Alone or in company, in Church or at home, praying the Rosary every day becomes a moment of peace and serenity.
But when should you pray the Rosary?
There is no specific time to entrust yourself to the care of the Blessed Virgin. Any time of the day becomes the perfect time.A biblical meditation, the Rosary prayed in an authentic way helps us to preserve the events experienced by Jesus in the company of Mary, keeping them in our hearts.
This beautiful quote from Pope Benedict XVI offers a comprehensive motivation for daily practice in the recitation of one of the world's oldest devotional instruments.
Invented thanks to the vision of Saint Dominic Guzman, the Rosary has undergone various transformations over the centuries. According to Alan de la Roche, Dominic received a visit from the Virgin Mary. And it was the Mother of Jesus who gave the Saint a crown composed of 15 lilies, the Lord's Prayers, alternating with 150 lilies, the Hail Marys.
The repetition of the 150 Hail Marys, requested of St Dominic by the Blessed Virgin herself, will give rise to the Holy Rosary or Salterio Mariae. This powerful instrument was initially intended to convert sinners and non-believers.
From 1569, the Rosary spread throughout Europe, maintaining the classic form ratified by Pope Pius IV to this day. In 2002, Pope John Paul II made an innovation by introducing the Mysteries of Light.
But how exactly is the Rosary prayed?
The first step consists in holding the crucifix in your hands, making the sign of the cross and reciting the Creed. You then move on to slide each bead of the first set of five into your hands. Each bead of the Rosary corresponds to a Prayer. The first bead after the cross is the Lord's Prayer. Next come the three Hail Marys for the Gift of Faith, Hope and Love, and finally the Prayer entrusted to the last bead announces the Doxology, that is, the Hymn of Praises to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Continuing along the "Sweet Chain" you find the central medal, the Lord's Prayer, indicating the beginning of the first decade.
The next ten grains are divided into five sets. These beads are known as the Hail Marys, so each bead corresponds to the recitation of the Hail Mary.Continuing along the chain or cord that separates the first decade from the next bead, a new Doxology is pronounced. And here we come to the next bead, the Lord's Prayer, that represents the end of the first decade and the beginning of the second decade.
Having understood the mechanism of the first decade, you will have to continue in an anti-clockwise direction, reciting the Prayers in the same way.
The last prayer is represented by the central medal, the "Hail, Holy Queen". At the end of this, the cross of the Rosary in your hands will invite you to make the Sign of the Cross.
This short explanation of how to pray the Rosary shows you the simplest way to pray. In addition to this, the Rosary offers itself not only as an instrument of Prayer but also as a way of reflecting on important events in the Life of Jesus and Mary, the so-called Mysteries.
The Mysteries are currently four – Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous – and offer an opportunity to strengthen our personal experience of the Messiah and his Mother. Contemplation of the Mysteries through the rosary takes place on different days or on special occasions. Reflection on the Joyful Mysteries takes place on Mondays and Saturdays, and during Advent also on Sundays. During Lent we indulge in reflection on the Sorrowful Mysteries, which in the period of Easter preparation can also be recited on Sundays.
While in ordinary time, Wednesdays and Sundays become the time to meditate on the Glorious Mysteries, whereas Thursdays are consecrated to reflection on the Luminous Mysteries.
To conclude, I would like to quote the answer given by a very famous Monsignor as to why one should rely on the Prayer of the Virgin Mary's Garland of Roses.
"The Holy Rosary is a powerful, ancient and ever new prayer to which Saint John Paul himself dedicated an entire year and the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae in 2002. According to the Holy Pope's instructions, the content of the Rosary is the face of Christ contemplated through the eyes and heart of Mary."