According to an old tradition the Rosary Prayer was given by Our Lady to St Dominic. Certainly it was a prayer treasured by the Dominican order from its earliest days. Through the rosary these early Dominicans preached and prayed the gospel.
The Rosary has been called “the little gospel,” as the great gospel stories of the Lord are reflected upon in this prayer. Christ lived among us in order that we might share his way of living. In his life on earth, the relationship between Christ and humanity is best seen in Mary who represents each one of us who are called to work together with the Lord and share in his life, work and glory. In the Rosary we do not think about the events of Christ’s and Mary’s life in a detached manner but these wonderful mysteries are meditated in prayer. Through our prayer and meditation of the events (mysteries) of the lives of Jesus and Mary our minds are focused on Christ as the saving Lord of everyone in all times.
By tradition there are fifteen mysteries or events which are meditated in the Rosary. This ancient form was promoted by the Dominican Pope Pius the fifth, in the sixteenth century. These fifteen mysteries are divided into three groups: The Joyful mysteries, the Sorrowful mysteries and the Glorious mysteries. In 2002 Pope John Paul 2nd introduced a set of five new mysteries called “the Mysteries of Light” (or "Luminous Mysteries") that the Rosary could more completely recount the gospel story.
The great attachment of the Dominican brothers to the Rosary can be seen from the fact that old Dominican church in Isfahan was dedicated to our Lady of the Rosary. When the Irish Dominicans came in 1962 they called their first house near the university “Rosary House.” Today the St Abraham’s Church is the centre of a parish which is titled “the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary."
Praying the Rosary
So there are twenty mysteries reflected upon in the Rosary, and these are divided into
the five JOYFUL MYSTERIES, (said on Monday and Saturday)
the five LUMINOUS MYSTERIES, (said on Thursday)
the five SORROWFUL MYSTERIES, (said on Tuesday and Friday)
and the five GLORIOUS MYSTERIES. (said on Wednesday and Sunday)
How to say The Rosary
- Making the sign of the Cross, the one who is leading says "O God, come to our aid."
All Reply: "O Lord, make haste to help us."
1. Say the "Glory be to the Father."
2. Announce the First Mystery; then say the "Our Father."
3. Say ten "Hail Marys," while meditating on the Mystery.
4. Say the "Glory be to the Father" after the ten "Hail Marys."
5. Announce the next Mystery; then say the "Our Father." Repeat 4 and 5 and continue with Third, Fourth and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner.
After the last mystery the following prayers are normally said.
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!
[or in Latin:
Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.]
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. 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 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. Amen.