The rosary is a simple prayer with great power that has been prayed for years. According to the stories, St. Dominic received the rosary from the Virgin Mary in 1214. The Feast of the Rosary was brought about by St. Pius V in 1573.
The rosary has developed throughout the years. In the Middle Ages, the monastic monks prayed the 150 psalms. Many of the laity and some monks were unable to read and began a practice of praying 150 “Our Fathers” and 150 “Hail Marys.” The rosary, in its present form, was developed in the 16th century. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries.
In Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth, Edward Sri does a wonderful job explaining the rosary and sharing ways to make it a more meaningful prayer in our daily lives.
In chapter 7, Sri shares 10 of St. John Paul II’s insights to encountering Jesus more in the rosary. These are:
- Announce each mystery and visualize it.
- Listen to the word of God. Look up the mystery in the Bible and read the passage slowly before starting that decade of the rosary.
- Silence. At least briefly at the beginning of each decade, use silence to recollect yourself and to help yourself listen to how God will speak to you while praying it.
- The Our Father: Praying in union with God’s family. Never pray the rosary in isolation in a sense to honor God and our union with others.
- The Hail Marys: Contemplating Christ with His mother. “Contemplating the scenes of the rosary in union with Mary is a means of learning to “read” Christ, to discover His secrets, and to understand His message,” (P. 45, RVM 14).
- Glory Be: The height of our contemplation. Praise to God in response to these events of salvation.
- A concluding prayer: Life application. It is popular practice to use the Fatima prayer at the end of each decade; however, Pope John Paul II opens an opportunity for other prayers. For example, at the end of the first joyful mystery, the Annunciation could be prayed: “Pray for us, Mary, that we may respond in obedient faith as you did.”
- The beads as symbols.
- The beads converging on the crucifix represent the beginning and the end of the prayers of the rosary. They can remind us of Christian life centered on Christ.
- The chain of beads symbolize linking us to God and His servants.
- The chain reminds us of our relationship with others. They are intertwined in the common bond of Christ. Often, we pray for special intentions.