The Rosary is an ancient prayer originally given to Saint Dominic by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It has been called the prayer of the Gospel
because it covers most of the
significant events in the Life of Christ. It is prayed using
a set of Rosary beads, as illustrated below:
Saint Dominic was given three sets of Mysteries:
The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary:
1) The Annunciation
- The Angel Gabriel invites Mary to become the Mother of
2) The Visitation
- Mary, nearly three months pregnant, makes a perilous journey to visit her cousin
Elizabeth, who is six months pregnant with John the Baptist.
3) The Nativity
- Mary gives birth to Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem, with Joseph
lovingly caring for them. They were visited by
the shepherds and the wise men from the East.
4) The Presentation
- Fulfilling Jewish law, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple, where Simeon
prophesies over the Infant.
5) Finding Jesus in the Temple
- When Jesus is about 12 years old, after the Holy Family is leaving
Jerusalem from their annual Pilgrimage, they realize he is not with them. They travel three days
back to the city, where they find him in the Temple with the doctors of the law.
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary:
1) The Agony in the Garden
- Jesus, intensely aware of his impending fate, prays to the Father
that the cup of suffering would be removed from him. Yet, he always reiterates,
"not my will, but Your Will be done".
2) The Scourging at the Pillar
- Pilate, attempting to placate the crowd of Jews who want to
see Jesus put to death, has him brutally beaten with a whip.
3) The Crowning with Thorns
- Jesus is tormented by the cohort, who beat him
over the head with a reed and put a crown of thorns on his head.
4) The Carrying of the Cross
- Jesus carries his cross to Calvary. When he
becomes too weak to continue, the Roman soldiers impress Simon, the Cyrenian,
to carry it for him.
5) The Crucifixion
- Jesus is crucified. After three agonizing hours hanging
on the cross, Jesus commends his Spirit to his Father, and dies.
The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary:
1) The Resurrection
- Jesus is risen from the dead. The tomb is empty, and he
makes numerous appearances to his disciples.
2) The Ascension
- Jesus ascends to the right hand of the
Father. Before leaving, he gives his disciples the Great Commission.
3) The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- While waiting in the Upper Room as instructed
by Jesus, the Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples, giving them power to boldly
proclaim the Gospel.
4) The Assumption of Mary
- Mary is assumed into heaven, body and soul,
unaffected by the corruption of death.
5) The Coronation of Mary
- Mary is crowned queen of heaven and earth, greater
than the Cherubim, more glorious than the Seraphim
The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary:
This additional set of mysteries was introduced by Pope John Paul II:
1) The Baptism of Jesus
- Jesus meets John the Baptist and insists on being
baptized so that scripture might be fulfilled.
2) The Wedding Feast at Cana
- At Mary's prompting, Jesus turns water into
wine, thus beginning his public ministry.
3) The Kingdom of God
- Jesus continues his ministry, proclaiming
"Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."
4) The Transfiguration
- Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the mountain,
where he is Transfigured. They see him conversing with Elijah and Moses,
and hear the voice of God the Father imploring them to listen to His Son.
5) The Institution of the Eucharist
- At the Last Supper Jesus institutes
the Holy Eucharist. His Apostles, though not realizing it at the time,
were being ordained as the first priests.
At the end of the Rosary, the following two prayers are recited:
Hail Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished
children of Eve, to thee do we send
up our sighs, mourning and weeping
in this valley, of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us; and
after this our exile show unto us the
blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus;
O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the
promises of Christ.
Oh, 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.