalm in the Divine Office.
The Concluding Prayer
It’s the most commonly recited prayer in praise of Mary, after the Hail Mary itself, and was composed at the end of the eleventh century. It generally reads like this (there are several variants):
“Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”
Throughout the catholic Church history, many popes and saints have highly recommended that we pray the rosary. St. Louis de Montfort said, ‘When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.’