The Holy Rosary
Rosary beads have now become a very popular fashion item with many celebrities often seen and photographed wearing them.
However, their real use is for the recitation of the Holy Rosary a form of meditative prayer used by Christians for hundreds of years.
Here in Castleford, we have a small but dedicated group, who come together every Thursday afternoon to pray the Rosary. This group is led by members of the congregation as part of their ministry within our churches. The Rosary has become a special time of quiet and reflective prayer, which has helped improve both their sense of God and their growth into holiness.
The rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to imitate the Divine Office during the course of which monks would pray daily the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50, or even 150, Ave Marias or (Hail Marys) for the Psalms. The Rosary is thought to date from as early as the 2nd century, as ancient graffiti found at some Christian sites seems to indicate. Sometimes a cord with knots on it was used to keep an accurate count of the Hail Marys.
The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (d 1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or the Dominicans as they are commonly known. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the Faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin.
The rosary has been called the preparation for contemplation and the prayer of saints. While the hands and lips are occupied with the prayers, the mind is able to meditate on the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption represented by the decades. Meditation is the form of prayer by which the one who prays uses the mind and imagination to consider a truth and uses the will to love it and form resolutions to live it. In this way the heart, mind, and soul of the Christian is formed according to the Gospel examples of the Saviour and His First Disciple, His Mother. In God's own time, when this purification of the heart, mind, and soul has advanced sufficiently the Lord may give the grace of contemplative prayer, that special divine insight into the truth which human effort cannot achieve on its own.
New members to the group are always welcome and don’t worry, if you don’t know how to pray the Rosary someone will always be on hand to help.
Why pray the Rosary today?
A simply answer is to improve our own spirituality and to grow in holiness.
The following are a few others reasons why the rosary should be prayed: