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THE SAINT MICHAEL PRAYER AND THE ROSARY
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Do you know how to say the Rosary? Would you like to walk through a fragrant rose garden of love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Divine Son, Jesus? You can get there by saying this simple yet powerful prayer! Saint Louis De Montfort, famous for encouraging devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, called the Rosary “a blessed blending of mental and vocal prayer.” He further said we “honor and learn to imitate the mysteries and virtues” of the lives of Jesus and Mary through this prayer.
In case you’ve heard it's too boring or too repetitive, think again! When you learn how to say the Rosary, you can “bond” with our Lord and His Blessed Mother as you reflect on their efforts for our salvation, and on what they endured out of love for each one of us!
They had more than their share of problems, just like we do at times! And yet, we know from our Lord’s Resurrection and His Mother's Coronation as Queen of Heaven and Earth that they also had their triumphs. This thought can help you cope with your own difficulties.
In learning how to say the Rosary we are learning how to “imitate what they [the mysteries] contain and obtain what they promise,” as we say in the final prayer below. We pray for strength and wisdom and for the graces the Rosary can give us and others.
(By the way, if the word “mysteries” makes you feel more like Inspector Clouseau than Lt. Columbo, don’t worry! You’re not solving a case! A mystery in this case refers to a particular event in the lives of Jesus and Mary.)
Getting started is simple: You can purchase a Rosary, such as the one shown at right, at any number of Catholic book stores, gift shops, or perhaps other stores online. The beads help you keep track of each mystery listed below as you meditate. (You can also use your fingers if you don’t have a Rosary.)
You start the Rosary by saying the Apostles' Creed on the cross,followed by one Our Father, three Hail Marys and one Glory Be.
Then you say the five decades of the Rosary. Each decade consists of one Our Father, followed by ten Hail Marys (which are said on each of ten beads grouped together, as in the picture above), one Glory Be, and then the Fatima Prayer (printed below).
THE FATIMA PRAYER
“Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of thy mercy.”
(Please note that the Blessed Virgin Mary specifically requested at Fatima in 1917 that we include this prayer after each decade.)
During each decade you meditate on the following events in the lives of Jesus and Mary:
The Five Joyful Mysteries
(said on Mondays and Saturdays)
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
The Five Luminous Mysteries
(Said on Thursdays)
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries
(said on Tuesdays and Fridays)
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion
The Five Glorious Mysteries
(said on Wednesdays and Sundays)
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation
(Note: we say the Sorrowful Mysteries during the Sundays of Lent and
the Joyful Mysteries on Sundays in Advent.)
Then conclude with the Hail Holy Queen prayer and the following:
"LET US PRAY: O God, whose only begotten Son, by his life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Keep in mind you can say the Rosary anywhere that works for you, while walking, commuting, or perhaps in your office, anyplace you feel you can concentrate.
Also, if it helps, you can say a decade at a time at different times of the day if you're busy. And, of course, if the spirit moves you, you can pray more than one set of mysteries a day!
Remember, in any case, that knowing how to say the Rosary opens up a wonderful world of structured meditation to help you with your prayer life. To make this easier, try different approaches to the Rosary. You can:
• Read a meditation at the start of each mystery to give you “food for thought."
• Try any number of scriptural Rosary methods, either in books or online. These usually involve reading a Biblical verse relating to the mystery you’re contemplating before each “Hail Mary.” (The events of each mystery “unfold” well that way.)
• Read and study the events, both in scripture and in commentary by the Saints and by learned religious or lay people. You’ll find you’ve learned not just how to say the Rosary but how to pray it better it as you come up with your own “Scriptural Rosary” thoughts for each decade! We also have one here if you think that might help!
You might also wish to study the history of the Rosary as well for inspiration. The Blessed Virgin Mary once said that with the Rosary and the scapular (a special piece of cloth you can wear) she could save the world.
(According to St. Louis De Montfort, tradition has it that Mary taught St. Dominic how to say the Rosary in the 13th century.)
St. Pio once refrerred to the Rosary as his “weapon” against Satan and sin. We can all form a Heavenly Army here on Earth for Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Help them help us! In addition to reciting it often (every day is best!), teach someone you know how to say the Rosary.
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