The History of the Rosary
The Holy Rosary is an ancient aid to devotion that has been used by the Church to meditate on Our Lord’s life, ministry, death, Resurrection and Ascension through the particular point of view of his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to ask that its prayers be joined with those of Our Lady. Therefore, while it bears a considerable resemblence to prayer systems used throughout the world, such as the knotted prayer ropes that Orthodox monks wear around their waists and the prayer beads used in the Middle East, it is much more than simply a system for remembering how many times a particular prayer has been said.
The Rosary of Our Lady had its greatest proponent in St Dominic, who was visited by Our Lady and given the Rosary as a means by which the people of the Church of God could be encouraged to pray for the Unity of the Church. St Dominic promoted its use during a preaching campaign in the south of France. Its use has spread throughout the Church ever since.
The Mysteries of the Rosary
There are four sets of five mysteries of the Rosary – the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous Mysteries. They are generally prayed according to the pattern described below, although it can be varied if, for instance, you are able only say the Rosary on the same day each week and want to pray all the Mystries in rotation on that day.
The Joyful Mysteries – prayed on Mondays and Saturdays
The Finding in the Temple
The Luminous Mysteries – Thursdays
The Baptism of the Lord in the River Jordan
The First Miracle of Our Lord at the Wedding at Cana
The Proclamation of the Kingdom in Our Lord’s Teaching
The Institution of the Eucharist
The Sorrowful Mysteries – Tuesdays and Fridays
The Agony in the Garden
The Crowning with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The The Crucifixion
The Glorious Mysteries – Wednesdays and Sundays
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Assumption of Our Lady
The Coronation of Our Lady