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Escaped True Master
In some sense it's "new" but here are some facts about the Rosary:The rosary prayer is actually pretty new, and the Russians venerate Mary a lot less than current year Catholics. Their bead-oriented prayer of devotion or forgiveness is "oh Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
The rosary is a prayer consisting of 150 hail Marys and 15 our fathers, accompanied by meditation on the life, passion, and glory of Christ. (But usually, only 1/3 of the rosary is said: 50 hail Marys and five our fathers.)
In the first few centuries of Christianity there were hermit monks who could not read all the Psalms in the psalter for the liturgy of hours, so they used to substitute psalms with familiar prayers - like one our Father and one Hail Mary for each psalm, and to count the number of prayers would use stones, or seeds strung on a cord.
St. Dominic is credited with being the first to make widespread the general custom of substituting 150 hail Marys for the 150 Psalms. (The founder of the Dominican order of monks)
The rosary is meant to be a prayer of contemplation -- combining vocal and mental prayer. A group of 1 our father and 10 hail Mary prayers are called a decade, and while saying each decade you meditate on the mysteries of faith.
The rosary (traditionally) is divided into the joyful, the sorrowful, and the glorious mysteries. Each honors the life, the passion, and the glorification of Our Lord.
In the joyful mysteries you meditate on:
- The Annunciation
- The visitation
- The birth of Jesus
- The presentation
- The fnding in the temple
- The agony in the garden
- The scourging
- The crown of thorns
- The carrying of the cross
- The crucifixion
- The resurrection
- The Ascension
- The descent of the Holy Ghost
- The assumption
- The coronation of the blessed Virgin
Some notes about the Hail Mary:
Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
The prayer has two parts: part one is prayer of praise, part 2 is a prayer of petition.
Part 1, the prayer of praise, was written from the archangel Gabriel to Mary, and the words of St. Elizabeth to Mary. ( Luke 1:28 & Luke 1:42)
Part 2, the prayer of petition, was written by the Church, to ask for Mary's intercession.
Edit: Also, just wanted to add that the Jesus prayer as Andrew mentioned is great as well. There are meditations you can do on each individual word/ phrase of the Jesus prayer, and a lot has been written about that prayer, particularly by the monks at Mount Athos."We pay special honor to the blessed Virgin because she is the mother of God, and our Mother. To God we give the supreme honor and adoration, called latria. To the saints we give our veneration, called dulia. And to the blessed Virgin we give special veneration, called hyperdulia, because she's above all angels and saints as the Mother of God. However not even Mary can be adored or worshiped - we only adore God.
We show honor to God when we venerate those to whom was granted Grace to resemble Him"
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.