The Rosary

Roses of Prayer for the Queen of Heaven

by Rev. Daniel A. Lord, S.J. 

Nihil Obstat Athur J. Scanlan S.T.D: Censor Liborum
Imprimatur + Francis J. Spellman, D.D. Archbishop, New York


Joyful Mysteries Sorrowful Mysteries Glorious Mysteries
  1. Annunciation
  2. Visitation
  3. Nativity
  4. Presentation
  5. Finding in the Temple
  1. Agony in the Garden 
  2. Scourging
  3. Crowning with Thorns
  4. Carrying of the Cross
  5. Crucifixion
  1. Resurrection
  2. Ascension
  3. Descent of the Holy Ghost
  4. Assumption
  5. Coronation


Flowers for the Queen 
Saint Dominic 
Praying the Rosary 
The Greatest String of Beads 
The Way the Rosary is Said

Thinking and Praying 
Days of the Week 
The Indulgences of the Rosary 
Salvation with the Rosary


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The Annunciation

First Joyful Mystery - The Annunciation

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, God’s Son, entered the world. This is called the Incarnation. 
The Visitation

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 Elizabeth’s 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, Jesus. 
The Nativity

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. 
The Presentation

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. 
The Finding in the Temple

Fifth Joyful Mystery - The Finding in the Temple

The Jewish Temple was God’s house on earth. When Jesus was twelve years old, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem where the Temple stood. Jesus loved His Father’s 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 Father’s 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 Father’s business.” Then quietly He returned to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary and for the rest of His youth, He was perfectly obedient to them. 
The Agony in the Garden

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 sinner’s 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. 
The Scourging

Second Sorrowful Mystery - The Scourging

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. 
The Crowning with Thorns

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, let’s pretend that He is,” one of them cried. “For a joke let’s 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. 
The Carrying of the Cross

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. 
The Crucifixion

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery - The Crucifixion

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.” 

The Resurrection

First Glorious Mystery - The Resurrection

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. 
The Ascension

Second Glorious Mystery - The Ascension

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. 
The Descent of the Holy Ghost

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. 
The Assumption

Fourth Glorious Mystery - The Assumption

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 Mary’s 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. 
The Coronation

Fifth Glorious Mystery - The Coronation

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 power. 


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. 

Saint Dominic

Like all the great saints, Saint Dominic deeply loved God’s 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 God’s 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 Mary. 

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 Mary’s 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 Rosary

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. 

Salvation with the Rosary

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 – 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 people’s 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 – 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 God’s 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 those in the Catholic Church can have a high degree of certitude of salvation by giving just fifteen minutes a day to praying the Rosary.