Re: CHAT: Rosaries (was: Ave Maria)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, June 29, 2000, 5:59|
At 11:27 pm -0400 28/6/00, Padraic Brown wrote:
>On Wed, 28 Jun 2000, Barry Garcia wrote:
>>At the chain hanging down:
>>- You start at the crucifix at the bottom, you say the act of contrition
>>(my guide book says apostles creed),
>>It's kind of hard to describe without showing, but that's the basics,
>>according to mom. (any other catholics thing they can illustrate better?
>Only quibble I have is that you forgot to sign yourself before
Well, yes. I expect Barry's mom didn't mention that because we always make
the sign of the cross before praying, whatever the prayer.
>We were taught to do that at the crucifix rather than
>a creed. Also, we don't do anything on the chains.
Yep - the 'hanging chain' bit seems to be a comparatively recent addition
(say a couple of centuries or so) and custom seems to vary on this. In
England & Wales at public recitations IME it's customary to use this
_after_ saying the 5 decades; usually it's an Our Father at the first bead,
three Hail Mary's for some special intention at the next three beads and a
"Glory be to Father...." at the last one. The Apostle's Creed is sometimes
included, usually before the 'Our Father". Tho, as Barry has noted, in
some places it's customary to say these 'extra prayers' before praying the
One thing that has become almost universal practice AFAIK is to recite the
"Hail, Holy Queen" (Salve Regina - an 11th cent. antiphon of Mary, possibly
written by Aimar, Bishop of Le Puy) after the praying the Rosary. Where,
as in England & Wales, the 'extra prayers' are said at the end, these come
after the Salve Regina.
The main part, i.e. _the_ Rosary, is the recitation of the decades & the
meditation on one of the 15 mystries of the rosary during each decade. It
works like this, and this has been standard since Pope Pius V, a Dominican
who became Pope in 1564, regularized it's recitation.
Each decade consists of:
an "Our Father", followed by 10 Hail Marys, and concluding with "Glory be
to the Father....."
The Hail Marys are counted on 10 small beads; on old style rosaries a large
bead separated each decade; on the modern style of rosary each decade is
separated by a single small bead with a small piece of chain each side.
As one recites these prayers, one meditates on one of the mysteries of the
Rosary, which come in three groups of five, namely:
The Joyful Mysteries:
The Annunciation of Jesus's conception to Mary by Gabriel
The Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth
The Birth of Jesus at Bethlehem
The Presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple
The Finding of the boy Jesus in the Temple (at the time of his visit
there at the age of 12)
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
The Scourging of Jesus by the Roman soldiers
The Crowning of Jesus with the crown of thorns
Jesus' carrying his cross to Golgotha
The death of Jesus on the cross
The Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection of Jesus
The Ascension of Jesus into heaven
The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
The Assumption of Mary into heaven
The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven
These are the Mysteries as regalarized by Pope V and since his time it has
been customary to recite the Joyful Mysteries on Mondays & Thursdays, the
Sorrowful on Tuesdays & Fridays, and the Joyful on Wednesdays & Saturdays.
As for Sundays, the custom is to recite the Joyful Mysteries on Sundays of
Advent through to the Sunday before Lent; the Sorrowful Mysteries on the
Sundays of Lent; and the Joyful Mysteries on Easter and all subsequent
Sundays through to the Sunday before Advent.
If one is interested, the Rosary is recited daily, in Latin, on Vatican
Radio, in accordance with Pius V's scheme (I don't recall the time - it's
IIRC about 9:00 PM in Britain, but I may be wrong. I've no doubt you can
discover with a quick web search :)
Of course in private prayer one can recite Mysteries as one wishes - one
can (and I have) recite & meditate on all fifteen if one wishes.
Before Pius V's time there was much local variation. Indeed, the use of
beads or knotted chords in Christian devotion appears to have begun among
the hermit monks of 4th cent Egypt in their daily recitation of the Lord's
Prayer. Paul the Hermit is said to have repeated the Lord's Prayer 300
times a day, using pebbles to keep count. I'm told that a chord of 100
knots, called a kombologion or komboschoinion is used by monks of the Greek
Church for recitation of the Lord's Prayer.
A similiar custom seems to have pertained in the early Western Church,
hence the word 'paternoster' to mean a chain of prayer beads, or anything
similar such as fishing line with hooks at intervals along it. But when
the Ave Maria developed as a popular devotion during the 11th & 12th
centuries, it became customary to use this prayer as well when 'counting
beads'; indeed, the number of Hail Mary's gradually increased and the Our
Father's decreased. During the 13th & 14th century a form known as "Our
Lady's Psalter" became widely used; in this 150 Hail Marys (there are 150
Psalms of the Old Testament) were said, each Hail Mary (which didn't have
the second part, "Holy Mary, Mother of God......." bit at that time) was
prefaced with a verse from scripture - therefore, a book was necessary for
the recitation in this form. The Hail-Mary's were said in 15 groups of 10,
each concluding with the "Glory be..." as was (and is) the custom when
reciting psalms in church. Each group of 10 (decade) concerned itself with
some incident in the life of Mary and/or Jesus, but these varied from place
Pope V wanted simplify the 'Psaltar of Our Lady' so that it could become a
popular devotion among the still largely unlettered laity - so he abolished
the need of a book by cutting out the scripture verse and substituting the
full Tridentine version of the Hail Mary. He also standardized the 15
mysteries as I've given them above and laid down the practice of recitation
a particular set of mysteries on prescribed days.
>One nice way of doing the prayers comunally is to take it in turns
>for each decade being the "leader", who recites the first half
>of the prayers while the "responder(s)" recite the second half.
>Makes for a nice cadence, once everyone quits stumbling about!
This is normal practice at public recitations here - and is the way it's
done on Vatican Radio :)
Now, Philip, your turn to tell us about the Buddist rosary ;)
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]