Skip to comments.Beginning Catholic: How to Pray the Rosary: Contemplating Christ With Mary [Ecumenical]
Posted on 12/29/2008 5:52:01 PM PST by Salvation
Learn how to pray the Rosary it will change your life!
I admit: I used to think it was a quaint, old-fashioned, outdated devotion. Old ladies said the Rosary. But serious people didn't find it useful anymore. Right?
Once I learned how to pray the Rosary, I was hooked.
The Rosary is an incredible prayer. It's deceptively simple, and profoundly deep. A simple vocal prayer, and a school of silent contemplation. It's as small as a palm full of beads, and as wide as the Gospels.
The Rosary taught me about Mary. She used the Rosary to teach me about Christ.
Give a huge boost to your faith: learn how to pray the Rosary.
This article with teach you step by step.
The term "The Rosary" refers to both a prayer and a physical object.
I'll use the term "Rosary beads" to refer to the physical object, and "the Rosary" to refer to the prayer.
The Rosary is a simple prayer. It takes just a couple of minutes to learn how to pray the Rosary. Its basic structure is:
Well, it'll be easier to show you in the picture, in just a second. (See the downloadable, one-page sheet on how to pray the Rosary.) But for now...
The main loop of a set of Rosary beads is divided into five decades. Each decade has a single bead, a space, and then ten beads.
You follow the beads with your fingers as you say each prayer.
When you start a decade, you name the mystery for it. (Don't worry there's a list of them you'll follow!) Then you say an Our Father on the single bead, followed by ten Hail Marys, one for each of the ten beads. Then you end the decade with a Glory Be.
Well, it's all about the mystery for that decade. These are the central mysteries of the Christian faith: the Nativity, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, etc.
When you learn how to pray the Rosary, you learn about prayer itself.
As you say the prayers, you think about the current decade's mystery. The Rosary is actually a combination of all three main forms of Christian prayer: vocal, meditation, and contemplation.
The beauty of the Rosary is that it easily lets you move back and forth among these three types of prayer. When the vocal prayer becomes routine, you let your mind wander to the mystery. When your attention wanders in meditation, you can fix its focus on the words of the prayers. All the while, your fingers move in a slow rhythm over the beads, keeping track of where you are, leading you to the next vocal prayer.
It is a deeply peaceful prayer.
Learning how to pray the Rosary will bring a beautiful period of peace into your daily life.
Print out the one page visual guide to the Rosary, and follow it.
You'll be an expert in no time!
That one-page guide was written by a terrific Catholic website, newadvent.org. I've made it available here, too, for your convenience (the instructions on the sheet say to freely copy & distribute it):
(Of course, you can also get it from their own home page here's a link to newadvent.org for you, and look for their text about how to pray the Rosary.)
There's one more thing you need that's not in the New Advent guide to the Rosary...
It's traditional to pray for a specific grace for each mystery. We ask God to grant us that grace to help us grow in some virtue related to that mystery.
When I learned how to pray the Rosary, I needed a second sheet so I could keep track of the graces for each mystery.
So I've created another printable sheet for you:
I encourage you to give it a try.
If it takes too long at first, you can shorten it. Some ways to shorten it are to say just one full decade a day, or to say all five decades but with only one Hail Mary per decade.
The Rosary is one of the most beautiful Catholic prayers. With Mary, we watch the mysteries of Christ's life unfold. In the Rosary, Mary teaches us about Christ, leads us to Christ, and prays with us in Christ.
So give yourself an incredible gift: Learn how to pray the Rosary!
Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Apostles Creed: I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. 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.
The Lord's 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.
Hail Mary: 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 in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)
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 will be forever. Amen.
Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.
The Joyful Mysteries
(Mondays and Saturdays)
1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) [Spiritual fruit - Humility]
2. The Visitation (Luke 1: 39-56) [Spiritual fruit - Love of Neighbor]
3. The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20) [Spiritual fruit - Poverty of Spirit]
4. The Presentation (Luke 2:21-38) [Spiritual fruit - Purity of mind & body]
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52) [Spiritual fruit - Obedience ]
The Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light
(Thursdays) see Rosarium Virginis Mariae
1. Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan (II Corinthians 5:21, Matthew 3:17 and parallels) [Spiritual fruit - Gratitude for the gift of Faith]
2. Jesus' self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana (John 2:1- 12) [Spiritual fruit - Fidelity]
3. Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His call to conversion (Mark 1:15, Mark 2:3-13; Luke 7:47- 48, John 20:22-23) [Spiritual fruit - Desire for Holiness]
4. Jesus' Transfiguration (Luke 9:35 and parallels) [Spiritual fruit - Spiritual Courage]
5. Jesus' institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery. (Luke 24:13-35 and parallels, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) [Spiritual fruit - Love of our Eucharistic Lord]
The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Tuesdays and Fridays)
1. The Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46) [Spiritual fruit - God's will be done]
2. The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1) [Spiritual fruit - Mortification of the senses]
3. The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:2) [Spiritual fruit - Reign of Christ in our heart]
4. The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17) [Spiritual fruit - Patient bearing of trials]
5. The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:22-39, Luke 23:33-49, John 19:17-37) [Spiritual fruit - Pardoning of Injuries]
The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]
Catholic Prayer Ping!
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I am Catholic and this is very special to me and has always helped me.
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Very simple guide to praying/learning the Rosary
October: Month of the Holy Rosary
(Said on Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays of Advent, and Sundays from Epiphany until Lent)
First Joyful Mystery - The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary
I Desire the Love Of Humility
The humility of the Blessed Virgin when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with these words: "Hail full of grace".
Second Joyful Mystery - The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
I Desire Charity Toward My Neighbor
Mary's charity in visiting her cousin Elizabeth and remaining with her for three months before the birth of John the Baptist.
Third Joyful Mystery - The Birth of Jesus
I Desire the Love of God
The poverty, so lovingly accepted by Mary when she placed the Infant Jesus, our God and Redeemer, in a manger in the stable of Bethlehem.
Fourth Joyful Mystery - The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
I Desire a Spirit of Sacrifice
Mary's obedience to the law of God in presenting the Child Jesus in the Temple.
Fifth Joyful Mystery - Finding Jesus in the Temple
I desire Zeal For The Glory Of God
The deep sorrow with which Mary sought the Child Jesus for three days, and the joy with which she found Him in the midst of the Teachers of the Temple.
(Said on Thursdays throughout the year)
First Luminous Mystery - The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
The Second Luminous Mystery - The Wedding at Cana, Christ Manifested
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
The Third Luminous Mystery - the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
The Fourth Luminous Mystery - The Transfiguration of Jesus
And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
The Fifth Luminous Mystery - The Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:26
(Said on Tuesdays, Fridays, and daily from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday)
First Sorrowful Mystery - Agony of Jesus in the Garden
I Desire True Repentance for My Sins
Our Lord Jesus in the garden of Gethsemani, suffering a bitter agony for our sins.
Second Sorrowful Mystery - Jesus is Scourged at the Pillar
I Desire a Spirit of Mortification
The cruel scourging at the pillar that our Lord suffered; the heavy blows that tore His flesh.
Third Sorrowful Mystery - Jesus is Crowned With Thorns
I Desire Moral Courage.
The crown of sharp thorns that was forced upon our Lord's Head and the patience with which He endured the pain for our sins.
Fourth Sorrowful Mystery - Jesus Carries His Cross
I Desire the Virtue of Patience
The heavy Cross, so willingly carried by our Lord, and ask Him to help you to carry your crosses without complaint.
Fifth Sorrowful Mystery - The Crucifixion of Jesus
I Desire the Grace of Final Perseverance
The love which filled Christ's Sacred Heart during His three hours' agony on the Cross, and ask Him to be with you at the hour of death.
(Said on Wednesdays, and Sundays throughout the year)
First Glorious Mystery - The Resurrection of Jesus
I Desire a Strong Faith
Christ's glorious triumph when, on the third day after His death, He arose from the tomb and for forty days appeared to His Blessed Mother and to His disciples.
Second Glorious Mystery - The Ascension of Jesus
I Desire the Virtue of Hope
The Ascension of Jesus Christ, forty days after His glorious Resurrection, in the presence of Mary and His disciples.
Third Glorious Mystery - The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
I Desire Zeal for the Glory of God
The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles, under the form of tongues of fire, in fulfillment of Christ's promise.
Fourth Glorious Mystery - The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
I Desire the Grace of a Holy Death
The glorious Assumption of Mary into Heaven, when she was united with her Divine Son.
Fifth Glorious Mystery - The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
I Desire a Greater Love for the Blessed Virgin Mary
The glorious crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven by her Divine Son, to the great joy of all the Saints.
I say it pretty much every day. I read some chapters of the old and then new testiment and then do the rosary. I listen to it online, both the Bible and the rosary.
I say it every weekday. Weekends are hard. I usually get the Saturday, but unless I stay after Mass in the Adoration Room I miss saying it on Sunday.
Good for you. Sounds like you have a great routine.
I am a life long Catholic but find the Rosary mind numbing. I just can't see how Christ appreciates the seemingly endless recitation of other people's words as much as personal articulation of thoughts, praise, appreciation, doubts and fears. Remember, Christ taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:7;
"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words."
To me it has a mediative effect. It forces me to withdraw from the world and stop all the thoughts running through my mind.
I usually say my Rosary with someone. To me it is not babbling because I am concentrating on the individual lines of Scripture that go with each Hail Mary. The Rosary is totally Scriptural for me. Not mind numbing at all. In fact, my mind is busy picturing Christ during these different phases of his life.
Joyful — Conception of Christ to his being found in the temple.
Luminous — Beginning of his ministry on earth from his Baptism to the institution of the Holy Eucharist — I can walk through his life with him.
Sorrowful — I identify the suffering in my life with the suffering in Christ’s life during this phase.
Glorious — from the Resurrection through the lifting and crowning of his Mother to heaven.
And seldomly (although sometimes) my mind does not wander and get numb.....I just concentrate on walking that part of Christ’s life with him.
Very true. Very calming effect. If something was bothering me before saying the Rosary it is gone by the end of it.
without the meditation it is mindless mumbling.
Contemplation and meditation are the key.
I thought I was the only person who did that. lol But I try to catch up on the remaining prayers when I wake up during the night.
Thanks for that link.
Some of us consider the Luminous Mysteries to be too “newfangled” and continue to say the Joyful Mysteries on Thursdays.
The Rosary and Sacred Scripture
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Luke 1:28 "And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you."
The Greek kecharitomene means favored by grace, graced. Its tense suggests a permanent state of being "highly favored," thus full of grace. Charity, the divine love within us, comes from the same root. God is infinite Goodness, infinite Love. Mary is perfect created goodness, filled to the limit of her finite being with grace or charity.
Blessed art thou among women
Luke 1:41-42a "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women..."
Luke 1:48 "For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed."
Among all women is a way to say the highest/greatest etc. of a group in Semitic languages (these words would likely have been spoken in Aramaic). Mary is being called the greatest of all women, greater than Ruth, greater than Sarah, greater than EVE! Since Eve was created immaculate (without original sin), Mary must have been conceived immaculate. And, although Eve fell into sin by her own free will, Mary must have corresponded to God's grace and remained sinless. She could not otherwise be greater than Eve. Thus, as the Fathers of the Church unanimously assert, Mary is the New Eve who restores womanhood to God's original intention and cooperates with the New Adam, her Son, for the Redemption of the world.
Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus
Luke 1:42b "and blessed is the fruit of your womb."
Jesus is Mary's fruit. Good fruit does not come from anything but a good tree (Mt. 7:17-18)! The all-holy Son of God could not be the fruit of any other tree than the Immaculate Virgin.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Luke 1:43 "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Kyrios is the Greek word used by the Jews in the Septuagint Bible (Greek translation) for Yhwh, the Divine Name of God. In her greeting of Mary, Elizabeth is saying: "How is it that the mother of my God should come to me." Against the heresies of the 4th and 5th centuries which tried to split the Person of Jesus into two, divine and human, denying one or the other, the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD proclaimed Mary Theotokos (God-bearer, i.e. mother of God). Jesus is a single Person, a Divine Person, the 2nd Person of the Most Holy Trinity. To be mother of the Person Jesus is to be mother of a Person who is God. Mary's title protects this truth against errors which emphasize or deny, either the divinity or humanity of the Lord.
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Luke 2:35 "...and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
John 2:5 "His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."
Mary sees a need and appeals to Her Son to satisfy it. He does. We turn to Mary to ask her to intercede with her Son in our daily spiritual and material needs, but especially at the hour of our death. At that moment our salvation hangs in the balance as the devil makes his final foray to deter us from the path to God (Rev. 2:10). It is not surprising, therefore, that both the Hail Mary and the Our Father conclude with an appeal to be delivered from the evil one.
The Power of Intercessory Prayer:
Intercessory prayer proceeds from faith in God that holy men and women who have died are as alive today as they were on earth (Luke 20:38). If the prayer of the just man avails much, how much more the prayer of the one made perfect (Rev. 21:27) and living with God in heaven (the patriarchs, apostles and other holy men and women).
James 5:16b "the fervent prayer of a righteous man is very powerful."
Rev. 5:8 "When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.
The angels, too, mediate our prayers. This is taught explicitly in the Jewish book of Tobit (Tob. 12:12), accepted by Christians as inspired until Luther on his own authority rejected it. It remains part of the Catholic Bible.
Tobit 12:12 I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
Rev. 8:3 "Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne."
Is the rosary mindless babbling?
The purpose of the different beads on the rosary is to count the various prayers as they are said. Unlike the Moslem prayer beads and the mantras of Buddhism, the prayers of the rosary are meant to occupy our whole being, body and soul, while meditating on the truths of the Faith. Any prayer is vain, however, if said mechanically without devotion. Simply to repeat prayers is not the vain repetition condemned by Christ (Mt 6:7), since He Himself repeats His prayer in the Garden three times (Mt 26:39, 42, 44) and the Psalms (inspired by the Holy Spirit) are often very repetitive (Ps 119 has 176 verses and Ps. 136 repeats the same phrase 26 times).
Matthew 6:7 In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Praise the LORD, who is so good;
God's love endures forever;
Praise the God of gods;
God's love endures forever;
. . . Praise the God of heaven,
God's love endures forever.
Matthew 26:39 He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."
Matthew 26:42 Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, "My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!"
Matthew 26:44 He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.
The Church believes that it is necessary for a Christian to meditate (prayerfully think about) the will of God, the life and teachings of Jesus, the price He paid for our salvation, and so on. Unless we do this we will begin to take these great gifts for granted and ultimately fall away from the Lord. Every Christian must meditate in some way in order to preserve the gift of salvation (James 1:22-25). Many Catholic and non-Catholic Christians prayerfully read and apply Scripture to their lives, that is, meditate on them. With the rosary this can be done virtually anywhere and anytime.
For those who prefer to follow the traditional order of the days it is:
While meditating on the Mysteries, recite:
One Our Father (large beads), 10 Hail Marys (small beads) and 1 Glory Be (before the next large bead) to make a complete decade of the rosary.
After each decade the Fátima Prayer may also be said (Pope Pius XII).
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.
3. Concluding Prayers
After the completion of five mysteries (5 decades), or 15 or 20, the following is customarily said:
Hail Holy Queen (or Salve Regina may be sung)
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 us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
(Verse) Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
(Response) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
(Verse) Let us pray,
(Response) O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation. Grant, we beseech Thee, that while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Catholics who say the rosary in a group, or, individually before the Blessed Sacrament,
For the intentions of the Holy Father.
Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for the reminder.
And I just love the Luminous Mysteries because they portray the ministerial life of Christ — the meditation is so profound for me.
Move into the light — you won’t be sorry.
I say all four sets of mysteries every Friday with a group of friends. It is wonderful.
What an awesome thread, thanks for posting!
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!
After each decade say the following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy."
As suggested by the Pope John Paul II the Joyful mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday, the Luminous on Thursday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, and the Glorious on Wednesday and Sunday (with this exception: Sundays of Christmas season - The Joyful; Sundays of Lent - Sorrowful)
I use it to contemplate the events in the life of Jesus. I love the new Luminous Mysteries, which deal directly with Jesus’s actions during His public ministry. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to say a full Rosary, so it’s a nice amount of time to spend with Jesus during a day, or even once a week.
Thank you. It has been years since I prayed the Rosary.
I just pull the Rosary out of my pocket and get started, it works every time. Then I just ignore my “SELF”, ie. “Brother Ass” and keep on going.
I love the rosary and pray it every day. It is a tremendous means of meditation and intercession.
One can pray it when driving a car or walking a dog even. I keep a ‘decade’ rosary in my pocket.
Please pray about starting again!