In ancient times beads were a tool for memorizing prayer. People remembered whole psalms and used the beads to keep track of them. The rosary involves memorization on a much more limited fashion. Just as there are 150 psalms in the Old Testament, there are 150 Hail Marys in the complete rosary. These prayers, together with others, are prayed from the heart while reflecting on the scriptural mysteries of Jesus and Mary.
A tradition has it that in the 1214, St. Dominic received the rosary. It was given to Dominic while he was praying for the conversion of sinners. The blessed Mother appeared to him and said:
Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?
Dominic replied: Oh my Lady, you know better than I do because next to your son, Jesus Christ, you have always been the chief instrument of our Salvation.
Begin the rosary with the sign of the cross saying:
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Recite the The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, from thence He shall come again 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.
Say one Our Father, three Hail Mary’s for the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity; and then one Glory Be.
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 for 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.
The Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries make up the complete Rosary, each having five mysteries. While reciting each mystery, say one Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s and one Glory Be; and conclude with the Hail Holy Queen.
Hail Holy Queen, Mother or Mercy, our Life, our sweetness, and our hope! To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley 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 your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Mary, Pray for us O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
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 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.
The Joyful Mysteries
1. The Annunciation (we ask for Humility)
2. The Visitation (Fraternal Charity)
3. The Nativity (Love of God);
4. The Presentation (Spirit of Sacrifice)
5. Finding in the Temple (Zeal)
The Luminous Mysteries
1. The Baptism of Our Lord in the River Jordan
2. The Wedding at Cana, when Christ manifested Himself
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
4. The Transfiguration of Our Lord
5. The Last Supper, when Our Lord gave us the Holy Eucharist
The Sorrowful Mysteries
1. Agony in the Garden (True Repentance)
2. Scourging at the Pillar (Mortification)
3. Crowning with Thorns (Moral Courage)
4. Carrying of the Cross (Patience)
5. The Crucifixion (Final Perseverance)
The Glorious Mysteries
1. The Resurrection (Faith)
2. The Ascension (Hope)
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Zeal)
4. The Assumption (Happy Death)
5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Love of Mary)