First Joyful Mystery - The
When Adam and Eve sinned in Paradise, they lost their right to happiness.
But God promised to send His only Son to regain this happiness for them.
Out of all the world, God chose Mary to be the Mother of His Son. One day
the Angel Gabriel from heaven appeared to her. "Hail, full of grace!" he
cried. And he told her that she was to be the Mother of the Most High.
Mary answered, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord!" At that moment the Second
Person of the Blessed Trinity, Godís Son, entered the world. This is called
Second Joyful Mystery - The Visitation
The Angel Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth, though an old lady,
was to have a little son. This son was St. John the Baptist. So immediately
Mary hurried over the hills to take care of her cousin. When Elizabeth
saw her, she cried, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb." Mary answered by singing the Magnificat. Mary stayed with
her cousin until John the Baptist was born. She was Elizabethís little
nurse and maid servant. When John was born and Elizabeth was strong again,
Mary returned to her own home to wait for the birth of her own dear Son,
Third Joyful Mystery - The Nativity
The proud Roman Emperor ordered all his citizens to pay their taxes in
their home cities. So Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary traveled to
Bethlehem. Bethlehem was so full of visitors they could not find a place
to sleep. So they went out to a little stable in a hill. And there Jesus,
the Savior of the world, was born. A glorious star shone in the heavens.
Angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of
good will!" Shepherds came to adore the newborn King. Wise Men from the
east brought Him lovely gifts. Mary was deeply happy. She lifted Him high
for the world to see. This was the first Christmas.
Fourth Joyful Mystery - The Presentation
All men and women are the children of God. The holy Jews carried each first
born son to the Temple and offered him to God. Then in his place, they
gave God a lamb or, if they were poor, a pair of pure white doves. So Mary
carried her Son to the Temple. She offered Him to God. Then, because she
was poor, she offered in His place two white doves. But a great prophet
called Simeon saw the Baby and knew this was the Savior of the world. He
cried aloud in his joy. And a wise old lady named Anna blessed Him and
His dear Mother. Then Mary carried her Son home again. She was His beloved
nurse and teacher and protector.
Fifth Joyful Mystery - The Finding
in the Temple
The Jewish Temple was Godís house on earth. When Jesus was twelve years
old, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem where the Temple stood. Jesus
loved His Fatherís house. So when Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth,
their home town, He stayed behind. He knew that God wished Him to stay
longer in His Fatherís house. Soon Mary and Joseph found that Jesus was
lost. They hurried back to the Temple. For three days and nights they looked
everywhere for Him. Finally, they found Him seated among the doctors and
priests. He was asking them wise questions and teaching them about the
Savior. He did this because this was "His Fatherís business." Then quietly
He returned to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary and for the rest of His youth,
He was perfectly obedient to them.
First Sorrowful Mystery - The
Agony in the Garden
Everyone who commits a sin is a criminal against the good God. So he should
be punished. But Jesus, our Saviour, came to take the sinnerís place. He
asked God to punish Him instead of us who really are the guilty ones. This
suffering of Christ we call His Passion. On Holy Thursday after He gave
us the Blessed Sacrament, He went into a lonely garden called Gethsemane.
He looked ahead and saw all He was going to suffer. He saw all our sins,
ugly, filthy, evil. And the thought of His Passion and our sins made Him
sweat blood. This blood poured down upon the ground in His agony. Then
Judas came with the soldiers. Like a traitor he kissed Jesus. The soldiers
led Him away to death.
Second Sorrowful Mystery - The
Pilate, the Roman Governor, knew that Jesus was not guilty. But all the
people cried out for His death. And because Jesus had taken our place,
God, His Father, was willing to let His Son die. Pilate ordered Him to
be whipped. The soldiers fastened Him to a stone column. Then with heavy
whips, they beat His back. Jesus suffered terribly from this scourging.
But He did not cry out. For He knew who many people commit sins with their
bodies. We sometimes call these the sins of the flesh. So He wanted to
suffer for their sad sins. He wanted us to be strong against this kind
of ugly sin.
Third Sorrowful Mystery - The
Crowning with Thorns
Jesus was the King of Kings, the King of the Jews. But the Roman soldiers
thought this was funny. "Still, letís pretend that He is," one of them
cried. "For a joke letís make Him a crown." So they picked up a branch
of cruel thorns, and made it into a crown. They pushed it into the head
of our Savior. It hurt Him terribly. The blood ran down into His eyes.
The thorns tore His skin and reached toward His brain. Then the soldiers
put a reed in His hand. They threw a dirty red cloak over His shoulders.
They laughed at Him and cried, "Hail to the King!" Jesus suffered all this
because of our sins of thought and pride.
Fourth Sorrowful Mystery - The
Carrying of the Cross
Pilate heard the people cry out, "Crucify Him!" So Pilate ordered Him to
be nailed on a cross. But first He had to carry His own cross up to the
top of Calvary. The cross was very heavy. The soldiers put it on His shoulder
and it rubbed against His torn flesh. They dragged Him through the city
and up the hill to die. The people laughed at Him and threw rocks and mud.
When He fell, the soldiers kicked Him to His feet. Once along the way,
He met Mary, His Mother. But she could do nothing to help her dear Son.
Veronica ran out of the crowd and wiped His face with her veil. Some good
women wept for Him. And Simon was forced to help Him carry the cross.
Fifth Sorrowful Mystery - The
For three hours our dear Lord hung on the cross. He was taking on Himself
the punishment for our sins. He prayed to His Father in heaven, "Father,
forgive them." He forgave the terrible sinner who became the Good Thief.
He gave us His own dear Mother. He cried out because He was thirsty for
our love. At length, He knew that God had forgiven our sins. Once more,
we had the right to enter heaven. So He dropped His head and died. "Greater
love than this no man hath than to lay down his life for his friends."
First Glorious Mystery - The
Christ died on Good Friday. He was buried in the Holy Sepulchre. For three
days He lay dead. Soldiers guarded the tomb. The Roman Governor, Pilate,
placed on the heavy door the seal of Rome. Then Sunday morning dawned.
Beautiful light appeared in the sky. The soldiers saw light pouring from
the grave where Jesus lay. The great, heavy stone rolled away of itself.
And Jesus, glorious, strong, beautiful, and alive, came forth from the
tomb. He visited His dear Mother and thanked her. He showed Himself to
Mary Magdalen who was weeping for Him. He appeared to His Apostles. He
proved to us that we shall live forever. This was the first Easter.
Second Glorious Mystery - The
For forth days Jesus remained on earth after His Resurrection. He established
His Church and gave it wonderful powers. He talked to His friends, telling
them about heaven, and about the work they must do first for God and souls.
Then one Thursday, He took them all up on Mount Olivet. He gave them His
last instructions and said goodbye. Slowly by His own power, He began to
rise from the earth. He stretched out His hands to bless them. He smiled
down for the last time upon His Mother. At last a cloud covered Him, and
He entered the joys of heaven. An angel then came to the Apostles and told
them to go back and begin to work for souls. Some day they too would enter
heaven and be happy forever.
Third Glorious Mystery - The
Descent of the Holy Ghost
Christ had promised the Apostles, "I will send you the Holy Spirit. He
will be your Comforter." After Jesus left them, the Apostles were afraid.
So they hid themselves in the little apartment of Mary. They prayed and
waited for nine days. This was the first Novena. Then on Pentacost, over
their heads, the Apostles saw parted tongues of fire. A tongue settled
on each of their heads. The Holy Spirit had come. At once, they went out
and began to tell everyone about Jesus. They spoke so strongly that thousands
believed and were baptized. This was the birthday of the Catholic Church.
Fourth Glorious Mystery - The
For a long time, Jesus left His Mother on earth. He wanted her to take
care of His Apostles, and be the Mother of the new Church. Then one day
He quietly sent for her, and with a smile she died. The Apostles came from
all over the earth to be at her deathbed. They carried her body to her
grave and laid it gently in the ground. Saint Thomas came late, after the
burial. When the Apostles took him to the grave, they found it empty and
open. Where Maryís body had rested, beautiful lilies were growing. Jesus
had sent His angels to bring the body of His Mother to heaven. It was too
pure to rest in the earth. It had served Him so well that it must at once
enjoy the happiness of heaven.
Fifth Glorious Mystery - The
Mary had served Jesus all her life. She had loved and served God with her
whole heart and soul. She had never committed the slightest sin. So in
heaven she was to have her reward. Body and soul, Mary entered heaven.
Her Son, Jesus, met her and took her in His grateful arms. The heavenly
Father said, "This is My dear devoted daughter." The Divine Son said, "This
is My dear faithful Mother." The Holy Spirit said, "This is my sweet, pure
bride." And the saints and angels all cried, "This is our Queen!" So Jesus,
the King of Kings, seated her on her throne. On her head He placed a glorious
crown of stars. But Mary looked down to see her children on earth. For
now she could help her sons and daughters to reach heaven. Mary is the
Queen of Heaven. But she is our loving Mother who protects us with her
Flowers for the Queen
||Mary is the lovely Mother of the world. She is the beautiful Queen
of Heaven. Now the sweetest gift that people give to a mother and a queen
is a bouquet of flowers. Mary, since that first Christmas, has been wonderfully
good to all her children. So we love to give her roses. Since she is in
heaven, it is hard to give her roses from our gardens. Yet we do this when
we decorate her shrines. Always we can give her our Rosary, a beautiful
bouquet of prayers. So we lay the Rosary in the arms of our Queen and Mother.
||Like all the great saints, Saint Dominic deeply loved Godís Mother,
Mary. He dedicated his splendid priests, the Dominicans, to her. Dominic
taught men to love the name of Jesus. He longed to make them know and love
the sweet Mother of Jesus. He wanted them to pray to her, to think of her,
to recall the wonderful life of Jesus and Mary. Mary loved her son, Dominic.
So she gave him a string of beads like a necklace. She taught him how to
use it. She asked him to give it to the world. And from that day on, men
and women have used the Rosary when they pray to Godís Mother.
Praying the Rosary
||Sometimes, when we pray to Mary, we talk to her. Sometimes, when we
pray to Mary, we just think about her and her Son. When we use the Rosary,
we talk to her and think about her and Jesus at the same time. For our
vocal prayers we use the Apostles Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary,
the Glory Be to the Father. For our mental prayers, we think about the
great events in the life of Mary and her divine Son called Mysteries. So
when we use the Rosary, we talk to the Blessed Trinity, to Our Father in
Heaven, and to Mary herself. And all the while we keep think about the
great events that filled the life of Jesus and Mary on earth.
The Greatest String of Beads
||Often we call the Rosary our "beads." Almost every Catholic carries
these beads in his pocket or in her purse. Little children love to say
them with their parents. When Catholics die, usually their beads are twined
through their fingers and they are buried with them. Great saints have
called their beads a ladder leading up to heaven. But simple, uneducated
people loved them too. Today, good Catholics say them when they walk, in
street cars, while they wait for friends, at night in their rooms, driving
their autos, wherever they have a minute to think of Jesus and talk to
The Way the Rosary is Said
||Most beads are only one-third the full Rosary. The beads start with
a crucifix. On this, we recite the Apostles Creed. Then on all the large
beads we say the Our Father. At the beginning of the Rosary there is one
of these large beads. Following it are three small beads. On each bead
we say the Hail Mary. The beads are connected with a chain. When we come
to the big space that follows each group of Hail Marys we say the Glory
Be to the Father. The beads are grouped in decades called Mysteries; one
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be. On a small set of beads,
there are five decades. On a complete Rosary, there are fifteen decades.
Thinking and Praying
||We like to say important things over and over again. Our mother loves
to hear us say repeatedly, "Mother, I love you!" When a hero passes, the
crowds keep shouting, "Hooray! Hooray!" So in the Rosary we repeat the
beautiful Hail Mary. Mary loves to think we greet her over and over again.
But while we do this, we keep thinking about her and her Son. We pick a
scene from her life and the life of our Lord. We think of that while we
say one decade. So with our voices we praise and love God and Mary. And
all the time, we keep thinking about the things that made her happy, the
cruel Passion of Our Lord that made her sad, the glorious events that made
her Queen of Heaven.
Days of the Week
||So when we start the Rosary, we ask ourselves what day of the week
it is. If it is Monday or Thursday, we say, "For the five decades of my
beads, I will think of the things that filled Maryís heart with joy." These
are the Joyful Mysteries. If it is Tuesday or Friday, we say, "Today I
will think of the things that made the heart of our Mother sad." These
are the Sorrowful Mysteries. If it is Wednesday or Saturday, we say, "This
day I will think only of those things which made Mary deeply happy." These
are the Glorious Mysteries. If it is Sunday in Advent and up to Lent, we
think of the Joyful Mysteries. During Lent on Sunday we think of the Sorrowful
Mysteries. The rest of the year on Sundays we think of the Glorious Mysteries.
The Indulgences of the
||When you get a new Rosary, you should have it blessed (if a priest
is available). The Popes have loved the Rosary very much. So they gave
priests power to bless the Rosary, and when they do, each bead carries
with it an Indulgence. This Indulgence is the remission of the temporal
punishment we must suffer for our sins either on earth or in Purgatory.
There are various kinds of Rosary blessings and each has a different kind
of Indulgence. One blessing is called the Dominican, for the great Saint
Dominic who received the Rosary from Mary. Another is called the Apostolic.
This is the blessing of the Pope. Another is called the Crosier, which
makes us think of the cross on the Rosary.
A Sure Sign of Predestination
||Pope Pius X said: "If you want peace in your heart, in your home, in
your country, assemble together every night and say the ROSARY. Many complain
that it is tiring repetition Ė that they cannot meditate on the mysteries.
Our Blessed Mother gave this advice to St. Dominic: "This is why, before
doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a love of prayer in peopleís
hearts and especially a love of my rosary. If only they would all start
saying it and persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give
them His grace. So I want you to preach My Rosary!"
St. Louis de Montfort said: "I beg of you to beware of thinking of the
Rosary as something of little importance Ė as do ignorant people and even
several great but proud scholars. Far from being insignificant, the Rosary
is a priceless treasure which is inspired by God." He also tells us: "For
never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic
or be led astray by the devil."
St. Dominic prayed to Our Lady that she would force the devils, who
possessed a man, to reveal the truth about devotion to her. The devils
were forced by Our Lady to reveal: "Now that we are forced to speak we
must also tell you this: Nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will
be damned, because she obtains for her servants the grace of true contrition
for their sins and by means of this they obtain Godís forgiveness and mercy."
St. Teresa of Avila tells us how priceless a treasure it is by showing
the value and merits of a single HAIL MARY. Shortly after her death, she
appeared to one of the sisters of her community and told her that she was
willing to return to a life of suffering until the end of time to merit
the degree of glory which God rewards one devoutly recited Hail Mary.
What a wonderful consolation to know that we can be
assured of salvation by giving just fifteen minutes a day to praying the