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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Prayers of the Rosary

The Prayers of the Rosary
Praying the Rosary

The Holy Rosary is truly a prayer based on Scripture. When we pray the rosary we are in fact praying the Gospel message, the Good News of Jesus Christ. The rosary consists of twenty mysteries. A mystery of faith is a supernatural truth that cannot be known except by God’s revelation. As we pray the rosary we are doing more than just repeating prayers over and over. When the rosary is prayed devoutly, we contemplate the Christian mystery by meditation on the twenty events in the life of Christ. These mysteries are divided into four categories, Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous.

The Joyful Mysteries include the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation, and Finding in the Temple.
The Sorrowful Mysteries center on the passion of Christ and include the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowing of Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion.
The Glorious Mysteries are composed of the Resurrection, Ascension into Heaven of Jesus, Descent of the Holy Spirit, Assumption of Mary and Coronation of Mary.
The Luminous Mysteries were added by Pope John Paul II, these concentrate on the life and ministry of Christ. They include the Baptism of the Lord, Wedding Feast of Cana, Preaching of the Kingdom, Transfiguration, and Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

To begin the rosary, make the Sign of the Cross a gesture of tracing two lines intersection at right angles which indicate symbolically the figure of Christ’s cross. Using your right hand, you should touch your forehead at the mention of the Father; the lower middle of your chest at the mention of the Son; and the left shoulder on the word "Holy" and the right shoulder on the word "Spirit."

Catholic’s make the Sign of the Cross for many reasons and under many circumstances. The Sign of the Cross is prayer and should be done reverently. Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). This sign signifies the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. “For there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity. The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.” Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 233-234.
The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Hold the Crucifix in your hand and recite the Apostles’ Creed, which is a summary of the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. This prayer was not composed by the apostles themselves, but it expresses the teaching of the apostles. The original form of the creed came into use around 125, and the present form dates from the 5th century.

The Apostles’ Creed
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 rose from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father
Almighty; 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
Life everlasting. Amen.

On the first bead above the Crucifix pray the Lord’s Prayer, also called the Our Father or Pater Noster from the Latin. This prayer was given to us in the Bible by Jesus. The two slightly different versions can be found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy Kingdom come;
Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen

On the next three beads a Hail Mary is said for the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1812-1813, “Human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues….They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity….They are the foundation of Christian moral activity….They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life.”

Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us…By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.”” CCC 1814

Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.” CCC 1817

Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.” CCC 1822

The first part of the Hail Mary is composed of verses from the Gospel of Luke (1:28 and 1:42): the angel's words announcing Christ's birth, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you,” and Elizabeth's greeting to Mary, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” The only thing that is added to these two verses are the names “Jesus” and “Mary,” to make clear to whom they referance.

The second part of the Hail Mary is not taken straight from the Scripture, but is biblical in thought. Mary was a Christian, the Bible describes Christians in general as holy as Paul writes in Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 1:1 and Colossians 1:2. Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, so she truly must be a holy person.

Catholic’s believe that she is the mother of God, which does not make her older than God; it means the person who was born of her was a divine person, not a human person. Mary truly had God in her womb. The denial of that would be a heresy known as Nestorianism, which claims that Jesus was two persons, one divine and one human. Nestorianism was condemned by Saint Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council at Ephesus in 431. Jesus became truly man while remaining truly God, Jesus Christ is true God and true man.

The last line of this prayer may be the most problematic line for some, who may think that this denies the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all.” But in the preceding four verses 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul instructs Christians to pray for each other. This would mean that praying for others cannot interfere with Christ as mediator.

Catholic’s believe that Mary is a saint in heaven, and asking the saints in heaven to pray for others is also Biblical. One charge made against this is that the saints in heaven cannot hear our prayers. However this is not true. Scripture states that those in heaven are aware of the prayers of those on earth. In Revelation 5:8 Saint John describes the saints in heaven offering our prayers to God as “golden bowls full of incense,” If the saints in heaven are offering our prayers to God then they must be able to hear us. The saints intercede for us to God in a similar way that those on earth intercede when asked to pray for us.

Some may object to asking the saints in heaven to pray for us by saying that God has forbidden contact with the dead in Deuteronomy 18:10-11. What God has forbidden here is the necromantic practice of conjuring up spirits. The saints in heaven are alive. We see this at the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:3, Moses and Elijah appeared alongside Jesus in the presence of Peter, James and John.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

After the third Hail Mary say a Glory Be, sometimes called the Gloria or Gloria Patri. This prayer is a brief hymn of praise and has been used since the fourth century, though this present form is from the seventh.

Glory Be
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.

On the next bead before the centerpiece announce the first mystery. Pause for a moment to think about this mystery and then pray an Our Father. Continue past the centerpiece and you will arrive at the first set of ten beads that represent your next ten prayers, the Hail Mary. At the end of the tenth Hail Mary say a Glory Be and follow with the Fatima Prayer before moving to the next bead which will separate another set of ten beads. On this bead announce the next mystery and pray the Our Father before moving to the next set of ten Hail Mary beads, Glory Be and Fatima Prayer. This continues around the rosary for five decades.

In a Vatican approved apparition, the Fatima Prayer was given to three children, Lucia Dos Santos, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto in Fatima, Portugal on July 13, 1917. During this apparition Our Lady gave the children a glimpse of Hell and then told them:"You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save future souls God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved." Then Our Lady taught the children a prayer to be recited at the end of each decade of the rosary after the Glory Be. "When you recite the Rosary, say at the end of each decade: Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy." Our Blessed Mother aways points us to Jesus!!!

The Fatima Prayer
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins,
save us from the fires of hell.
Lead all souls to Heaven,
especially those who are most in need of thy mercy.

The last prayer or closing prayer is the Hail Holy Queen which was composed at the end of the eleventh century. Then finish with the Sign of the Cross.
Hail, Holy Queen
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 valley 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.
Pray for us, O holy mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

When Catholic recite the rosary, they meditate on the mystery associated with each decade. If they merely recite the prayers whether vocally or silently, they’re missing the essence of the rosary. This prayer is a meditation on the Gospel, it truly is praying the Gospel. Next time I will elaborate on each of the four Mysteries, Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminious. You will find many rosaries in our two stores at Lynn's Timeless Treasures or Lynn's Timeless Treasures on eBay

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