Ever wonder what the deal is with the rosary? Find out why praying the rosary has nothing to do with worshipping Mary and why all Christians can benefit from this profound prayer…
When I first started writing this blog, I will admit I had no intention of entering the realm of sharing spiritual advice or pearls of wisdom. I thought the chronicles of our home improvements and travels would be more than enough to keep me busy! And in all honesty, as much as I love sharing my faith, I think the idea of being able to share Christ’s love with others without ever having to speak His name is beautiful and more often effective. After all, actions speak louder than words.. and so I strive to live this in my faith. Yet there are some things so good and beautiful that to not share out of fear or selfishness would be a crime.
So today, I am sharing with you the truth, beauty, and goodness of a highly misunderstood form of prayer, the rosary…
First, for those wishing to know it’s history, I have included an article for further reading. But for the fun nitty gritty of why it is truly a Christian (that is any and all Christ followers) prayer, you can skip the history and read on from here.
Some clarifications to start:
- First, the rosary is not a form of worshipping Mary. We do not worship ANYONE other than God.
- The rosary is NOT a prayer to Mary. It is a series of prayers in which we ask Mary for her intercession, and meditate on specific parts of Jesus’ life. If you ask others to pray for you, this is the same idea! Instead of asking a friend or family member, this time you are asking Mary the mother of God! Who better to ask than the person closest to Jesus?
- Jesus loved his mother. If we believe Jesus IS love and a loving son, there is no way you can love Mama Mary more than him. So fear of appreciating Mary somehow diminishing your love of God is not possible. You are honoring God by honoring his mother. Fear not.
Now, for the fun part 🙂 I will break down the individual parts of the prayer…
Sign of the cross
In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.
This is an acknowledgment to the holy trinity, or our triune God. No disputes here, right? Beginning our prayer in the name of Jesus. We are all on board!
This is a statement of faith, the words go as follows…
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 sits 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 the life everlasting. Amen.
I see a whole lot of common ground here among all christians and maybe about two points of potential contestation. I think most Christians will agree on the virginity of Mary, but for those with doubts I beg you to ponder on this thought… In Luke 1:34 when Mary was told she would conceive, her immediate and literal response is “How shall this be since I know not man?” As a newly married woman, this response makes no sense unless she had taken a vow of virginity. If you need more convincing, check out The Case for Mary’s Perpetual Virginity. As for the term “catholic”, it literally means universal. So as a catholic or non catholic, you can rest easy knowing that you are simply praying for the entire universal Christian church.
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.
Now problems here! This is our Lord’s Prayer which is word for word straight from the Bible!
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst 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.
The first thing to note about the “Hail Mary” is that it comes straight out of Scripture. The heart of the prayer comes from the angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary (“Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you,” Luke 1:28) and Elizabeth’s response to Mary in the visitation (“Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb,” Luke 1:42). The second half is simply acknowledging Mary as Theotokos (God-bearer) and thus asking the mother of God for her intercession. We are not praying to her but asking her to pray for us. How often do we ask others to pray for us? This is the same idea!
Glory Be or The Doxology
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Fatima Prayer (Optional)
O my Jesus, forgive us of our sins. Save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.
If we are Christians, we know that through our faults we are sinners and need the forgiveness of Jesus and his guidance to get us to heaven. It is especially important that we as Christ followers pray for others and show the same mercy God has shown us. So while the origins of Fátima may be disputed among believers and skeptics, the words of the prayer itself are sound. If you’d like to hear the story of Fátima, the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article recently, commemorating the 100th year anniversary of what many consider a miracle.
And then there are the meditations we call the mysteries of the rosary…
When praying the rosary, you can technically choose whichever set of mysteries you wish to meditate on. For instance, maybe you’re experiencing a loss and so your heart feels heavy. This is an excellent opportunity to offer up your sorrow along with that of Christ’s and feel the solidarity of knowing that your king and savior knows just how you feel. Traditionally speaking however, each set of mysteries has a day or two of the week that it is customary to pray. The joyful on Monday and Saturday, the sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, the glorious on Wednesday and Sunday, and finally the luminous on Thursday.
After the fifth and final decade has been prayed, it is customary to finish with these last two prayers. Many often follow this by the Saint Michael Prayer.
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 towards 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.
Just as we are adopted sons and daughters of God, as the mother of Jesus, Mary becomes our spiritual mother too! So when we say mother of mercy, our life, and our hope- we are speaking truth! For it is in Jesus we find these things and thus through our blessed mother. Basically, swap out any of those words for Jesus and it makes a lot of sense, right? And I don’t know about you, but if the angel Gabriel can say “Hail Mary” as a greeting, I’m feeling pretty safe about that one.
Finally, that last sentence may catch some people. “Worthy?” Lets be honest, cause the truth is that we are not worthy. Fact: It is ONLY by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that we are made worthy. And no, I promise this is not a plea for appreciation of our good works. It is however, a heartfelt prayer that our hearts would be transformed so that we always choose heaven.
Let us Pray
Let us pray, O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and Resurrection, has purchased for us the reward of eternal salvation. Grant we beseech Thee that while meditating upon 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.
And that’s it! I know, it’s as beautiful as it is long 😂 But with practice comes familiarity and speed. I pray this post opens many hearts and minds to the beauty of the rosary. Thanks for listening, please comment below if you have any questions!
For more posts on spirituality, check out: