Not every day is a good day In an Irish Home. Some days are average, some days are not so great, and some days are dreadful enough that we need a bit of heavenly help to make it through the hours.
Yesterday was one such day: a close family member was in hospital having surgery and, well, you know yourself, no operation is without its possible complications so there was a good deal of worry going round. While the clock ticked away quietly in the background and we waited for word from the Professor (surgeon), I did what any good Irish woman does in these situations…I started to pray.
Now don’t get me wrong…I am no Holy woman, or even a good Catholic for that matter, but I do have a strong sense of faith and I pray regularly. For the most part, my prayers are of a conversational nature…”Hello God…it’s me…again!” or “Thank you, Lord, for the parking space near the shop door!” Other times, however, I need the comfort of a traditional prayer or set of prayers to calm my heart and mind and, in those moments, I turn to the old Catholic standby…the Rosary.
To those unfamiliar with the Catholic Rosary, it is an instrument of prayer and mediation. It’s real purpose is to allow a person to mediate on the mysteries of Christ’s life. I, however, like to use the Rosary to centre my mind and bring myself and/or my problems closer to God.
A Rosary consists of four Mysteries (the Joyful, the Sorrowful, the Glorious, and the Luminous), and each of these Mysteries is broken into five “Decades”, representing an event in the life of Jesus. Each Mystery is assigned to a different day of the week. For example: the Joyful Mysteries are prayed Monday and Saturday; the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday; The Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday and Sunday; and the Luminous (also known as the Mysteries of Light) on Thursday. Also, as you can see from the diagram below, a Rosary is broken up into various prayers:.
To begin praying the Rosary, one starts by making the Sign of the Cross (saying “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”) and then reciting the Apostles’ Creed. Next, one prays the Our Father, three Hail Marys, and a Glory Be to the Father on the beads connecting the crucifix (cross) to the rest of the beads. Then begin the Mysteries: start by announcing the Mystery, followed by announcing the first Decade of the Mystery. Pray one Our Father, ten Hail Mary’s, and one Glory Be to the Father and follow this with the Fatima prayer. Announce the next Decade and recite the same thirteen prayers (one Our Father, ten Hail Mary’s, one Glory be to the Father, one Fatima prayer again and then do it three more times (for a total of five times). Finally, there is one last Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, and a concluding prayer of the Hail Holy Queen prayer and the Sign of the Cross.
For anyone interested in praying the Rosary, below I’ve written out the four Mysteries and their Decades, the Fatima prayer, the Hail Holy Queen prayer and an extra prayer to the Hail Holy Queen that my mother-in-law always says when she says the Rosary. And, just to finish off this post, the surgery went well and the patient should be home tomorrow mid-day…thank God!
Prayers of the Rosary
Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Apostles’ Creed (your version may be different depending on when you learned it and where you’re from): I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator 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 from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated 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: 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: Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are 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: 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 Prayer: O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.
Hail Holy Queen: Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, 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 vale 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! Amen.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
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 you, that meditating on these Mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Four Mysteries and Their Decades
The Joyful Mysteries & Its Five Decades
1. The Annunciation – Mary is visited by the Angel Gabriel and asks her if she will be the Mother of the Saviour.
2. The Visitation – Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth who says, “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.”
3. The Nativity – Jesus is born.
4. The Presentation – Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the Temple after his birth to present him.
5. The Finding in the Temple – Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the Temple discussing his faith with the Elders.
The Sorrowful Mysteries & Its Five Decades
1. The Agony in the Garden – The thought of our sins and His coming suffering causes the agonizing Savior to sweat blood.
2. The Scourging at the Pillar – Jesus is stripped and scourged until His body is one mass of bloody wounds.
3. The Crowning with Thorns – Jesus’s claim to kingship is ridiculed by putting a crown of thorns on His head and a reed in His hand.
4. The Carrying of the Cross – Jesus shoulders His own cross and carries it to the place of crucifixion while Mary follows Him sorrowing.
5. The Crucifixion – Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies after three hours of agony witnessed by His Mother.
The Glorious Mysteries & Its Five Decades
1. The Resurrection – Jesus rises from the dead on Easter Sunday, glorious and immortal, as He has predicted.
2. The Ascension – Jesus ascends into Heaven forty days after His resurrection to sit at the right hand of God the Father.
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit – Jesus sends the Holy Spirit in the form of fiery tongues on His Apostles and disciples.
4. The Assumption – Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, is assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
5. The Crowning of Mary – Mary is crowned as Queen of heaven and earth, Queen of angels and saints.
The Luminous (also known as the Mysteries of Light) & Its Five Decades
1. Baptism in the Jordan – God proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son.
2. Self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana – At Mary’s request, Jesus performs his first miracle.
3. Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His call to conversion – Jesus calls all to conversion and service to the Kingdom.
4. The Transfiguration – Jesus is revealed in glory to Peter, James, and John.
5. Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist – Jesus offers his Body and Blood at the Last Supper.
To hear the Rosary said in Irish, please go to Coróin Mhuire
The Rosary in Irish (Gaelic) over at Catholic Online
Rosary ideas for kids on Pinterest here
The Rosary as a Tool for Mediation at Loyola Press
How to Say the Rosary at EWTN