Different Methods of Using Rosary Beads

rosary hands

In my previous essay I outlined the basic use of prayer beads in Christian devotion. Please read that for further explanation as to why we can, and should, use beads when we pray, and that this includes all denominational lines (including Protestants, Evangelicals, Baptists and “Born Again” Christians). Again, read my previous essay on this topic. It will explain everything.

In this essay, I’ll share with you the practical ways of going about this, and for the sake of simplicity, I’ll use ordinary Rosary beads. One can easily find prayer beads of different types and arrangements, but the type most abundant in the Western world is the Rosary Beads arrangement. You can find them almost anywhere, and as you’ll see by reading this essay, they’re really quite versatile. The actual Rosary devotion is the most complicated, so I’ll cover that last.

First things first, we have to identify what Rosary Beads look like, so as to distinguish them from other types of Christian prayer beads. I’ll post a diagram here for convenience sake, and frequently refer to it below. You will immediately notice the unique configuration of the Rosary Beads in comparison to other Christian prayer beads...

numbered rosary 3

Rosary Beads differ from other Christian prayer beads in that they have a long neck, or strand, between the cross and loop. These are known as the “Antiphon Beads.” The word is a reference to a short song or chant. Since prayer beads and knotted ropes were originally designed in the Christian world as an alternative to praying the Psalms for illiterate Christians, the Antiphon was a short prayer or chant that is used at the beginning and end of each Psalm prayer in monastic communities. So, Antiphon Beads on a Rosary cord/chain are simply a reference to some prayers that are prayed at the beginning and end of a Rosary.

You will also notice that the typical Rosary Bead cord/chain always has five sets of ten beads. Each ten-bead strand is labelled on the diagram as a “Decade,” which simply means “ten.” In between each decade is a bead that separates them. This is illustrated as a red bead in the diagram. The red bead is not part of the decade. It is an individual bead that separates the decades. In the diagram, the actual decade beads are blue.

Please keep in mind that every rosary has different color beads. The red and blue beads on the diagram are just for easy illustration and teaching purposes. What matters is the configuration of the beads: not their size, shape or color. Once you understand the configuration of the beads, the size, shape and color of the beads are no longer important. This is why all Rosary Bead cords/chains look a little different. Each one can be customized to the devotee’s preference.

On many Rosary Bead cords/chains there is a centerpiece that connects the cord or chain into a loop. On some Rosaries, this is just a knot. On others, it’s a medal. This is purely decorative and functional. It’s not part of the Rosary devotion. Sometimes people place special medals here that are of personal significance to them, like for example medals of Patron Saints or religious symbols.

A public service note: please do not wear rosaries around the neck. They are prayer tools and spiritual weapons. They’re not meant to be used as jewelry. The proper way to carry a rosary, when not in use, is either wrapped around the wrist or hand, hanging on a belt or belt loop, or else concealed in your pocket or purse. We need to think of these things as prayer tools and spiritual weapons, not fashion accessories.

Private Intentions are particular things we pray for when using any type of prayer beads, including Rosary beads. A private intention is when you announce what you’re praying for before you begin praying on your beads. This could be a prayer need, or prayer for another person or cause, or a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. It is never necessary to do a private intention, but you’re free to do so any time you like.

RR2Just as a personal note, I like to get my Rosary Beads from Rugged Rosaries. They tend to be made tougher, with strong materials, and look a little more masculine. I’m a dude, so I like that. Combat soldiers love them, as do men in other fields of difficult work (police, firemen, etc.). You can get your Rosary Beads wherever you want. It doesn’t matter, just so long as it matches the configuration in the diagram above. But I’m a Rugged Rosaries man, myself. I just really like them.

METHOD ONE: The Jesus Prayer Chaplet

Jesus PrayerThis method is probably the most simple, and it’s based on the Eastern Christian practice of the Jesus Prayer devotion, which is about 1,700 years old. While Eastern Christians typically use knotted ropes, Western Christians typically use beads on a cord or chain. It’s just a cultural difference. Because of the arrangement of the Rosary Beads, the devotion will be slightly different from the prayer rope used by Eastern Christians, but it’s based on the same idea and is very similar. While Catholics are sure to love this, Protestants and Evangelicals will find this particular devotion the most easy to adapt to their needs, without having to change anything at all. It’s totally compatible with all Protestant and Evangelical theological understandings.

Please note, the purpose of this devotion is pure simplicity. Avoid adding extra prayers or mysteries for contemplation. In this devotion, God himself is the mystery of contemplation. The Jesus Prayer Chaplet can be prayed on regular Rosary Beads, or it can be shortened to pray on other prayer-bead arrangements, such as the Anglican Prayer Beads for example….

1.) On the Cross: Make the sign of the cross, praying…

“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
sign of the cross 1

2.) On the first Red Bead above the Cross recite the APOSTLES CREED….

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty: From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost: The holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints: The Forgiveness of sins: The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.

3.) On the first Blue Antiphon Bead pray: “O God made speed to save us.”

4.) On the second Blue Antiphon Bead pray: “O Lord make haste to help us.”

5.) On the third Blue Antiphon Bead pray the GLORY BE prayer:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

6.) On the Red Decade Bead pray the TRISAGION PRAYER:

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

7.) On the Blue Decade Beads pray the JESUS PRAYER:

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

NOTE: When prayed with a partner or in a group, just say it normally out loud. When prayed privately try saying “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God” as you inhale silently, then “Have mercy on me a sinner” as you exhale silently.

8.) Repeat this process for each decade (steps 6 & 7). You may go around the loop once for a short devotion, or twice for a longer devotion, or three times for a really long devotion.

9.) When you decide you’re done, after one, two or three times around the loop, exit the Rosary using the Antiphon Beads again, this time praying the OUR FATHER on the fist Blue Antiphon Bead:

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.)

Here you may optionally add the doxology, if so inclined…

“For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.”

10.) On the second Blue Antiphon Bead pray another JESUS PRAYER, or a HAIL MARY if preferred.

11.) On the third Blue Antiphon Bead pray the GLORY BE.

12.) On the last Red Bead above the cross, pray:

I bless the Lord.

OR

Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God. 

13.) On the Cross: Make the sign of the cross again, as above.

METHOD TWO: The Divine Mercy Chaplet

DMThe Divine Mercy devotion was given by Jesus Christ in an apparition/vision to Sister Faustina, a nun in Poland during the 1930s. She was later canonized as a Saint by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000. Like the Jesus Prayer Chaplet, simplicity is the main idea. The basic idea of the devotion is to contemplate and trust in the mercy of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The devotion contains many parts, including special days and times of devotions, numerous prayers, a special icon/image of Jesus Christ (featured here), and the diary of Saint Faustina herself, which includes some prophetic messages. However, one aspect of this devotion is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It has become very popular in the Catholic Church over the last three decades, and is starting to be used by other Christians as well. Protestants and Evangelicals might be inclined to change only one prayer in this entire chaplet devotion. The Divine Worship Chaplet can be prayed on regular Rosary Beads, or it can be shortened to pray on other prayer-bead arrangements, such as the Anglican Prayer Beads for example….

1.) On the Cross: Make the sign of the cross, praying…

“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
sign of the cross 1

2.) On the first Red Bead above the Cross pray the following…

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Thyself out upon us.

(Repeat three times)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in Thee!

3.) On the first Blue Antiphon Bead pray the OUR FATHER prayer…

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.)

Here you may optionally add the doxology, if so inclined…

“For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.”

4.) On the second Blue Antiphon Bead pray the HAIL MARY prayer…

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.

NOTE: Some Protestants and Evangelicals may choose to substitute this prayer with the JESUS PRAYER….

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

5.) On the third Blue Antiphon Bead recite the APOSTLES CREED…

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty: From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost: The holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints: The Forgiveness of sins: The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.

6.) On the Red Decade Bead pray the following…

Eternal Father, I offer thee the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of thy Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

7.) On the Blue Decade Beads pray the following…

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

8.) Repeat this process for each decade (steps 6 & 7). You may go around the loop once for a short devotion, or twice for a longer devotion, or three times for a really long devotion.

9.) When you decide you’re done, after one, two or three times around the loop, exit the Rosary using the Antiphon Beads again, this time praying the following on each one of the Blue Antiphon Beads…

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

10.) On the last Red Bead above the Cross, pray the following…

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Thy mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Thy holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.

11.) On the Cross: Make the sign of the cross again, as above.

METHOD THREE: The Five Wounds Chaplet

OLW1The Five Wounds Chaplet is a variation of a Medieval devotion that comes to us from Our Lady of Walsingham in England. It began with a apparition/vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary given to Lady Richeldis de Faverches in 1061 at the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. So the devotion itself actually predates the arrangement of the Rosary Beads we now use today, but it very nicely fits right into it. It’s seen a resurgence in the last couple centuries, and it’s growing in popularity among Catholics of English Patrimony, particularly in the Ordinariates of English Patrimony in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Oceania, as well as English-speaking Catholics around the globe. Like the Divine Mercy devotion above, there are many things associated with the Walsingham devotion, including an icon (featured here), an accompanying statue, multiple prayers and litanies, as well as a place of pilgrimage in Walsingham in Norfolk, England.

The nice thing about this devotion is it’s also easily modified for use among Protestants and Evangelicals who might have issues with prayers to Saints. Once again, I’ve explained elsewhere why this in no way contradicts Scripture or Christian tradition, but if some Protestants and Evangelicals just aren’t ready for it, that’s understandable. The modern renewal of the Five Wounds Devotion can be prayed on regular Rosary Beads, or it can be shortened to pray on other prayer-bead arrangements, such as the Anglican Prayer Beads for example. This devotion is only slightly more complex than the above, because the prayers change slightly with each decade.

Be careful not to add any additional prayers or Mystery contemplation to this devotion. It’s designed to be fairly simple with only subtle variation. Contemplation of the five wounds of Christ, and what they mean for us, is the Mystery or Contemplation of this chaplet. The whole thing is a meditation on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ…

1.) On the Cross: Make the sign of the cross, praying…

“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
sign of the cross 1

2.) On the first Red Bead above the Cross pray the OUR FATHER prayer…

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.)

Here you may optionally add the doxology, if so inclined…

“For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.”

3.) On the three Blue Antiphon Beads pray the HAIL MARY prayer…

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.

NOTE: Some Protestants and Evangelicals may choose to substitute this prayer with the JESUS PRAYER….

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

4.) On the First Red Decade Bead pray the following…

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

By the most grievous and glorious wound of thy Right Hand, well of Wisdom:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me;
Blood of Christ, inebriate me;
Water from the side of Christ, wash me;
Passion of Christ, strengthen me;
O good Jesus, hear me;
Within thy wounds, hide me;
Suffer me not to be separated from thee;
From the malicious enemy defend me;
In the hour of my death call me;
And bid me to come unto thee;
That with thy Saints I may praise thee;
For ever and ever. Amen.

5.) On the Blue Decade Beads pray the following…

O Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary of Walsingham, by thy Five Wounds: Have mercy upon us.

6.) On the Second Red Decade Bead pray the following…

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

By the most grievous and glorious wound of thy Left Hand, well of mercy:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me… etc. (same as above)

7.) On the Blue Decade Beads pray the following (same as above)…

O Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary of Walsingham, by thy Five Wounds: Have mercy upon us.

8.) On the Third Red Decade Bead pray the following…

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

By the most grievous and glorious wound of thy Right Foot, well of grace:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me… etc. (same as above)

9.) On the Blue Decade Beads pray the following (same as above)…

O Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary of Walsingham, by thy Five Wounds: Have mercy upon us.

10.) On the Fourth Red Decade Bead pray the following…

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

By the most grievous and glorious wound of thy Left Foot, well of spiritual comfort:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me… etc. (same as above)

11.) On the Blue Decade Beads pray the following (same as above)…

O Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary of Walsingham, by thy Five Wounds: Have mercy upon us.

12.) On the Fifth Red Decade Bead pray the following…

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

By the most grievous and glorious wound of thy Right Side, well of everlasting life:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me… etc. (same as above)

13.) On the Blue Decade Beads pray the following (same as above)…

O Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary of Walsingham, by thy Five Wounds: Have mercy upon us.

14.) On the last Red Decade Bead, before leaving the loop, pray the following…

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us: Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord. Amen

Hail, true Body, born of Mary
Spotless Virgin’s virgin birth,
Thou who truly hangedst weary
On the Cross for sons of earth;
Thou whose sacred side was riven,
Whence the Water flowed and Blood,
O mayest thou, dear Lord, be given
At death’s hour to be my Food:
O most kind! O gracious One!
O sweetest Jesus, holy Mary’s Son!

Pray for us, O Mother of God, our Lady of Walsingham: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who didst come down from heaven to earth from the bosom of the Father, and didst bear five wounds on the Cross, and didst pour forth thy precious Blood for the remission of our sins: we humbly beseech thee; that at the day of judgement we may be set at thy right hand, and hear from thee that most comfortable word, Come ye blessed into thy Father’s Kingdom; who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

15.) On the three Blue Antiphon Beads pray the HAIL MARY prayer, or JESUS PRAYER.

16.) On the last Red Antiphon Bead pray one OUR FATHER.

17.) On the cross, make the sign of the cross as above.

METHOD FOUR: The Holy Rosary

330px-Bernardo_Cavallino_-_La_Visione_di_San_Domenico_(anni_1640)
The vision of St. Dominic receiving the Rosary from the Virgin Mary, by Bernardo Cavallino

The Holy Rosary was given by the Blessed Virgin Mary, in an apparition/vision to Saint Dominic, a French monk and priest, in the year 1214. The unique configuration of the Rosary Beads, which is different from all other Christian prayer-beads, was given per her instructions to Saint Dominic. While prayer beads were used by Christians in Western Europe for hundreds of years already, Saint Dominic’s arrangement of the Holy Rosary Beads became the norm in most of Europe throughout later Medieval Times and on into the Modern Age. In recent decades, other configurations of Christian prayer-beads and chaplets have emerged, most notably the Anglican Prayer Beads, which are very beautiful and meaningful, but the Holy Rosary bead configuration remains the most popular.

The Holy Rosary is the most complex of all the prayer-bead devotions, and should be learned only after one has already become familiar with the use of Christian prayer-beads. I recommend learning the Jesus Prayer Chaplet, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or the Five Wounds Chaplet first. Then, only after having thoroughly familiarized yourself with the use of prayer beads, graduate onto the Holy Rosary. Some Christians may choose to use the Anglican Prayer Beads (a simpler configuration of beads with different devotions) before graduating on to the Holy Rosary. How one progresses through prayer beads is a matter of personal choice, and there is no right or wrong way to do it, so long as prayer is always directed toward God and his Holy Ones (Saints).

What makes the Holy Rosary different is not just the prayers, but also what you do during the prayers. The Holy Rosary is designed to work like a meditation on specific events from the Gospels. When the meditations are done along with the prayers, it’s like having the New Testament on a string of beads. Presumably, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s  idea behind the Holy Rosary was to help illiterate Christians contemplate the gospels daily in place of the written Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) prayed and chanted by clergy, monks and nuns, who often tended to be more educated than the general population at this time in history. They could usually read fluently in both Latin and their own vernacular languages. Christian laypeople were usually not so educated, and in many cases illiterate, so they needed something different. Enter the Holy Rosary, which if done correctly, serves as a daily contemplative rehearsal of the entire New Testament.

The important thing to remember is that two things are going on here simultaneously.

The first is the prayers themselves, which are unique to the Holy Rosary devotion, and only work with the arrangement of beads on the Rosary. It doesn’t work with other arrangements of prayer beads. So trying to do this on Anglican Prayer Beads for example, while it’s a nice thought, it just won’t work. You need to have the beads arranged the way they are on a Rosary cord/chain, or you’re going to get stuck.

That’s because the arrangement of Rosary beads is modeled after the Book of Psalms as prayed in the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours). There are 50 Blue Decade Beads (see diagram above/below) on a Rosary because the entire Rosary is to be prayed around three times, for a grand total of 150 Blue Decade Beads. That’s because there are exactly 150 Psalms in the Biblical Book of Psalms. So each Blue Decade Bead of the Holy Rosary devotion represents a Psalm. You will also notice that each Decade is capped with a Red Decade Bead (see diagram above/below), and this represents the prayers often attached to various Psalms in the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours). Finally, the Antiphon Beads themselves (see diagram above/below) represent the antiphons and canticles also contained in the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours).

The second thing that’s happening is the contemplative and meditative part. While the prayers are being said on each Decade, the devotee is supposed to be contemplating a particular scene from the New Testament. This is announced at the beginning of each Decade, and one is supposed to be thinking about it while praying through the Decade. This requires some discipline. Not only is a particular scene from the New Testament contemplated, but one is also supposed to think about the spiritual significance of this event and what it means both to humanity and to us individually. These Biblical scenes, and their spiritual meaning, are called “Mysteries.” When we say “Mystery” we’re not talking about something that is a mysterious secret, which must be figured out, but rather something that is more complex than it appears, and must be pondered repetitively to extract the fuller meaning out of it. One could spend an entire lifetime contemplating such Mysteries and still never fully understand them in total.

Once again, trying to do this on Anglican Prayer Beads for example, while it’s a nice thought, it just won’t work. You need to have the beads arranged the way they are on a Rosary cord/chain, or you’re going to get stuck. There are five Mysteries to each Rosary set, but there are only four strands of beads on Anglican Prayer Beads. It just doesn’t work. Either you’ll end up having to throw out a Mystery, or you’ll have to go around the Anglican Prayer Beads in an uneven way, then try to backtrack. So don’t use them for the Holy Rosary. It doesn’t work. Anglican Prayer Beads are designed to be used with simple prayer devotions, not one as complex as the Holy Rosary. For that, you need Rosary Beads in the arrangement on the diagram above and below.

So in laying out this devotion, I will overview the prayers used for each Mystery first, then follow with the prayer structure of the Holy Rosary devotion thereafter. There are traditionally 15 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. These are divided into three sets of five. They can all be prayed in one day: as in five in the morning, five in the afternoon, and five in the evening. Or they can be prayed one set of five per day, with each set assigned to a particular day of the week.

It should be noted that Pope Saint John Paul II added an additional five Mysteries in 2000 as a suggestion. They are not required as part of the Holy Rosary devotion, but may be included if the devotee is so inclined. I personally don’t use them because they disrupt the daily flow of the original fifteen Mysteries. Other Catholics use them all the time. It’s just a matter of personal preference. For the sake of brevity and simplicity, I’ll only list the original fifteen Mysteries here. You can find the additional five Mysteries of Pope Saint John Paul II just about anywhere online.

THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES
Prayed in the Morning
OR
on Mondays and Thursdays
and on Sundays from the First Sunday of Advent to Ash Wednesday

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

(See Luke 1:26-38)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, the Angel Gabriel announced unto thee the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thou didst accept God’s plan as the handmaid of the Lord. Pray for us, that we too may have Faith in God, and accept his plan for us and our lives. Let us pray…

The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation

(See Luke 1:39-56)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thou didst visit Elizabeth while she was with child. And upon arriving, the child did leap in her womb upon hearing thy voice. Pray for us, that we too may have friends to rely on, and like thee help our friends in time of need, that in doing so, we too might recognize Christ in each other. Let us pray…

The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity

(See Luke 2:1-20)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thou gavest birth to thy Son and Savior, Jesus Christ, in a stable, and thou didst lay him in a feeding trough. The angels announced his arrival, and he wast visited by shepherds tending their flocks. Pray for us, that we may be humble and lowly as he was, that we may recognize him as the shepherds did, so that we too may feed upon him in the Holy Eucharist. Let us pray…

The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation

(See Luke 2:22-38)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thou didst present the Child Jesus at the Temple for purification as commanded in the Law of Moses, though neither thee nor he needed purification. Thou didst all this in accordance with the Law and holy piety. Pray for us, that we, who are in need of spiritual purification, may be religiously pious according to thy holy example. Let us pray…

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding in the Temple

(See Luke 2:41-52)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thou didst lose thy Child, our Savior, through no fault of thy own. Upon seeking him for three days, thou and thy spouse, Holy Joseph, didst find him teaching Israel’s elders in the Temple. Pray for us, that we, having lost him through our fault, our own fault, our most grievous fault, may likewise find him about his Father’s business, and be subject unto him, as he was unto thee. Let us pray…

.

THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES
Prayed in the Afternoon
OR
on Tuesdays and Fridays
and on Sundays from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday

The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

(See Matthew 26:36-46)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thy Son our Lord suffered greatly in the Garden: sweating, as it were, great drops of blood, in total abandonment to his Father’s will. Pray for us, that we may abandon our sins entirely, and abandon ourselves to the will of God as well. Let us pray…

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

(See John 19:1, Isaiah 53)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thy Son our Savior was brutally scourged at the pillar for our sins. As the prophecy foretold; ‘he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement of our peace, and by his stripes we are healed.’ Pray for us, that we may have true contrition for our sins. Let us pray…

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

(See Matthew 27:28-29)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thy Son our Lord was crowned with thorns, adorned with an old scarlet cloth, and placing a reed in his hand as a scepter, the Roman soldiers mocked him shouting ‘Ave Rex Iudaeorum’ (Hail, King of the Jews). Pray for us, that we may have courage as he did, so that in courage we may truly hail him as our King, that he may reign in our hearts. Let us pray…

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross

(See John 19:4-17, Luke 9:23)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thy Son our Lord was forced to carry his cross to the place of his execution — Golgatha. Pray for us, that we may patiently endure the crosses of our lives, knowing that He will never allow us to carry more than we can bear. Let us pray…

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion 

(See John 19:18-42)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thy Son our Redeemer was stripped of his garments and crucified. Hanging from the Cross, he gave thee to his disciple, and to us, as our Mother. Then atoning for our sins he breathed his last and died. Pray for us, that we may forgive others and attain final perseverance in the Faith. Let us pray…

.

THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES
Prayed in the Evening
OR
on Wednesdays and Saturdays
and on Sundays from Easter Sunday to the First Sunday of Advent

The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection

(See Matthew 28)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thy Son our Lord conquered both sin and death, by rising from the tomb on Easter Sunday. Pray for us, that we may have Faith in Him. Let us pray…

The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension

(See Mark 16:19, Acts 1:11)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thy Son our King ascended to heaven and was taken in the cloud to reign at the right hand of God as King over His Church which is the new Israel. Pray for us, that we may trust in his reign from Heaven, and that we may with great hope look forward to his return on the Last Day. Let us pray…

The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

(See Acts 2:1-38)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thou wast present with the disciples in the upper room when the Holy Spirit appeared in flaming tongues which rested on your heads. Pray for us, that we too may receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the greatest of which is love, both for our Lord and for one another. Let us pray…

The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption

(See Psalm 132:8, Church Fathers)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Ark of the New Covenant, thou wast taken body and soul into Heaven, like the Patriarch Enoch and the Prophet Elijah, so that thy immaculate body may never know corruption. Pray for us, that we might remain faithful to thy Son until the end, and that down-payment of immortality Christ has given thee, we may look forward to on the Last Day. Let us pray…

The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation

(See Psalm 45:13-14, Judith 13:18, Judith 15:9, Revelation 12:1)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, thou wast crowned queen of Heaven and Earth by thy Son, the King of Kings, in accordance with the custom of good Jewish monarchs. Pray for us, that in honoring thy majesty we may give acclaim to the One who made it so, understanding that every honor Christ has given unto thee, ultimately points back unto Him. Let us pray…

..

The Prayer Structure of the Holy Rosary

numbered rosary 3

1.) On the Cross: Make the sign of the cross, praying…

“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” sign of the cross 1

2.) On the cross recite the the APOSTLES CREED.

3.) On the first Red Bead above the cross, pray the OUR FATHER.

4.) On each of the Blue Antiphon Beads, pray a modified HAIL MARY, asking for (1) faith, (2) hope and (3) love on the three beads….

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 me, a sinner,
most especially for the gifts of faith, hope and love,
now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

5.) On the space between the three Antiphon Beads and the first Red Decade Bead, pray the GLORY BE.

6.) On the Red Decade Bead, introduce the first Mystery as appropriate to the day or time of day (see above), say the prayer for the first Mystery (see above) and then pray one 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.)

Here you may optionally add the doxology, if so inclined…

“For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.”

7.) On the Blue Decade Beads, pray one regular HAIL MARY for each bead while contemplating the corresponding Mystery for that decade.

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.

8.) On the space between the decades, pray the GLORY BE.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

9.) OPTIONAL: Here, some people add the Fatima Prayer AFTER the GLORY BE.

O 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 Thy mercy.
Amen
.

10.) Repeat this process (steps 6,7,8 & 9) for the four remaining decades, moving on to the next corresponding Mystery (see above).

11.) Upon completing the Rosary pray the following on the Red Bead just below the loop…

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, 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 merciful, 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.

Let us pray…

O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life. Grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

12.) The Blue Antiphon Beads are prayed for the Pope and all the Church’s leaders, that they may be faithful and courageous in the face of evil: (1) OUR FATHER, (2) HAIL MARY, (3) GLORY BE…

13.) On the last Red Bead above the cross, pray the St. Michael’s Prayer…

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

14.) To complete the Holy Rosary devotion, make the sign of the cross as above.

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