Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Biblical References for the Rosary Mysteries

Most Catholics pray a 5-decade Rosary, and there is a traditional "rotation schedule" to help you choose which set of mysteries to meditate upon on a given day:

Monday: Joyful Mysteries
Tuesday: Sorrowful Mysteries
Wednesday: Glorious Mysteries
Thursday: Luminous Mysteries
Friday: Sorrowful Mysteries
Saturday: Joyful Mysteries
Sunday: Glorious Mysteries

The mysteries are usually listed in a timeline order. I‘ve included the virtues, or fruits (more on that in a future post...), along with the Biblical references that describe each event:

Joyful Mysteries:
1. The Annunciation (Humility) Luke 1: 26-38; John 1:14
2. The Visitation (Charity/Love of Neighbor) Luke 1: 39-56
3. The Nativity (Poverty) Luke 2: 6-20; Matthew 1:18-25
4. The Presentation (Obedience) Luke 2: 22-39
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Joy in finding Jesus; prudence) Luke 2: 41-51

Luminous Mysteries:
1. The Baptism of Jesus (Fidelity to our baptismal promises) Matthew 3:11-17; Luke 3:15-22; John 1:22-34
2. The Wedding Feast at Cana (Faith in Mary‘s intercession and maternal care)
John 2: 1-12
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom (Conversion of heart) Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 5:1-8; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:21
4. The Transfiguration (Become a new person in Christ) Luke 9:28-36; Matthew 17:1-8
5. The Institution of the Eucharist (Love of the Eucharist; active participation at Mass); Matthew 26:26-28; John 6: 33-59

*Note: The five Luminous Mysteries, or Mysteries of Light, were introduced in 2002 by Pope John Paul II in Rosary of the Virgin Mary.

Sorrowful Mysteries:
1. The Agony in the Garden (True sorrow for sin; repentance) Matthew 26: 36-46;
Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22: 39-46
2. The Scourging at the Pillar (Modesty and purity; mortification or self-denial) Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1
3. The Crowning of Thorns (Moral courage; love of our enemies) Matthew 27:29-30;
Mark 15:16-20; John 1: 2-3
4. The Carrying of the Cross (Patience, especially when suffering; fortitude)
Luke 23: 26-32; Matthew 27:31-32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23: 26-32
5. The Crucifixion (Perseverance; mercy) Luke 23: 33-46; Matthew 27: 33-54;
Mark 15: 22-39; Luke 23: 33-47; John 19: 17-37

Glorious Mysteries:
1. The Resurrection (Faith) Matthew 28: 1-10; Mark 16: 1-18; Luke 24: 1-49;
John 20:1-29
2. The Ascension (Hope) Mark: 16: 19-20; Luke 24: 50-51; Acts 1: 6-11
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Love of God; gifts of the Holy Spirit)
Acts 2: 1-41
4. The Assumption* (Grace of a happy death; eternal happiness)
Revelation 12:1
5. Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth* (True devotion to Mary)
Revelation 12:1

* Mary‘s Assumption and Coronation are implied in Revelation Chapter 12 and in other Biblical references, but neither is directly stated in the Bible. Both events are part of Catholic Tradition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Assumption in Sections 966 and 974.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rosary Mysteries

The Rosary is composed of both verbal and mental prayer. The verbal portion consists of reciting (aloud or silently) the prayers marked by the crucifix, beads, and central medal. The mental portion, or meditation, is the true "soul" of the Rosary. During each decade (10 Hail Marys), we ponder a specific event from the Gospels. These events are known as mysteries. In this case, a mystery is not a puzzle to be solved, but a scene from the lives of Jesus and Mary that can only be partly understood on earth. By meditating on these mysteries, we can better understand them through Divine inspiration.

There are 20 mysteries of the Rosary. They are divided into four sets of five mysteries each:

The Joyful Mysteries:
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity (Birth of Jesus)
- The Presentation in the Temple
- The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

The Luminous Mysteries (Mysteries of Light):
- The Baptism of Jesus
- The Wedding Feast at Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist

The Sorrowful Mysteries:
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning with Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion

The Glorious Mysteries:
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption
- The Coronation (Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth)

Meditation is a skill which takes time and practice to master. My hope is to enhance your Rosary meditation by covering each of the twenty mysteries of the Rosary individually. I will provide Bible references, links to artwork, and reflections based on years of reading and research. I always welcome contributions from others who have studied and pondered these events.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

To Jesus Through Mary

Why pray the Rosary? Why pray to Mary?

First, it is important to understand that Catholics do not WORSHIP Mary. We only worship the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity-- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. However, we HONOR Mary as the greatest of saints. She was chosen and created by God and was given the gift of a soul free from Original Sin from the first moment of her conception. Catholics refer to this as the Immaculate Conception, and we celebrate this event each year on December 8th.

Note: Many Catholics are confused by the Immaculate Conception and think that it is a celebration of the day that Mary conceived Jesus. This is actually called the Feast of the Annunciation (when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary) and is celebrated on March 25th, nine months before the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. The feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) honors the day that Mary was conceived, free of Original Sin, in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. Mary was given this special honor because she was to become the Mother of God (Theotokos, the Greek term). Certainly, the woman who was to conceive, bear and raise the Son of God could not be tainted by sin.

As the Mother of Jesus, Mary was also His first teacher. She taught Him how to walk, how to talk and all the other things a mother teaches a young child. She also teaches us through the Rosary. St. Luke tells us in his Gospel, "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) Through the Rosary, she guides us in reflecting on the events of her Son's life. The Rosary is not a path TO Mary, but a path THROUGH Mary to Jesus, and ultimately to our Heavenly Father.

Mary has appeared to many saints and visionaries, urging them to pray the Rosary. St. Dominic, St. Louis de Montfort, Blessed Alan de la Roche, and St. Lucia of Fatima are just a few of the many saints who spread devotion to the Rosary.

If you are interested in reading more about this subject, I highly recommend The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort:
Order the book: https://www.tanbooks.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage_gr/product_id/37/
Or, read the book online: http://www.rosary-center.org/secret.htm

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Rosary and a Garden

I'm afraid that I've let this blog lie idle for too long. I apologize if you're interested in learning more and have been patiently waiting.

The following excerpt from my ebook, The Rosary Workout, compares the Rosary to a garden:

"The word 'Rosary' comes from the Latin word 'rosarium,' which means 'a rose garden, often circular'. In Catholicism, the images of a garden, a rose and a circle are rich in symbolism.

Place your Rosary in front of you in a circle with the crucifix pointing toward you. The short chain, known as the pendant chain, is like a pathway leading to a garden, which is represented by the circular part of the Rosary. The crucifix marks the opening prayer of the Rosary, The Apostles’ Creed. The Creed (and our corresponding faith) is the key to unlock the garden gate, where Our Blessed Mother will lead us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of the Rosary. The five beads on the pendant chain represent a pathway into the garden as we recite the prayers they represent: The Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Glory Be. The three Hail Mary are traditionally prayed for an increase in the three theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity. The three beads are also said to honor the three persons of the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We enter the garden, or circle of beads, when we begin the first decade of the Rosary. While we’re in the garden, we meditate on five mysteries, leading us to a deeper understanding of the Gospels. We exit the garden after making a final prayer of praise and petition to our Blessed Mother, the Hail Holy Queen.

The Rosary is a path to the garden which we most long to enter: Paradise."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rosary prayers

In order to pray the Rosary, you must first memorize the seven primary prayers of the Rosary and their "markers":

1. Sign of the Cross (Catholics begin and end all forms of prayer my making the Sign of the Cross)

2. Apostles' Creed (marked by the crucifix)

3. Our Father (marked by the isolated beads separated with longer chain links)

4. Hail Mary (marked by the 3 closely-spaced beads on the crucifix chain and the 10 closely-spaced beads on the circular part of the Rosary)

5. Glory Be or Gloria (marked by the longer chain links before the Our Father beads)

6. Fatima Prayer (same marking as the Glory Be)

7. Hail Holy Queen (marked by the central medal)

There are several more optional Rosary prayers, but I will cover these in a future post.

Find the text of the prayers above at the following links:


My ebook, The Rosary Workout, includes a more detailed Rosary tutorial:


I started this blog as part of my apostolate to spread devotion to the Rosary. I've found that many people are confused about the Rosary. They don't know the prayers or may not realize that the "soul" of the Rosary is meditation on the mysteries of the Gospels. I welcome readers of all faiths who want to learn more about the Rosary. I also welcome readers who are already very devoted to the Rosary who would like to share their knowledge and reflection with others. Please keep any comments or questions respectful and charitable.