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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mysteries of the Rosary

Can you help me? I hear a lot of people talk about praying one decade of the rosary at a time. For example, they may pray a decade on the way to take the kids to school in the morning. When this is practiced, is it proper to say all the opening and closing prayers on each end of the one decade? The creed, the Our Father, three Hail Mary's, the Glory Be, the decade, then the Glory Be, Hail Holy Queen, etc...? Or is there some other way to do it?

I have the same question about saying the entire rosary, broken up during the day. If someone were to pray the joyful mysteries in the morning, the sorrowful in the afternoon, and the glorious in the evening, would they say all the other prayers every time?

I know I left out the luminous mysteries. For devotions that originated before the luminous mysteries and that require reciting all 15 decades daily, what is to be done about the luminous mysteries? Are they ignored? Are they required?

Please help me figure out all these specifics!



As if saying the rosary and all it entails and what day of the week and what time of year one says which group of mysteries isn't enough to digest.  Not to mention that the whole reason we have broken down into which group of mysteries to say on what day of the week plus at what time of year is because we realize you don't have time to say a whole rosary (all decades, all mysteries, all the time) every day.  Now people are breaking it down even further into a decade at a time. While driving?


If you want to drive around saying a meditative prayer on your own, that's fine. For my sake, please wait until after you drop off the kids.  The idea of not really having your mind on driving with the kids in the car is a little disconcerting. On the other hand, once you drop them off and go into your mediation, there are other people's kids in other people's cars to consider.

As long as we're making up new ways to say the rosary, I'd say the first part of the rosary and one decade, and then a decade at a time, if I had to make something up about a driving rosary. Must be a very short drive.

I hope these people talking about saying a rosary one decade at a time are not the same ones that are complaining about when we say "the" in the Mass or if certain prayers are before or after the end of Mass.

I know I'm going to hear it from the peanut gallery, since I really never want to discourage people from praying any which way.  Truly, I don't.

But do we have to do everything in sound bites? Are we really that busy?  Mary weeps.

The point of saying a rosary is not saying a rosary. The point of the rosary is prayer. Prayer is a petition to God. (It isn't always, there are prayers of thanks, for example. But are you paying attention to the "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners...." part?  That's a petition.) It just seems to me that if we're going to use Mary's special prayer to petition God, we might want to consider putting aside some time and effort and not try to finish off a decade while you're double parked.

If you're breaking up the entire rosary throughout the day, broken up by mysteries, I can go with that. At least you're in the full mediation process and you're going the extra distance beyond what the Church asks in rosary saying. Of course, you say all the prayers.  Why wouldn't you say all the prayers? This makes no sense to me.  You are, after all, talking about a prayer during which we say the Hail Mary over 50 times.  But you want to leave out some "Glory Be"s?  Why? I'm confused by the confusion.

As for the Luminous Mysteries, they are neither ignored nor required. But I would put it to you that when it comes to prayer the old adage "less is more" does not apply.

Again, we love for you to pray, anyway you can, anytime you can.  But why not just do that, and save for rosary for the time it actually takes to say it without driving your car up a pole.


Anonymous said...

Sad how people take the Rosary for granted.

Anonymous said...

While I can certainly understand the need to set aside time daily to pray the entire Rosary, perhaps what these folks are trying to do is to put even more prayer into their lives. I have a Rosary key fob which consists of three beads and a Crucifix. When I find myself becoming irritated with traffic, it is soothing indeed to say one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be at stoplights.

I say the Rosary daily, and often have a Rosary CD on in my studio as I work. Perhaps those of us who use small sacramentals in our vehicles are trying to "Pray without ceasing."

Just my silly thoughts, worth exactly what ya paid for 'em.

dre said...

Yes, Mary may weep when we pray in sound bites. She wept before the children Max and Melanie at La Salette...but when they confessed that they did not pray very well, she did encourage them to at least say an Our Father and a Hail Mary morning and evening..."and when you can do better, say more." She weeps, but she loves us enough as our Mother to take us as we are, even if we don't pray very well.

nina said...

I pray the rosary in the car on my way home from work. It's an hour commute, so I am trying to take advantage of all the time I have in the day. I used to count on my fingers or on beads, but I found that it was too much to say the prayers, move the beads and meditate on mysteries while driving.

I recently bought myself an album(?... digital version) to play in the car; that way I can focus on the spirit and the mysteries without worrying what bead I'm on, or even on pronouncing every single word. I can focus on driving, but I can still reflect on, and really feel the mysteries as they come to me. The tape(?) I bought also has musical interludes with specifically chosen songs and introductions to each mystery using biblical passages that help to frame the mystery and your mind. I'm never worried that I missed a prayer, or didn't think about a mystery enough, the cd(?) helps to keep everything together and I am free to pray, meditate and drive.

It sounds distracting but its not any worse than eating or singing along to an awesome song.

Anonymous said...

Sister, I'm intrigued by the photo of the cupcake rosary you posted here. Seems like it would be fun to do at my son's (Catholic) school...I think. Anything to keep the kids interested in the faith, right? Or is it a bit blasphemous to eat an image of the rosary? I've heard of chocolate rosaries, too. What do you and your readers think?

Anonymous said...

Happy Feast of the Korean Martyrs, Sister! A Korean priest said the morning Mass today (in English) and talked about the feast day. He said as far as he knows, Korea was the only country that was not evangelized by an apostle or official missionary. They first learned about the Faith by reading books that came from China, with whom they had diplomatic relations. They studied Catechisms, and concluded that Catholicism was the right religion. (I know there are many Protestant Koreans, too, but he didn't address that). Anyway, Christianity ran afoul of the caste system in place at the time, so they were martyred. I think he said there are over 100 canonized saints from the country.

modris said...

As a busy mom, my day often consists of prayer in short bursts, and it's entirely possible to drive safely while saying the rosary (just can't close your eyes). I say a decade or 2 when folding laundry, doing dishes, etc. I think God understands my fragmented day and my attempts to "pray ceaselessly" while doing other things...it helps keep me focused and frames the myriad of tasks I'm doing with prayer.If I try to sit down and say a whole rosary I often fall asleep!

Anonymous said...

Sister, It might not suit you to pray the rosary a decade at a time, but there are many for whom it has been a lifelong source of prayerfulness in daily life (as a previous commenter suggested, it is a means of praying without ceasing). It is a thread that runs throughout the day, not unlike the Liturgy of the Hours. And it isn't something just the weak-kneed among us "invented." It is, in fact, a practice endorsed by many Catholic resources devoted to prayer in secular life and to the rosary. Not least, a lovely explication of the rosary concludes with a recommendation to pray it a bit at a time during the day -- written by none other than a Bishop in celebration of the Year of the Rosary in 2003. http://www.madisoncatholicherald.org/2003-10-02/bishop.html

Perhaps we should all go pray a decade or a full rosary now for a little humility and grace in our words toward others' prayers.

Clark Whitney said...

Sister, I often pray the Rosary or Mercy Chaplet as I go to sleep. This is in addition to saying my daily Rosary and Chaplet in a more reverent, focused way. Sometimes I just pray "Jesus, Mary, I love Thee, save souls!" over and over until I fall asleep. Other times, I pray to God the Father, asking Him to bless various family and friends and so forth as I drift off. Some people are very much against this and see it as disrespectful. I also sleep holding the Rosary for protection and to focus on holy things while I sleep. It usually ends up under my pillow, but sometimes on the floor, which I kiss in the morning if it does.

Is this wrong?

Maureen said...

I take my St Raphael chaplet with me every day when I go for my walk, and I say the Rosary during that time.
St Raphael, because my very special intention is the restoration of health to my son who has been diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness.
The Rosary is bringing me enormous comfort.

Unknown said...

To me, all prayer is good. I sleep with my rosary wrapped around my wrist every night!!

Wendy said...

I think the actual question she was asking was, would you say the Creed, 3 Hail Marys, etc. before each decade if you split the Rosary up through the day.

The conventional answer is, no, you say them before the first decade of the day (whether saying 1 or 20) and do the Hail Holy Queen after your last decade of the day.

Martha said...

@ Anonymous who asked about eating the rosary... my take is: absolutely! We do rosary walks (nothing wrong with STEPPING on it), so why not eat a likeness of it! You must say the corresponding prayer first, though! ;D

Beads Of Heaven said...

I've been praying a decade of the rosary on my way to work for years. It's not too long and I can really focus on that single mystery. The alternative? -- my mind wanders into all sorts of useless territory. So I think Mary would understand.

Linda said...

I used to pray the entire Rosary each day while doing nothing else but praying. I enjoy praying the Rosary and have received mountains of graces from it. However it is time consuming and just even that hour and a half a day really did take it's toll after a while.

I started to say the Rosary while cleaning instead. Cleaning doesn't require very much concentration and it enabled me to still concentrate on the mysteries and on the lines in the prayers. At first I was troubled that I was being selfish but then I realized that God knows that we have busy lives. I also came across an article where a priest was talking about how his mother had 9ish children, always prayed the Rosary while cleaning and they never needed anything while they were growing up! That was my extra dose of reassurance from Mary that it's okay :) I have tried saying the Rosary while driving and found that it distracts me from the road. And I have prayed the Rosary while walking and found that I miss out on all of the outdoor beauty.

And my house is a lot cleaner too :) I would *never* clean this much if it wasn't for wanting to say the Rosary!

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago I saw a young girl from the Pittsburgh Diocese in concert sing the Lord's Prayer . I would like to share with you her Our Father and her Hail Mary.

The Lord's Prayer

Ave Maria

Anonymous said...

My priest told me that praying one decade of the rosary well is better than praying the whole rosary quick and without the proper attention. Mary loves all prayer, and understands our vocations and time restraints. I pray the rosary and divine mercy often in the car. I don't think it is dangerous at all. I might also add that I have prayed the rosary with nuns while driving in DC:) It was one of the most peaceful things I have done. I always thought we were to pray without ceasing, what better prayer than the rosary? It is so powerful!

Anonymous said...

I, too, sleep with the rosary in my hands. When I had a heart attack in the middle of the night I was sure glad I had that rosary!! I also say certain prayers with certain actions during the day....prayers for those whose clothes I am ironing, praying while putting on my makeup, etc. In this busy world of ours, we take whatever minutes we can to glorify and thank God. And I'm just sure he accepts our "little ways".
Mrs. H.

SWP said...

Ignatius of Antioch.

Wait- it's 12:01 am so it's St. Luke.

I would sugest the Divine Mercy Chaplet for people praying on the go. Rosaries are best in Adoration hours.

asiering said...

I know this post is just shy of two years old but having the same question brought me here. I am not yet even a baptized Catholic but I say the full rosary (20 decades) broken up through out the day. I think what one of the questioners was asking is if one should say all the prayers before the rosary and after the rosary after each mystery if you one is breaking them up? It sounds like there might be no authoritative answer here, but I would still like know what people think. I say the prayer before the rosary before the Joyful mysteries but postpone the prayer to St. Michael and the Memorare of St. Bernard until after I've saying the Glorious mysteries later in day. I do however say the Apostles' Creed at the beginning and the Salve Regina at end of each mystery. On the first mystery I actually say the Act of Faith, Act of Hope and Act of love prayers before each Hail Mary on the first three beads after the first Patter bead. Then on the three subsequent mysteries I simply say "for an increase of faith, hope and love" and simply say a Hail Mary on each bead. So that's how I break it up. I consider myself in a suspended act of saying the rosary through the whole day so I only say the prayer before and the after prayers once. So that's how I've been breaking it up any thoughts?