Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

Ave Maria! Rosary Part 1

Previously…

As promised in the introductory post titled Ave Maria!, here is the first post on what the Rosary is.  Over the next few weeks, I plan to explore the Rosary in more detail.  Please remember that I am not an expert in theology or the Church’s teaching and am on this journey to learn more about Christ.

What is it?

The Rosary is a litany of petitions and prayers to Mary and God that meditate on the life of Christ.  These prayers are said repeatedly in a particular order centered on a Mystery (the truth of the faith that is known to us only from the revelation of God) to allow the person to focus on different aspects of Christ’s life.  The Rosary is often connected to the Catholic Church; however, it is something that anyone with the desire to become closer to God can pray.  Traditionally, people use a set of rosary beads in order to keep track of where the person is in the Rosary.  This also frees one’s mind to focus on Christ rather than counting the number of prayers [1].

The chaplet is often recited on beads as a ros...

The Rosary (pictured to the above) begins on the cross, works its way around a decade at a time, and ends again on the cross [1].  In this way, the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ is reflected upon [2].  A full rosary is 150 of Hail Mary’s (a prayer to be discussed in a later post), with fifteen Mysteries or events in Jesus’ life (Pope John Paul added another set of 50 Hail Mary’s and five mysteries in 2002, however these are considered optional) [2].  Often times only five Mysteries are prayed at a time.  (Details on how the Rosary is prayed will be included in a future post.)

The repetition of the Hail Mary and Our Father prayers are intended to be a backdrop for the internal meditations of Christ’s life.  As The Rosary Army describes it, the repetitious prayers are like the background music to a movie, and the events in Christ’s life are the scenes of the movie [3].  In this way, the Rosary becomes a pathway to God and not a vain repetitious prayer that Jesus warns against in Mathew 6:7 [1, 2, 3]. 

Pope John Paul II describes the duty of Christians to contemplate the life of Christ in his Apostolic Letter titled Rosarium Virginis Mariae.  “To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father:  This is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us.  In contemplating Christ’s face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit.” [2]

My next posts will cover more on what the Rosary is, a little on the Catholics’ love for Mary, and the difference between Marian and Christocentric worship.

Everything I post is from my own interpretation of my research.  I invite all to verify my findings through your own research and the resources listed below.

References

[1]  “Among Women” Podcast, Episode 20, by Pat Gohn.  http://www.patgohn.com/patgohn/Among_Women_Podcast/Entries/2009/8/11_Among_Women_Podcast_20.html

[2]  Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II, October 16, 2002.  http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae_en.html

[3]  “The Rosary Army” Podcast, Episode #17 – Pray it, Don’t Say It, by Greg and Jennifer Willits.  http://www.rosaryarmy.com/?p=237

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