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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Know Your Faith Archives


By Linda Joseph Kavalackal

Catholics grow up praying the daily rosary. Christians need to practise
private spiritual devotions, so some pray novenas or read the Psalms, while
others prefer a form of meditation. To Catholic families and individuals,
the rosary is a private form of daily devotion. The prayers that comprise it
come mainly from the Bible. The word rosary comes from Latin and means a garland of roses.

The rosary enjoys a very rich and interesting history. Its origin can be traced to ninth century Ireland. Monastic clergy recited the 150 Psalms and laity realised the beauty of this devotion, but were unable to memorise the lengthy Psalms. So an Irish monk suggested to the people around the monastery that they might pray a series of 150 Our Fathers in place of the 150 Psalms. At first, pebbles were carried in a pouch to count the 150 Our Fathers; later ropes with knots were used. St. Peter Damian was the first to mention this form of prayer. Soon the Angelic Salutation replaced the 50 Our Fathers. Some medieval theologians considered the 150 Psalms to be veiled mysteries about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. They began to compose "Psalters of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" - 150 praises in honor of Jesus. Soon psalters devoted to 150 praises of Mary were composed. When a psalter of 150 praises in Mary's honor numbered 50 instead of 150, it was called a *rosarium* or bouquet.  St. Louis de Montfort wrote the most common set of meditations for the rosary used today. The present devotion, differing from the medieval version, is composed almost entirely of direct quotations from the Bible. It is appropriately called "the Scriptural Rosary." In his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (Rosary of the Virgin Mary), Pope John Paul II encouraged the use of the Rosary in prayer to Jesus. He proposed adding five Luminous Mysteries to the traditional pattern.

Prayers of the rosary

The prayer of the rosary is a variety of prayers, totally scriptural.

The Apostles Creed - Refer Mt 6:9-13: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.

Petitioning Mary dates to 3rd century - Refer: Lk 1:28: Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.

Lk 1:42: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Lk 1:43; (see also the Council of Ephesus, 431) "the mother of my Lord"
(Holy Mary, Mother of God.)

One criticism centres on the element of repetition of the prayer, "Hail Mary." But the Bible uses repetition to indicate emphasis and the highest degree of something. See Is 6:3: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts!" they (the Seraphim) cried one to another. The Psalms are a good example of repetition in prayer. Psalm 150 records a twelve-fold repetition in one psalm.

Why pray the Rosary today? To grow in holiness in one's prayer life. Our Lady of Fátima told us, "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world". Pope Pius XII went on to say, "There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family…than the daily recitation of the Rosary". No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary (Bishop Hugh Doyle)

Some allege that the rosary is a form of idolatry and the rosary would take time away from superior forms of prayer. The rosary, however, is anything but idolatrous and is a unique form of prayer that fills a hole other forms of prayer cannot. It has been called the preparation for contemplation and the prayer of saints. While the hands and lips are occupied, the mind meditates on the mysteries of the life of Christ. In this way the heart, mind, and soul of the Christian is formed; and when this purification of the
heart, mind, and soul has advanced sufficiently, the Lord may give the grace of contemplative prayer. St. Louis de Montfort warns us against both the ignorant and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance..."the Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God." Pope John Paul II has called the Rosary his "favorite prayer," after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. To quote him, "How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening".

More reference

Luke 1:28
Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.

Luke 1:42
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Luke 1:43
"The mother of my Lord" (Holy Mary, Mother of God.)

Isaiah 7:13-14
Then he (Ahaz) said: "...Therefore the Lord himself will give you this
sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him

Revelations 12:1-5
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the
moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with
child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. She gave
birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron
rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.

John 2:1-12
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of
Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no
wine." (And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My
hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he
tells you."
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