By tradition, the rosary was given to Saint Dominic in an apparition by the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year 1214 in the church of Prouille. This Marian apparition received the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.

In the 15th century it was promoted by Blessed Alanus de Rupe (aka Alain de la Roche or Saint Alan of the Rock), a learned Dominican priest and theologian, who established the "15 rosary promises" and started many rosary confraternities. However, most scholarly research suggests a more gradual and organic development of the rosary.

The practice of meditation during the praying of the Hail Marys is attributed to Dominic of Prussia (1382–1460), a Carthusian monk, who called it "Life of Jesus Rosary" The German monk from Trier added a sentence to each of the 50 Hail Marys, using quotes from scriptures. In 1569, the papal bull Consueverunt Romani Pontifices by the Dominican Pope Pius V officially established the devotion to the rosary in the Catholic Church.

From the 16th to the early 20th century, the structure of the rosary remained essentially unchanged.[20] There were 15 mysteries, one for each of the 15 decades. In the 20th century the addition of the Fatima Prayer to the end of each decade became more common. There were no other changes until 2002 when John Paul II instituted five optional new Luminous Mysteries.

The Mysteries of the rosary follow the life of Christ from the Annunciation to the Ascension. They are meant as meditations on the life of Christ. The meditations are known as the Joyful (sometimes Joyous) Mysteries; the Sorrowful Mysteries; and the Glorious Mysteries.

Each of these Mysteries has within it five different stages of Christ's life to be contemplated. Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 2002), recommended an additional set called the Luminous Mysteries (or the "Mysteries of Light").

Traditional Catholics who prefer the original fifteen mysteries point to the belief that the Rosary is Mary's Psalter, containing 150 Hail Marys in its body for the 150 Psalms.

Moreover, traditional Catholics sometimes do not pray the Luminous Mysteries of John Paul II because they assert that the Holy Rosary with its fifteen mysteries was instituted directly by the Mother of God.[31] Traditional Catholics hold that if Mary instituted 150 Hail Mary's with fifteen distinct mysteries, then not even a Pope can "add" to what she commanded - just as a Pope could not also "add" extra Psalms to the Bible.

This belief is also based on the vision of Our Lady of Fatima, which speak of 150 Hail Mary's and "one third of the Rosary" being only five decades. The Luminous Mysteries bring the total to 200 Hail Mary's, which would contradict Mary's words.

Moreover, advocates of the traditional fifteen decade Rosary note that it parallels Saint Paul's threefold progression of his argument in Philippians 2: 5-11, namely the Incarnation, the Passion, and the Exaltation of Christ corresponding to the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries.

JOYFUL MYSTERIES

1. The Annunciation. Fruit of the Mystery: Humility

2. The Visitation. Fruit of the Mystery: Love of Neighbours

3. The Nativity. Fruit of the Mystery: Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor

4. The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: Purity, Obedience

5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: True Wisdom and True Conversion, Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus

LUMINOUS MYSTERIES

1. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Fruit of the Mystery: Openness to the Holy Spirit, the Healer.

2. The Wedding at Cana. Fruit of the Mystery: To Jesus through Mary. The understanding of the ability to manifest-through faith.

3. Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Fruit of the Mystery: Trust in God (Call of Conversion to Messiah)

4. The Transfiguration. Fruit of the Mystery: Desire for Holiness

5. The Institution of the Eucharist. Fruit of the Mystery: Adoration

SORROWFUL MYSTERIES

1. The Agony in the Garden. Fruit of the Mystery: Sorrow for Sin, Uniformity with the will of God

2. The Scourging at the Pillar. Fruit of the Mystery: Mortification, Purity

3. The Crowning with Thorns. Fruit of the Mystery: Contempt of the world, Courage

4. The Carrying of the Cross. Fruit of the Mystery: Patience

5. The Crucifixion. Fruit of the Mystery: Salvation, Forgiveness

GLORIOUS MYSTERIES

1. The Resurrection. Fruit of the Mystery: Faith

2. The Ascension. Fruit of the Mystery: Hope and desire for ascension to Heaven

3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Mystery: Holy Wisdom to know the truth and share with everyone, Divine Charity, Worship of the Holy Spirit

4. The Assumption of Mary. Fruit of the Mystery: Grace of a Happy Death and True Devotion towards Mary

5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Fruit of the Mystery: Perseverance and Crown of Glory, Trust in Mary's Intercession

DAYS OF PRAYING

The full rosary consists of praying either all 3 traditional sets of mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious) or the 3 traditional sets of mysteries plus the luminous mysteries. One can pray the complete rosary (i.e. all 15 or 20 mysteries) each day.

When praying just one set of mysteries per day, traditionally the prayers take the following format:

Day of praying

With the Luminous Mysteries

Without the Luminous Mysteries

Sunday

The Glorious Mysteries

Advent and Christmas: The Joyful Mysteries
Lent to Palm Sunday: The Sorrowful Mysteries
Ordinary Time, Easter to Sunday before Advent: The Glorious Mysteries

Monday

The Joyful Mysteries

The Joyful Mysteries

Tuesday

The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries

Wednesday

The Glorious Mysteries

The Glorious Mysteries

Thursday

The Luminous Mysteries

The Joyful Mysteries

Friday

The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries

Saturday

The Joyful Mysteries

The Glorious Mysteries

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said: "Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women".

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her:" Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest"... And Mary said:" Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word". And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1, 26-38)

Prayer: Oh Mary with Your "yes" You have opened heaven's ways; you have achieved the will of the Father. You will be blessed for ever: Your intercession is heard in Heaven, because you have accepted God's plan. Let us pray that we can say "yes" to the Father in every instance He asks it of us. Mary helps us to be humble and obedient to God's will.

Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost and she spoke out with a loud voice, and said: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb". ... And Mary said: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For the hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name"... (Luke 1, 39-49)

Prayer: Mary goes to visit Elisabeth: She carries God to Her cousin, for the love of her brothers and neighbours. Lord helps us to carry Christ to others, like Mary did. Let us ask Mary the gift of burning charity.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them: "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger". (Luke 2, 6-12)

Prayer: Infant Jesus in the manger. Mary, Joseph and the shepherds adore Him. Let us also adore Christ, the Son of God, in the silence of our soul and from the depth of our heart. Let us ask Mary to make us love Jesus more, and also the gift of poverty of spirit.

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. ...When the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said: "Lord, now latest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation... A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."(Luke 2, 22-35)

Prayer: We need to pay attention to the voice of God, to discern His call and accept the mission He gave us. After the Simeon prophecy, Mary takes into Her Heart the wound of sorrow, but in the silence she accepts the will of Her Father.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the pass over. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him: "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing".

And he said unto them: "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" And they understood not the saying which he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. (Luke 2, 41-51)

Prayer: Let us think of how many times we have been far from Jesus; from that Jesus, who with so much love has died for us. Let us meditate that in the difficulties of life the only safety is finding Jesus and never again leaving his great love.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness." Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.

And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3, 13-17)

Prayer: The Baptism in the Jordan is first of all a mystery of light. Here, as Christ descends into the waters, the innocent one who became “sin” for our sake (cf. 2Cor 5:21), the heavens open wide and the voice of the Father declares him the beloved Son (cf. Mt 3:17 and parallels), while the Spirit descends on him to invest him with the mission which he is to carry out.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine." "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.

He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (John 2, 1-12)

Prayer: when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of the disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers.

“The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1, 15)

Prayer: The preaching by which Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God, calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him in humble trust (cf. Mk 2:3-13; Lk 7:47- 48): the inauguration of that ministry of mercy which he continues to exercise until the end of the world, particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation which he has entrusted to his Church (cf. Jn 20:22-23).

About eight days after Jesus said this; he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus.

They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen. (Luke 9, 28-35)

Prayer: The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with him to the joy of the Resurrection and a life transfigured by the Holy Spirit.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.

"I tell you the truth; I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." (Mark 14, 22-25)

Prayer: Christ offers his body and blood as food under the signs of bread and wine, and testifies “to the end” his love for humanity (Jn 13:1), for whose salvation he will offer himself in sacrifice.

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and said unto the disciples, Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder.

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then said he unto them: "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me". And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying: "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt". (Mat 26, 36-39).

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22, 44)

Prayer: In the forsaking prayer to the Father, Jesus found strength, trust, and an angel was sent to comfort Him. So Jesus will be our comforting angel. It's as He said to us: “Why do you worry in your difficulties? Be strong in me; look to your God in your most troubled hour, and you will be triumphant." Let us ask to forsake ourselves to God, to always do His will.

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying: "Art thou the King of the Jews?" And Jesus said unto him: "Thou sayest". And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

Then said Pilate unto him:" Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?" And he answered him to never a word Pilate saith unto them: "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" They all say unto him: "Let him be crucified!" And the governor said:" Why, what evil hath he done?" But they cried out the more, saying: "Let him be crucified!" (Matthew 27).

And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. (Mark 15, 15)

Prayer: How many pains, how many torments, and how many wounds on the body of Jesus? How much blood falls to the ground, while His tormenters laugh, insult him, and gather their strength to hit the innocent body of Jesus again? Let us ask to accept every insult for the love of our Lord, and also a true regret for our sins.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying:" Hail, King of the Jews!" And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. (Matthew 27, 27-31)

Prayer: Think of the indignity, outrage, pain, and humiliation that Jesus suffered. They stripped Him of every dignity; He was treated as the guilt of our worst sins. He seems to say to us: “Why do you despair when you suffer? Is that the way you love me? Meditate about my passions and find in them great riches." Let us ask the gift of patience to accept all humiliations, thinking of how Jesus suffered for us.

As they were leading him away they seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder the cross and carry it behind Jesus. Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him.

But Jesus turned to them and said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.

For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, "Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!" Then they will begin to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!” to the hills, "Cover us!" For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?' Now they were also leading out two others, criminals, to be executed with him. (Luke 23,26-32)

Prayer: Even if He had suffered just for you, Jesus would have accepted such pains; great is His love for you. Along the road to Calvary Jesus sees Mary, His Mother. Can we imagine the moment when their eyes met? Oh how Her Heart must have ached. Let us pray to Mary for the grace to always accept our cross.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother:" Woman, behold thy son!" Then saith he to the disciple: "Behold thy mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (John 19, 25-27)

Prayer: Jesus wishes to see us close to His Mother; He wishes that, like children, we keep our hand in the hand of Mary. That is what He wants. He asks us to look to the heavenly Mother that is depending on her. He asks that we accept Our Lady as our true Mother, who will ignite in us a fervent love of Her Son. Mary, we trust in you, takes us and put us in the refuge of Your Immaculate Heart, heals with your humility our pride that so often takes us far from God.

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

And the angel answered and said unto the women: "Fear not ye! For I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here. For he is risen, as he said". (Matthew 28, 1-6)

Prayer: The risen Jesus has proved that man, together with Him, can have power over sin and therefore death. Jesus, help raise us, deliver us from sin, from evil, give us your light, give us your joy. Rekindle inside us the love, the faith, the hopefulness, and the gift of prayer. Let us ask Mary for the gift of an unshakeable faith.

And as they are speaking these things, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith to them, "Peace to you"; being amazed, and becoming affrighted, they were thinking themselves to see a spirit.

And he said to them, "Why are ye troubled? and wherefore do reasonings come up in your hearts? see my hands and my feet, that I am he; handle me and see, because a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me having." And having said this, he shewed to them the hands and the feet. ... "And, lo, I do send the promise of my Father upon you, but ye -- abide ye in the city of Jerusalem till ye be clothed with power from on high." And he led them forth without -- unto Bethany, and having lifted up his hands he did bless them, and it came to pass, in his blessing them, he was parted from them, and was borne up to the heaven. (Luke 24, 36-51)

Prayer: Jesus, You have not deserted Your apostles in anguish, but have given them the joy of knowing Jesus "glorified" over 40 days . After Your Ascension, You granted to all those who seek you the gift of receiving You in the Eucharist. Through Mary we trust in you. Mary, give us the gift of hope

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2, 1-4)

Prayer: Jesus, infuse us with the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, enlighten us with the light of Your Spirit, with His strength enter in the deepest parts of our hearts and heal us. Deliver us, fill up our hearts with Your love. Make us apostles of yours, dear Lord. Let us ask Mary the gift of true love, the gift of prayer from the heart. "Come Holy Spirit; come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your well-beloved Spouse."

Blessed art thou of the most high God above all the women upon the earth; and blessed be the Lord God, which hath created the heavens and the earth, which hath directed thee to the cutting off of the head of the chief of our enemies. ... Thou hast done all these things by thine hand: thou hast done much good to Israel, and God is pleased therewith: blessed are thou of the Almighty Lord for evermore. And all the people said, so be it. (Judith 13, 18-20; 15, 10)

Prayer: Now that Mary is raised into heaven, she prays for Her sons and daughters, those sons and daughters Jesus left Her when He was on the cross. Mary, pray for us, You know our fears, take us into Your Heart, the Heart of a Mother. Help us now and in the time of our death to be with You in Heaven. We ask of you a devotion to Your Immaculate Heart, where we may take refuge in times of trouble.

There appeared a great sign in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rev 12, 1)

Prayer: Let us trust in Mary, Let us call to Her, let us love Her, let us confide in her, because She gives her all to us. We have a Mother in Heaven who is also a Queen; thus we need to turn to her with full faith and hopefulness. If we ask for something while praying the Holy Rosary, it will be granted to us. Ask her for the gift of prayer, a prayer of the heart, said only for love, a love for her and Jesus. Let us also ask for a consistency of prayer, to always be joined to Her Heart, and therefore to the Heart of Jesus.

 


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