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Rosary Basics

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(This page was taken from a booklet I found and copied from over 15 years ago.  How much is verbatim I just don't know, so if the author of that booklet finds this and objects just let me know. I personally found this very helpful.)

ROSARY WE USE THE BEADS FOR THE SAKE OF THE PRAYERS AND THE PRAYERS FOR THE SAKE OF THE MYSTERIES

I. The Beads

The whole Rosary consists of fifteen decades, each of which consists of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be and each of which is associated with a Mystery in the life of Our Lord and of His Mother. The Mysteries are grouped into three sets of five decades each (referred to as the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries) and therefore the ordinary set of Rosary beads contains only five decades.

In order to maintain a balanced spiritual diet, it has become customary to pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Mondays and Thursdays and the Sundays from Advent until Lent; the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays and the Sundays in Lent; and the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesdays, Saturdays and the Sundays from Easter until Advent.

The Sign of the Cross and the Apostles' Creed at the beginning of the Rosary serve to remind us of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, wherein we were adopted into God's Family, the Holy Catholic Church, and were given the privilege to pray "Our Father." On the first lone bead we pray the Lord's Prayer as an example of what the prayer of Christians is meant to be, and then on the three following beads we pray the Hail Mary as an act of petition for Faith, Hope, and Charity, the three Theological Virtues which should be the fruit of our use of the Rosary. Since devotion to the Blessed Mother always leads us closer to God, we follow the Hail Marys with the Glory Be to the Father as an act of pure adoration of the Holy Trinity--Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of both her and us.

At the beginning of each decade it is an excellent custom to offer your prayers and meditations as an act of petition, of intercession, or of thanksgiving. An appropriate formula and several possible schemes are given in following pages.

When using the Scriptural Rosary, it is customary to read each verse from the Bible before the Hail Mary. Some, however, prefer to read all ten verses straight through and then let the Holy Spirit guide their thoughts uninterruptedly throughout the 10 Hail Marys.

The Joyful Mysteries

1. the Annunciation
2. the Visitation
3. Jesus' Birth
4. Presentation in the Temple
5. Finding in the Temple

The Sorrowful Mysteries

1. Agony in the Garden
2. Scourging at the Pillar
3. Crowning with Thorns
4. Carrying the Cross
5. the Crucifixion

The Glorious Mysteries

1. the Ressurrection
2. the Ascension
3. Descent of the Holy  Spirit
4. Assumption of Mary
5. the Coronation

II. The Prayers

I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker 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. The third day He rose again form the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits 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. Amen.

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. Amen.

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. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Petition: (after Glory Be at end of each decade)

O 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.

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 towards 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.

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III. The Mysteries

The fifteen Mysteries recall us time and again to the realities at the heart of our Faith. By pondering these central events in the life of Our Lord and of His Mother we grow more and more into the evangelical simplicity and spiritual humility evidenced by the prayers themselves which we recite.

As an aid in meditating upon the Mysteries, many have found it helpful to ask themselves three questions--

WHO are the characters in this act of the drama of Redemption?

WHY do they speak and act the way they do?

WHAT does all this have to do with my life?

A similar approach focuses upon the three "L" 's--

LOOK at Jesus and Mary in this Mystery.

LEARN from them the virtues you need in your own spiritual pilgrimage.

LIVE what you have learned.

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