Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

Ave Maria! Part 3

on October 31, 2011


This is a continuation of the posts on the Holy Rosary titled Ave Maria!  The previous posts are as follows:

This post will cover a couple of different ways to pray the Rosary.  I encourage all to visit the websites and documents that I reference at the end of the post for more information on the subject.

How is it Prayed?

While researching how the Rosary is prayed, I discovered that there are many ways based on culture, tradition and reformation.  In an essence, there are standard prayers in the Rosary, but I get this sense that as long as the Rosary is said with the meditative focus on the life of Jesus, there is no right or wrong way to pray it.  Of course, the Church does have a standard way for the Rosary to be prayed, however a person is not condemned for not following this standard or for not being able to meditate on all 20 Mysteries in  one sitting [1].

generally available marian image image created...

I personally have struggled with the Rosary for many reasons.  The top reasons was its devotion to Mary and that I did not understand that the Rosary is a meditative prayer.  I fell into the trap of just reciting the prayers to say that I’ve recited them.  I did not know that there was more than one way to pray the Rosary or that the Rosary can be practiced as just one Mystery at a time instead of five or twenty.  Pope John Paul II reminds us that the Rosary was a body and a soul– the body is the prayers and the soul is the meditations.  Without its soul, the Rosary is just an empty babbling of words.  The meditations are defined by the Mysteries of the Rosary [2].

But what is a Mystery?  The broad definition of a Mystery from the view point of the Church is an idea that we need revelation from God to understand [1].  The Trinity is an example of a Mystery; it is something that is difficult to understand without faith in God.  A Mystery in terms of the Rosary is a segment of Mary and Jesus’ life that is focused on during the recitation of the prayers.  The Mysteries of course were standardized by the Church, and these Mysteries highlight the critical points in Mary and Jesus’ life that the beliefs and foundations of the Church is based on [3].

These Mysteries are as follows [3]:

Joyful Mysteries

  • The Annunciation– The messenger of God visits Mary to ask her to carry the Son of God
  • The Visitation– Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth while both were pregnant
  • The Nativity– The birth of Jesus
  • The Presentation– Mary and Joseph present baby Jesus to the temple
  • The Finding of Jesus in the Temple– Mary and Joseph lose Jesus for three days only to find him teaching and learning in the temple

Luminous Mysteries (Added by Pope John Paul II)

  • The Baptism in the Jordan– The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus when he was baptized
  • The Wedding at Cana– Jesus’ first miracle performed at the urging of his mother
  • Proclamation of the Kingdom–Jesus preached to the people about the coming of the Kingdom
  • Transfiguration of our Lord– Jesus’ face shone with the glory of God
  • The Last Supper– the institution of the Eucharist

Christ on the Cross cropped. Crop of old Mass ...

Sorrowful Mysteries

  • The Agony in the Garden– Jesus prayed while he was being betrayed
  • Scourging at the Pillar– Pilate had Jesus scourged
  • The Crowning of Thorns– The guards mocked Jesus, adorning him with a crown of thorns
  • Carrying of the Cross– Jesus fell three times while carrying the cross
  • The Crucifixion of the Lord– The death of Jesus

Glorious Mysteries

  • The Resurrection– After three days, Jesus rose from the dead
  • The Ascension– After forty days with his apostles, Jesus ascended into heaven
  • The Descent of the Holy Spirit– Like tongues of flames, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples
  • The Assumption– The Mother of God was assumed into heaven, body and soul
  • The Coronation– The Mother of God was crowned Queen

There will be a page added with a guide on how to pray the regular Rosary and also the Scriptural Rosary.


[1]  The Rosary. Women for Faith and Family,

[2]  Prayers, The Rosary Army,

[3]  The Holy Rosary, The Vatican Holy See,


One response to “Ave Maria! Part 3

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