The origin of the rosary is not entirely known. Believers for many centuries prayed on beads to count their “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers” throughout the day. It is believed that St. Dominic first instituted the prayer after a vision from Our Lady. By the 16th century, the 5 decade rosary, with 3 sets of mysteries, had emerged. These mysteries were: the Joyful, the Glorious and the Sorrowful mysteries. Each decade was a chance to meditate on a part of Jesus’ life and journey to death. In October of 2002, Pope John Paul II (now St. Pope John Paul II), instituted the Luminous mysteries of the rosary which focus on Christ’s public ministries.
The rosary gained momentum within the Catholic Church in 1569, after St. Pope Pius V, encouraged all Catholics to pray it. Two years later, after an incredible naval victory – which Pius attributed to Our Lady’s intercession, Pius instituted the Feast of the Holy Rosary. This takes place every year on October 7 (the day of the victory). Furthermore, October is known as the Month of the Holy Rosary in the Catholic Church.
Through Mary’s intercession, we are all called to pray the rosary daily for the conversion of sinners. Today, as Catholics, we are encouraged to pray certain mysteries of the rosary on certain days of the week. This schedule is as follows:
Monday & Saturday: Joyful Mysteries
Tuesday & Friday: Sorrowful Mysteries
Wednesday & Sunday: Glorious Mysteries
Thursday: Luminous Mysteries
It has been a long time tradition in many homes to pray the rosary daily. I remember reading my aunt’s journal and noting that my father’s family prayed it every night in the living room together. Growing up this was not a tradition that my family practiced, although my sister and I did pray it every 1st Saturday of the month at our local parish.
Today I am solely responsible for my children’s faith formation. While we do pray daily, it is never the rosary. I honestly don’t know where we would fit it in our day and cannot imagine 3 squirmy little bodies sitting or kneeling for 20 minutes. These are all excuses, of course. We could make time. If my dad’s farm family with over a dozen kids could make time, surely we could in this day of modern conveniences. Honestly, I think the reason I don’t make time for this prayer is because I find it rather boring. It is not that I don’t believe in it’s power or Mary’s intercession, it’s that I have a difficult time keeping my mind focused to meditate while I’m praying it due to it’s repetitive nature. I will admit that I do sometimes start the rosary when I cannot sleep at night and I find that it is comforting.
A few months ago I went on a silent retreat. It was AMAZING!! Two days of not cooking, cleaning or listening to anyone fight. I recommend it to all mother’s and father’s as a nice break from the chaos. During the retreat, there were different seminars and prayer services that we could attend if we so chose. One of them was the “Scriptural Rosary”. I am pretty embarrassed to admit that in my 30 plus years of being a Catholic, I had never heard of it. I attended it that first evening and it completely changed the way I view the rosary today.
If you are interested in learning more about the Scriptural rosary, stayed tuned for my post tomorrow where I discuss its origin and how to pray it. I do not think you will be disappointed. It may, in fact, be the tipping point for adding it to your day if you have ever been contemplating it.
How about you…do you make it a point to pray the rosary together as a family or by yourself? What are the prayer routines in your home?
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