October = The Holy Rosary
October is the devotion to the Holy Rosary. Rosary means “Crown of Roses”. Our Lady has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary, they give her a beautiful rose and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses. The Holy Rosary is considered a perfect prayer because within it lies the awesome story of our salvation. With the Rosary, we meditate on the mysteries of joy, sorrow, glory, and light. It’s a simple prayer, humble like Mary.
The Rosary is one of my favorite sacramentals. The simplicity, the diversity, the tangibility, and the tactile feel of it.
Saying the Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles' Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel's words announcing Christ's birth and Elizabeth's greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ's life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and –– added by Saint John Paul II in 2002 ––the Luminous.
While occupying the senses with the “praying of the beads” the one who prays the rosary prayerfully reflects and meditates, on the mysteries of Christ’s life. These mysteries, represented by the five groups of ten beads are taken from the Gospel, and from the Church's reflection on the Gospel down through the centuries―especially concerning the role of the Blessed Virgin. She is the Woman (Gen. 3:15) from whom Christ took His human nature, as well as the Woman who cooperated in His Redemptive mission to its completion (John 19:26-27).
Therefore, the Rosary's purpose is a deeper understanding of all the mysteries concerning Christ. A mystery is something divine because the Persons associated with it are divine. Human reflection alone reaches a limit of understanding. But by seeking God in what we can know by prayerful reflection, we dispose ourselves to His grace and to a deeper understanding of the truths of the Faith, and ourselves in light of them.
Catechism 2708 says Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our hearts, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in Lectio Divina [prayerful contemplation of Scripture] or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.
Saints and popes have emphasized the meditative and contemplative elements of the rosary and provided specific teachings for how the rosary should be prayed, for instance, the need for "focus", "respect", "reverence" and "purity of intention" during rosary recitations and contemplations. Scriptural meditations concerning the rosary are based on the Christian tradition of Lectio Divina literally "divine reading" as a way of using the Gospel to start a conversation between the person and Christ.
Padre Pio, a rosary devotee, said: "Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him." From the sixteenth century onwards, Rosary recitations often involved "picture texts" that further assisted meditation. Such imagery continues to be used to depict the Mysteries of the rosary.
Pope Pius XI is quoted as saying, "The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight."
Meditation upon the Mysteries of the Rosary
References to the Rosary have been part of various reported Marian Apparitions spanning two centuries. The reported messages from these apparitions have influenced the spread of Rosary devotion worldwide. In Quamquam pluries, Pope Leo XIII related Rosary devotions to Saint Joseph and granted indulgences in favor of Christians who, in the month of October, would have added the Prayer to Saint Joseph at the end of the Holy Rosary.
Praying the Rosary may be prescribed by priests as a type of penance after the Sacrament of Penance. It must be noted that penance is not generally intended as a "punishment"; rather, it is meant to encourage meditation upon and spiritual growth from past sins.
Mediation means bringing to mind, as you pray the Our Father and Hail Marys during each decade, the various scenes from the life of Jesus and his mother from Gospel accounts. Meditating on all twenty mysteries is akin to contemplating the entire life of Jesus, from his conception and birth, through his childhood, into his public ministry, his teachings, his establishment of the sacraments, and then his suffering, death, resurrection, and triumphant return to heaven.
It sometimes takes months or years for this form of mental prayer to become habitual, so be patient. Begin by placing yourself "into" the scene of the particular mystery as you pray, imagining the sights, smells, sounds, and emotions that Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other participants experienced during the actual events.
It is also okay to meditate on the meaning of the words of the prayers as you pray them. It is okay to bring to mind the people for whom you are offering the Rosary and your desire for God to help them.
The Mysteries of the Rosary
The Five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Mondays, Saturdays, and, during the season of Advent, on Sundays:
The Annunciation “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.” - Luke 1:26-27
Fruit of the mystery: Humility
The Visitation “During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 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, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.'” - Luke 1:39-42
Fruit of the mystery: Love of Neighbor
The Nativity “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” - Luke 2:1-7
Fruit of the mystery: Poverty
The Presentation in the Temple “When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. "When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,' and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,' in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.” - Luke 2:21-24
Fruit of the mystery: Purity of Heart and Body
The Finding in the Temple “Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.” - Luke 2:41-47
Fruit of the mystery: Devotion to Jesus
The Five Luminous Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:
The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan “After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'” - Matthew 3:16-17
Fruit of the mystery: Openness to the Holy Spirit
The Wedding Feast at Cana “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.' [And] Jesus said to her, 'Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother said to the servers, 'Do whatever he tells you.'” - John 2:1-5
Fruit of the mystery: To Jesus through Mary
Jesus' Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God “'This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.'” - Mark 1:15
Fruit of the mystery: Conversion
The Transfiguration “After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” - Matthew 17:1-2
Fruit of the mystery: Desire for holiness
The Institution of the 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.'” - Matthew 26:26
Fruit of the mystery: Adoration
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Tuesdays, Fridays, and, during the season of Lent, on Sundays:
The Agony in the Garden “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, 'My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.' 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 26:36-39
Fruit of the mystery: Obedience to God’s Will
The Scourging at the Pillar “Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.” - Matthew 27:26
Fruit of the mystery: Mortification
The Crowning with Thorns “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'” - Matthew 27:27-29
Fruit of the mystery: Courage
The Carrying of the Cross “They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated as Place of the Skull).” - Mark 15:21-22
Fruit of the mystery: Patience
The Crucifixion and Death “When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.'] They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, 'He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God.' Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, 'If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.' Above him, there was an inscription that read, 'This is the King of the Jews.' Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.' The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, 'Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' He replied to him, 'Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'
"It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit'; and when he had said this he breathed his last.” - Luke 23:33-46
Fruit of the mystery: Sorrow for our Sins
The Five Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Wednesdays and, outside the seasons of Advent and Lent, on Sundays:
The Resurrection “But at daybreak, on the first day of the week, they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, 'Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.'” - Luke 24:1-5
Fruit of the mystery: Faith
The Ascension “So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.” - Mark 16:19
Fruit of the mystery: Hope
The Descent of the Holy Spirit “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” - Acts 2:1-4
Fruit of the mystery: Wisdom
The Assumption “Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” - Luke 1:48-49
Fruit of the mystery: Devotion to Mary
The Coronation of Mary “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” - Revelation 12:1
Fruit of the mystery: Grace of a happy death
Practically anyone who prays the Rosary "offers" it to God and Our Lady for an intention (also known as a "petition"). This means one can ask God to grant a favor, heal a sick person, or convert a sinner — for any worthy need. Some ask Mary to simply give graces where she sees fit. Some people offer a different intention for each decade. Others offer the same intention every day (sometimes for years on end) especially when asking the Father for the conversion of a particular person. Intentions are as varied as the people who pray.
Ask for big and small gifts. Be bold! In this sense, the Rosary is an exchange of gifts between friends. Matthew 7:7 says "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye. shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" It is widely known among Catholics that Our Lady answers seemingly impossible intentions to those who are first beginning to pray the Rosary. This is her way of drawing you closer to Her and to Jesus. If you are praying your first Rosary or returning to the Rosary after years of not talking to Our Lady, ask for something big, spectacular, or impossible. She'll often surprise you. With the Hail Mary, we invite Her to pray for us. Our Lady always grants our request. She joins Her prayer to ours. Therefore it becomes ever more useful because what Mary asks She always receives, Jesus will never say no to whatever His Mother asks for.
The Catholic Church, exercising its authority to "bind and loose on heaven and earth," and in perfect accord with God's Mercy, has set the following conditions for the granting of a plenary indulgence for those who pray the Rosary:
Be in a state of grace—that is, your soul is free from mortal sin.
Be free from attachment to—that is, not in the habit of—venial sin.
Go to Confession several days before or after praying the Rosary.
Receive Holy Communion on the day you pray the Rosary.
Say a prayer for the pope's intentions.
By fulfilling these simple (but often difficult) conditions, you merit the grace to release one soul from Purgatory. While we are free to ask God to apply this grace to a particular soul, God can do as he pleases, according to His Will and Mercy. You can also ask God to apply this special grace to your own soul. A plenary indulgence will relieve the temporal punishment due to sin (it will not absolve the sin or cause the sin to be forgiven).
The Full Rosary
In common terminology, when Catholics refer to praying a "Rosary," they usually mean they are praying just five decades of one set of Mysteries. This is a single Rosary.
A "full Rosary," however, consists of offering all fifteen decades (Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries) in one day. One can also offer all twenty decades in one day by including the newly promulgated Luminous mysteries. To avoid confusion, we will consider only the traditional three sets of fifteen Mysteries as a "full Rosary" from this point forward. There are two ways you can pray a full Rosary in one day. The most common method is offering three separate "single" five-mystery Rosaries in the morning, midday, and evening. The second method consists of praying all fifteen Mysteries consecutively at one time.
With either approach, when you pray a full Rosary it is not necessary to repeat the opening prayers or conclude between the second and third sets of Mysteries. In other words, begin with the opening prayers (Apostles Creed, Our Father, three Hail Marys, Glory Be) before the first Joyful Mystery, as you would with a "single" Rosary. After the final Glorious mystery, recite the concluding prayers.
The Fifteen Promises Mary makes to those saying the Rosary:
The Blessed Virgin Mary made these promises to Saint Dominic and to all who follow that, “Whatever you ask in the Rosary will be granted.”
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces. 2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary. 3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies. 4. The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means. 5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish. 6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life. 7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church. 8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise. 9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary. 10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven. 11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary. 12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities. 13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death. 14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters of my only Son Jesus Christ. 15. Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
The Prayers of the Rosary
For praying in groups, responses are in italics.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Apostle's Creed
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, on the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, and is seated 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.
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, 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.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The Fatima Prayer
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell.
Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.
Salve Regina/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 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! (Leader:) Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
Traditional Closing Prayer (Optional)
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.
Suggested: For the Pope's Intentions
Leader: Upon this Rock, He will build His Church... Response:
...and the jaws of death shall not prevail against her. Leader: O Mother of the Redeemer... Response:
...and Living Tabernacle of the Eucharist,
with humble confidence, we ask you
to grant the Holy Father's worthy intentions
while bestowing upon him all the graces and blessings
reserved for him by the Holy Trinity from all eternity.
Amen. Leader: Help his friends... Response:
...and convert his enemies. Leader: Saint Joseph... All: Pray for us. Amen.
Prayers for the Pope
Required for the Plenary Indulgence granted to the faithful who devoutly recite the Marian rosary in a church or oratory, in a family, religious community, association of the faithful, or gathered together for some honest purpose. Also, joining the Holy Father's recitation by radio or TV. It must be five decades, continuously prayed, together with, or joined to, the meditation of the mysteries. A partial indulgence otherwise. (Apostolic Penitentiary, Manual of Indulgences, 2006, Grant 17)
The Prayer for the intention of the Pope is satisfied by an Our Father and Hail Mary, or “any other prayer according to individual piety and devotion if recited for this purpose.” (Manual, norm N20, 5.)
Other Commonly Used Prayers:
St. Michael's Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our defense 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, cast into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Just Heart of Joseph, pray for us
Disclaimer: A majority of this devotional resource was taken from the page A Beginner's Guide to the Rosary on CatholiCity.com though some of it was also obtained from several other sites listed below. It has never been copyrighted and anyone may reproduce it with the blessing of the writer Bud McFarlane, in any format per their own words.
The Unlikely History of this Guide (https://www.catholicity.com/prayer/rosary.html) With millions of readers since 1996, this is the most widely-read Rosary guide in modern times, and it was adapted from a very tiny booklet originally provided along with a simple Rosary recording that itself became the most popular in history. It was composed by Bud Macfarlane, the well-known Catholic novelist and founder of the Mary Foundation. Years before the inspiration to write the Beginners Guide came to him, Mr. Macfarlane had become frustrated by well-meaning Rosary booklets that merely presented an unexplained list of something called "mysteries," a drawing of rosary beads highlighted with arrows, and the prayers themselves. These did not attempt to explain obscure or confusing Rosary practices such as novenas, mysteries, meditation, offering intentions, "full" rosaries, indulgences, or even whether using actual rosary beads was required. It was someone else's idea to put the guide online at the dawn of the Internet. Bud updated the online version in 2002 when Pope John Paul II promulgated the Luminous Mysteries, and again in 2022. It has never been copyrighted and anyone may reproduce it with his blessing, in any format. As an author, editor, or publisher responsible for tens of millions of books, booklets, recordings, and digital publications, Bud is humbled that this little treatise, dashed off on deadline for insertion into a cassette case, is the most widely-read work he has ever written and has helped so many people. Ironically, Bud never wanted to be a writer. His full name is William Noble Macfarlane II, yet he was called Buddy Boy as a child. He is the antithesis of a much more famous Boy, the also-oddly-nicknamed John-Boy from that wonderful television series, The Waltons. Put off by the lead character's overarching ambition to become a writer, Buddy Boy once wandered into his town library in Verona, New Jersey, and concluded, upon seeing the many shelves of books not being read, that writing was a foolish pursuit. Thankfully, for those who sought and seek to learn about the Rosary, the Blessed Mother had other plans.
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