Otherwise called "The Beads..."
(This text is from a book published in 1906. Therefore it may use odd language and syntax, and it would not reflect attitudinal changes that have occurred since Vatican II.)
THE devotion of the Rosary contributes wonderfully to the destruction of sin, the recovery of grace, and the promotion of the glory of God. --Gregory XVI.
The Rosary is one of the most beautiful, most profitable, and most popular of all devotions. It was revealed to St. Dominic by the divine Mother herself, about the beginning of the thirteenth century, and has continued ever since to be... a favorite with all... of the faithful,... while to despise it is an indication of an un-Catholic spirit." (However, this is a devotion not a doctrine. It is not necessary for salvation so we use it if it "works" for us, if we find it a useful prayer.)
"The Rosary consists of fifteen parts. Each part consists of one Our Father and ten Hail Marys, a mystery, and one Glory be to the Father. No other prayers whatever form part of the Rosary; those that are said before or after it, or after each decade, are merely pious additions. By mystery is understood an event in the life of Our Lord or of His holy Mother. These mysteries are divided into three series of five each, called the Joyful, the Sorrowful and the Glorious mysteries.
It has become customary to say only the third part of the Rosary, that is, five decades each day. In that case, though you may say either the Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious Mysteries at your choice, yet it is the prevalent custom to say the Joyful Mysteries on Mondays and Thursdays and during Advent, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays and during Lent, and the Glorious on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. When you reflect on the sublime excellence of this form of prayer, you must perceive not only the sanctity of the Rosary, but also the respect, humility, confidence, and devotion with which it should be said.
If, every day, you are faithful to present this little crown to the most Blessed Virgin, you may cherish the encouraging hope that She will obtain for you, from Her Divine Son, a crown of immortal glory. Frequently recall to memory these beautiful words of Father Faber: "Our beads place us and leave us at the feet of Mary, crowned with an everlasting diadem."
(The Joyful Mysteries assigned for Mondays and Thursdays throughout the year, the Sundays of Advent, and the Sundays after Epiphany till Lent.)
Let us contemplate, in this mystery, how the Angel Gabriel saluted our Blessed Lady with the title "Full of grace," and declared Unto her the Incarnation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One our Father, Ten Hail Mary's, one Glory be to the Father...
O HOLY Mary, Queen of Virgins , through the most high Mystery of the Incarnation of your beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ wherein our salvation was begun, obtain for us, through your most holy intercession, light to understand the greatness of the benefit He has bestowed upon us, in vouchsafing to become Our Brother, and giving you, His own beloved Mother, to be our Mother also. Amen.
LET us contemplate in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, understanding from the Angel that her cousin St. Elizabeth had conceived, went with haste into the mountains of Judea to visit her, bearing her Divine Son within her womb, and remained with her three months. One our Father, Ten Hail Mary's, Glory be to the Father...
O HOLY Virgin, most spotless mirror of humility by that exceeding charity which moved you to visit your holy cousin, St. Elizabeth, obtain for us, through your intercession, that Our hearts being visited by your Divine Son, and freed from all sin, we may praise and give thanks to Him forever. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, when the time of her delivery was come, brought forth Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ at midnight, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inns at Bethlehem. Our Father, etc.
O MOST pure Mother of God, through your virginal and most joyful delivery, whereby you gave to the world your only Son, Our Savior, we beseech you, obtain for us, through your intercession, the grace to lead such pure and holy lives in this world, that we may become worthy to sing without ceasing, the mercies of your Son, and His benefits to us by you. Amen.
LET us contemplate in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the day of her purification presented the child Jesus in the Temple, where holy Simon, giving thanks to God, with great devotion received Him into his arms. Our Father, etc.
O HOLY Virgin, most admirable Mistress and pattern of obedience who did present the Lord of the Temple in the Temple of God ; obtain for us, of your blessed Son, that, with holy Simeon and devout Anna, we may praise and glorify Him for ever. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this mystery, how the Blessed Virgin Mary, after having lost (through no fault of hers) her beloved Son in Jerusalem, sought Him for the space of three days; and at length found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the Doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions, being of the age of twelve years. Our Father, etc.
O MOST Blessed Virgin, more than martyr in your sufferings, and yet the comfort of such as are afflicted! by that unspeakable joy wherewith your soul was filled when at length you did find your well-beloved Son in the Temple, teaching in the midst of the Doctors; obtain of Him that we may so seek Him and find Him in His holy Catholic Church, as never more to be separated from Him. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen mother of Mercy; our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope! to you do we cry, poor banished sons of Eve, to you do we send up out sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate! your eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile is ended, show unto us the blessed, fruit of your womb, Jesus ; O clement! O loving! O sweet Virgin Mary!
V. Make me worthy to praise you, holy Virgin.
R. Give me strength against your enemies.
Blessed be God in His Angels and His Saints. Amen.
HEAR, O merciful God the prayer of your servants; that we who meet together in the society of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, may, through her intercession, be delivered by you from the dangers that continually hang over us through the merits of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
O God, Whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has laid open to us the rewards of everlasting life ; grant, we beseech you, that, pondering in our hearts these Mysteries in the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they set forth, and obtain what they promise; through the same Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(The Dolorous or Sorrowful Mysteries for Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the year, and the Sundays in Lent.)
Let US contemplate, in this Mystery, how Our Lord Jesus was so afflicted for us in the garden of Gethsemane, that His body was bathed in a bloody sweat, which ran down in great drops to the ground. Our Father, etc.
O MOST Holy Virgin, more than martyr, by that ardent prayer which our beloved Savior poured forth to His heavenly Father in the garden, vouchsafe to intercede for us, that, our passions being reduced to the obedience of reason, we may always, and in all things, conform and subject ourselves to the will of God. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this Mystery how our Lord Jesus Christ was most cruelly scourged in Pilate's house... Our Father, etc.
MOTHER of God, overflowing fountain of patience, through those stripes which your only and much beloved Son vouchsafed to suffer for us, obtain of Him for us grace to mortify our rebellious senses, to avoid the occasion of sin, and to be ready to suffer everything rather than, offend God. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this Mystery, how those cruel [soldiers made] a crown of sharp thorns, and cruelly pressed it on the sacred head of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Father etc.
O MOTHER of Our Eternal Prince, the King of Glory, by those sharp thorns wherewith His sacred head was pierced, we beseech you obtain, through your intercession, that we may be delivered from all motions of pride, and escape that shame which our sins deserve at the day of judgment. Amen.
Let us contemplate, in this Mystery, how Our Lord Jesus Christ, being sentenced to die, bore with the most amazing patience the cross which was laid upon Him for His greater torment and ignominy. Our Father, etc.
O HOLY Virgin example of patience, by the most painful carrying of the cross, in which your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, bore the heavy weight of our sins, obtain for us of him, through your intercession, courage and strength to follow His steps, and bear Our cross after Him to the end of our lives. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this Mystery, how Our Lord Jesus Christ, being come to Mount Calvary, was stripped of His clothes, and His hands and feet nailed to the cross, in the presence of His most afflicted Mother. Our Father, etc.
O HOLY Mary, Mother of God, as the body of your beloved Son was for us stretched upon the cross may we offer up our souls and bodies to be crucified with Him, and our hearts to be pierced with grief at His most bitter Passion; and you, O most sorrowful Mother I graciously vouchsafe* to help us, by your all-powerful intercession, to accomplish the work of our salvation. Amen.
Salve Regina and Prayers, as before.
The Glorious Mysteries for Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the yeas~ and Sundays after Easter, until Advent.
Let us contemplate, in this Mystery, how Our Lord Jesus Christ, triumphing gloriously over death rose again the third day, immortal and impassible. Our Father, etc.
GLORIOUS Virgin Mary, by that unspeakable joy which you did receive in the resurrection of your Divine Son, we beseech you obtain for us of Him, that our hearts may never go astray after the false joys of this world, but may be for ever wholly employed in the pursuit of the only true and solid joys of heaven. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this Mystery, how Our Lord Jesus Christ, forty days after His resurrection, ascended into heaven, attended by angels, in the sight, and to the great admiration of His most holy Mother, and His holy Apostles and Disciples. Our Father, etc.
O MOTHER Of God, comforter of the afflicted as your beloved Son, when He ascended into heaven, lifted up His hands and blessed His Apostles as He was parted from them; so vouchsafe, most holy Mother, to lift up your pure hands to Him on our behalf, that we may enjoy the benefits of His blessing, and of yours, here on earth, and hereafter in heaven Amen.
LET us Contemplate in this Mystery, how Our Lord Jesus Christ, being seated on the right hand of God, sent, as He had promised, the Holy Ghost upon His Apostles, who, after He was ascended, returning to Jerusalem, continued in prayer and supplication with the blessed Virgin Mary, expecting the performance of His promise. Our Father, etc.
O SACRED Virgin, Tabernacle of the Holy Ghost ! we beseech you obtain, by yours intercession, that this most sweet Comforter, whom your beloved Son sent down upon His Apostles, filling them thereby with spiritual joy, may teach us in this world the true way of salvation, and make us to walk in the path of virtue and good works. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this Mystery, how the glorious Virgin, twelve years after the resurrection of Her Son, passed out of this world unto Him, and was by Him assumed into heaven, accompanied by the holy Angels. Our Father, etc.
O MOST prudent Virgin who, entering the heavenly palaces, did fill the angels with joy and man with hope; vouchsafe to intercede for us at the hour of our death, that, being delivered from the illusions and temptations of the devil, we may joyfully and securely pass out of this temporal state, to enjoy the happiness of eternal life. Amen.
LET us contemplate, in this Mystery how the glorious Virgin Mary was, to the great jubilee and exultation of the whole court of heaven, and particular glory of all the Saints, crowned by Her Son with the brightest diadem of glory. Our Father, etc.
O GLORIOUS Queen of the heavenly host, we beseech you accept this rosary, which, as a crown of roses, we offer at your feet; and grant, most gracious Lady, that, by your intercession, our souls may be inflamed with so ardent a desire of seeing you so gloriously crowned, that it may never die within us, until it shall be changed into the happy fruition of your blessed sight. Amen.
Salve Regina, etc., as before."
Anon., The Key of Heaven, Grainey Brothers, Helena, Mont. (1906) pp. 469-494.
You can view another explanation of how to pray the rosary or see the material on the rosary at Awaken to Prayer.
Pope John Paul II has suggested 5 new mysteries be added to the meditations of the rosary. They are: "(1) his Baptism in the Jordan, (2) his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, (3) his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, (4) his Transfiguration, and finally, (5) his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery." The document that contains these new mysteries is Rosarium Virginis Mariæ.
*Vouchsafe \Vouch*safe"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Vouchsafed; p. pr. & vb. n. Vouchsafing.] [Vouch + safe, that is, to vouch or answer for safety.] 1. To condescend to grant; to concede; to bestow. (From Dictionary.com)
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