A garland of roses

Why you should pray the Rosary

By J.E. Helm
The Sooner Catholic

Anyone shopping for a Rosary online will find an incredible variety of these beautiful beads. There are expensive Rosaries made of precious stones and inexpensive Rosaries made of string or plastic. Some Rosaries feature the medal of a saint in place of the first Our Father along with beads in a color associated with the saint.

There are Rosary bracelets, Rosary rings, Rosary keyrings, and a “car” Rosary that unhooks so it easily can be placed around the rearview mirror.

What is the appeal of this iconic symbol of Catholicism? Why do so many people love the Rosary?

The Rosary is an ancient prayer, and so it is appropriate that it is closely tied to the 2,000-year-old Catholic faith. In fact, the “Catholic Encyclopedia” notes that Mohammedans used beads, monks of some Greek churches are invested with a Rosary, and Saint Francis Xavier found prayer beads being used by Buddhist monks in Japan when he went there in the mid-1500s.

Originally, a set of 50 beads was used in Christendom to say 50 Pater Nosters, or Our Fathers. In the early Middle Ages, many people were illiterate, and while monks in their monasteries could read and chant all 150 of the Psalms in their Liturgy of the Hours, the peasant in his thatched hut could count his 150 Paters using his beads.

Around the 13th century, Mary’s Psalter came to be used, now using 150 Aves instead of Paters. The Hail Mary originally consisted of only the first part of the prayer; the second half was added later by the Church.

Saint Dominic Guzman (1170-1221), founder of the Dominican Order, is credited with originating the Rosary as we know it. There is no documented source for this, but many popes, most notably Pius V, have all ascribed the Rosary to Dominic.

Pope John Paul II was greatly devoted to Our Lady and to the Rosary, reportedly saying all 15 decades daily. He instituted the Luminous Mysteries, and in his Apostolic Letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” he teaches that “This prayer does not conflict with the liturgy, it sustains it.” Further, he writes, “The Rosary though clearly Marian in character, is at the heart a Christo-centric prayer.”

The Rosary is in a sense a simple prayer, one easily learned. In his book “The Rosary and Our Lady,” Romano Guardini maintains that “The longer one lives, the more plainly one sees that the simple things are truly great.”

In Burke and Rossini’s excellent book, “The Contemplative Rosary,” the authors write that “In the Rosary, we enter ‘the school of Mary.’ We sit at her feet as she shares the stories so close to her heart.”

There are many ways for Catholics to use these beads. Among the most well-known of these the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

To learn how to pray the Rosary, download the archdiocesan app on iTunes or Google Play or go online to usccb.org and search “Praying the Rosary.” Several pamphlets and prayer cards also can be found at local Catholic book stores or parishes.

J.E. Helm is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.

Prayers of the Rosary

The Apostles’ 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 rose 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 life everlasting.

The Our Father

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.

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among 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.

The Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

The Hail Holy Queen
(The Salve Regina)

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To you we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to you we send up our 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,
show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.