The rosary is a special set of prayers that help us to remember the most important events in the lives of Mary and Jesus. The rosary is made up of mental prayer and vocal prayer. Mental prayer is meditating on the mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Vocal prayer is saying the decades of the Hail Mary, each decade beginning with an Our Father.
In the early Church, Christians used prayer beads or knotted cords as a way to count long, repetitive prayers. Monks in the Middle Ages may have used them to count the 150 Psalms when they prayed.
The name “rosary” comes from the word rosarium, which means “rose garden.” Through the inspiration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Dominic (1170-1221) received a new form of preaching and prayer which became the rosary. The Hail Mary was recited and combined with preaching and meditating on the gospel mysteries of Jesus. Mary explained to Saint Dominic that this prayer would be one of the most powerful weapons against evil.
The rosary is about the life of Jesus and Mary. When we pray the rosary, we do not pray to Mary. We ask for Mary’s intercession. It is similar to when we ask a friend to pray for us. When we ask for Mary’s intercession, we ask that she pray with us and for us to God. Mary helps us along the way of salvation.
There are four mysteries of the rosary-the Joyful, the Sorrowful, the Glorious, and the Luminous. In 2002 Pope John Paul II added the five mysteries (mysteries of light) to the rosary. The luminous mysteries focus on Christ’s public ministry.
1. To all those who shall pray my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and great graces.
2. Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my Rosary will receive some special grace.
3. The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy.
4. The Rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish.
6. Whoever recites my Rosary, devoutly reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God, nor will he perish by an unprovided death. The sinner will be converted; the just will persevere in grace and merit eternal life.
7. Those truly devoted to my Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite my Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces and will share in the merits of the blessed.
9. I will deliver promptly from purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary.
10. True children of my Rosary will enjoy great glory in heaven.
11. What you shall ask through my Rosary, you shall obtain.
12. To those who propagate my Rosary, I promise aid in all their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court.
14. Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to my Rosary is a special sign of predestination.
NOTE: “…[W]hen God ‘establishes his eternal plan of “predestination,” he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 600). Thus, anyone who is finally saved will have been predestined by God because it was God’s predestined plan and God’s grace that went before him and enabled him to be saved.