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How the Rosary Evolved

Combining prayer and meditation, the rosary has been practiced for approximately 1,200 years. The devotional practice

beautiful 24k gold over sterling rosary

began in the ninth century when it was used to chant 150 Biblical Psalms during monastic worship services. While worshippers were inspired to take part in this kind of ritual, they also found it difficult to memorize that much content too. Therefore, the rosary was transformed into a series of 150 recitations of Our Father prayers, all which, of course, were easier for parishioners to remember.

The Use of the Rosary

At the onset, the rosary that was used for counting prayers consisted of 150 small stones that were stored inside pouches of leather. This technique proved to be a clumsy way to count. Therefore, a slender rope was designed for the purpose instead. On the thin string, 50 knots were made so the prayers could be counted three times a day. After some time, the strings were replaced with globular pieces of wood.

As time passed, both Church clergy and worshippers included the Angelic Salutation in their devotions, which is the beginning portion of the Hail Mary of today. In turn, this additional prayer caused the church to adopt 50 of the salutations, each of which was recited for each wood bead on the prayer link.

The Hidden Mysteries and Meditations

In the 1200s, church devotees started to regard the 150 psalms as the hidden mysteries of Jesus Christ’s life and ultimate resurrection. In response, they started to compose a number of Psalters, each of which was made to explain the psalms that were associated with the life of Christ. Psalters were also written in honor of Mary as well. The Psalters were then separated into rosariums, or individual groupings of 50 prayers. These writings led to the development of meditations, each which was associated with a related bead.

As time progressed rosarium prayers were divided into decades, or into sets of ten prayers, with one Our Father prayer followed by ten Hail Marys. By the beginning of the 18th century, the thoughts that made up the rosary became meditations, all which were called mysteries. These mysteries were segmented into Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious meditations, each which was comprised of five stories. Five Luminous Mysteries were added to these meditations by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

The Rosary of Today

The prayers of the rosary combined with the beads are known as chaplets, and are, by far, the most popular of the chaplets that are used in prayerful devotion today. The rosary of today came about as the result of an appearance of the Virgin Mary in the thirteenth century, who was said to have given a rosary to St. Dominic. At that time, she asked that the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be prayers be recited in place of the Psalms. During that period, the rosary featured 15 decades.

Praying the Rosary and Using the Rosary Beads

Therefore, the standard prayers and recitations of the rosary include Hail Mary, Our Father, Glory Be, and the Apostle’s Creed. When you’re praying the rosary then and using rosary beads, you need to recite the Apostles’ Creed on the crucifix. Next you’ll recite the Our Father prayer on the following large bead. Three Hail Marys are repeated on the following three small beads and Glory Be is prayed on the chain.

Then proclaim the first mystery and pray Our Father on the next large bead. Recite ten Hail Marys on the following ten beads and, again, on the chain, recite the Glory Be prayer. Then repeat the above steps for each of the remaining four decades.