Below you can find my book about the most Holy Rosary and how to use it effectively in your life. If you prefer you can download it a word document here
The Holy Rosary
A Way To Connect With Divinity
by Joseph McTaggart
(Not to be sold – to be distributed freely)
Dedicated to Mother Angelica
For the purposes of this short booklet, I assume that the Reader is familiar with the Rosary and the prayers associated with it. If not, much guidance is available on the Internet to help and assist with the actual formal prayers. I have written a section at the end of this book about how to use the Rosary formally.
Have you ever sat in Church and wondered what to say to God? Has your mind been blank empty or just dis-interested in religious things? Have you tried to pray and found that your prayers don´t seem to be getting any further than your mouth?
If so, then this booklet is for you.
For many years I had heard statements like:
The Rosary is a weapon
The Rosary is a devotion
The Rosary is a tool to save unborn Children
The Rosary is the Rose Garden of the Life and Death of Jesus
The Rosary is a mystery
Mostly from well meaning people who genuinely believed what they were saying. Initially I thought the problem was with me because when I tried to pray it, nothing happened. I´m not sure what I expected but I was waiting for some great illumination. It was dull, it was boring and most of all it was wasting my time which could be better spent reading, working or perhaps something not spiritually related. I concluded that it was powered by the word “mystery” because none of us really understood it and that mystique allowed us to step into the unknown for a moment.
This awareness however wasn´t enough for me. I wanted to know what exactly all the excitement was about the Rosary, not just because it can´t be explained but to know exactly why is it after hundrereds of years some people still recite it daily. What kind of spirituality is it and how can I use it to make me or help me find God. Can these beads really fill the hole in my life? Catholics born in the 70s 80s and 90s have no connection to Religion, we go to Mass because we are ordered, we feel guilty we are bored or because its kind of expected of us. Religion failed to make itself relevant in our lives so how can I expect these beads to somehow dramatically change my outlook
On the following pages we will learn how to make it real and how it can fit into a map to take you deeper into the practices of the Christian Church. The Rosary can re-energise your faith and this booklet will show you how. The formal Rosary is actually a mini-statement of the Gospels and is a Bible for busy people as formally it contains the complete essence of faith.
What exactly is the Rosary?
Lets first of all deal with our preconceptions about the Rosary. One of the biggest problems is our baggage. Some of us were forced to recite it like parrots as children and others have no patience whith what they see as repetitive cumbersome prayers. This section will cover the basics about what it is (and isn´t).
“Is it not just mumbo jumbo repetitive prayers to Mary and Jesus”?
I have no doubt that many people see it that way, but lets look at Eastern Religions first to see how they deal with the subject.
Muslims have a “rosary” they recite the 99 names of Allah on it.
Hare Krishna Hindus and other hindu groups have a rosary to recite sacred words.
Buddhists have a Rosary to remind them of certain words they have to say.
Indeed anybody practicing any kind of secular meditation will tell you that any kind of relaxation technique often begins with reciting a keyword many times to take them deeper into themselves. So, theres definitely something about it which is used for relaxation, used even outside of a faith context.
“Yes, but to Mary? Im not really a religious type”
You don´t have to be, if you are uncomfortable with the idea that its to Mary, think of it in a more esoteric way. Mary is indeed the Virgin Mary declared by the Church but she also represents the feminine characteristics of God wrapped in a human cloak and given a name. Her figure and name are given to us not to worship her personality (although her example is great) but to see God´s love for his children in a Maternal way. Its God´s way of saying “Im your Father and this is your Mother”. Remember he created her also. To see Mary as an emanation of God´s love for us is a very different thing from worshipping the human Mary. In fact she is walking us around the garden of her Son´s life and death, her finger is pointing upwards never to herself. So you don´t have to picture Jesus´ Mother but you need to picture the Maternal love flowing to you and to picture Mary is a fantastic way of doing that.
Isn´t it old fashioned?
Some people think so but those same people are craving some kind of connection with divinity. If you are a cradle Catholic the Rosary might be an important part of your identity because it can remind you of a practice which your ancestors practiced. There´s no doubt that many of the old people we see in the Catholic Churches may be reciting this out of boredom or fear but that in itself shows the forgotten art of prayer and meditation.
“Prayer isnt a word I usually use, in fact I think its for weak people” (another statement I hear a lot).
Part of the issue with the Rosary is we associate it with the Church which in turn means we associate it with Catholicism which means for young people today it isn´t sexy. Everything we do in life is a prayer, playing football is a prayer, cleaning the house is a prayer, we need to look behind these practices to see what is being expressed here. Football is a prayer demonstating good sportsmanship, a spiritual quality. Cleaning is demonstrating the spiritual quality of comfort. If you don´t want to think of it as a Prayer, then think of it as a statement. A statement of life, love and an outreach for some greater understanding of Love.
Prayer is not about getting, its more about giving, and as we think about metaphors and things in our lives, we can often see ways of giving and helping other people. Its not about connecting with God to get something its about connecting to give. The Rosary can soften you up a bit and make you more open to other people and life around you. By stepping away from life for a few moments, you can get a clear view of whats happening around you and to other people.
How can you use the Rosary
The first thing you can do is to examine why exactly you are reading this and what exactly is it you are trying to get. In Catholic terms this is called an “examination of your conscience”
What am I trying to get out of the Rosary or from God and can I rewrite that question to read “what exactly can I give, in order to help another person or kind word at this exact moment”
I want to get closer to God. This can be rewritten as “I am close to God and I want to get closer, what can I do for another person to affirm this”?
If I were to die in five minutes I would……… (complete the answer as much as you want)
I have financial problems I want God and the Virgin to help me. This can be rewritten as “I have food to eat every day, I can clearly see provision in my life given from God, how can I trust God more”
I need to start praying, this can be rewritten as: “My life is a prayer because I am created by God and I can see good things every day, but I want feel closer because sometimes I don´t always feel his Love at least not in a traditional religious way” .
Before you do any prayers in any religion or even a meditation practice you need to take a few moments to ask why:
Is it a selfish motive?
Are you trying to blame God for something or,
feel some material thing would make you happier?
Whats happening in your mind?
Poetry and The Rosary
Theres many different ways you can come to the Rosary, you don´t have to jump right in with words. For me, I like to look at more creative ways of interacting with it.
Some days thats with poetry, some days thats with music and other days its with reading about something or someone who has touched my life in some way.
Poetry is a wonderful way to use the Rosary if you are new to it. You could write a poem or a prayer to Mary or to God, you could examine one of the “mysteries” or even pick up on a word from the Lord´s prayer or the Hail Mary and see where that leads. Its not just about reciting words, its about your feelings and what you are bringing to the table.
Let me give you an example:
Yesterday I had a horrific day, I woke up tired, hazy and a bit off key. I had loads of work and writing assignments on my desk and I didn´t want to do any of them. My Rosary was on the table, I looked and picked up the beads and my initial thought was “ I cant, Im too stressed” and sat them down again.
At that point I had a pang of guilt and then I remembered that Mary was there just waiting to point out her son´s suffering and Glory. But I also thought, “yeah whatever, but not now” and at that point I took 5 minutes just to write a short note to her, I said
“Mother I love you, and if you dont want me to be stressed right now, give me something to rest upon or think about”
I started to feel a bit better immediately, just waiting for the unexpected to happen, then a friend came to mind that had been having a hard time recently and I called her to say hi. So what would have been a forced recitation became a Rosary of thanks that an old friend was in touch.
Writing Poems or Letters
about the Rosary
Before you begin to recite or use the Rosary, have a look at the beads, what comes to your mind. Write your answers below, preferably ust one word answers:
What words in those descriptions best matches the words you have written above, from the life of Jesus or Mary. I mean, what scenes from the Mysteries can be matched with what you have written? I want you to continue writing words, phrases, poetry and letters for around a week, using the beads as inspiration, before you try reciting the Rosary for the first time. Look at them, examine them, what comes to your mind. Good or bad, write whatever comes to mind. A list of the “Mysteries” can be found at the end of this booklet.
Who Am I?
In this next exercise, I would like you to lay the Rosary out flat upon the table and notice how the beads are divided into 5 parts.
In each part you have one bead which sits alone and then 10 beads which are together. Imagine you are the bead which sits alone. I want you to write down the names of 10 people you would like to pray for. One for each bead. These people could be living or dead. What would you say to each one of these people if they were with you now? Consider writing a letter to each of them explaining why you are thinking of them.
Are some old friends you need to contact?
Some people you need to make up with?
Deceased people you miss?
For around a week, see what action you can take to find peace with the people who have appeared on your list. If they are deceased maybe you can write a letter telling them how much you miss them.
If this exercise brings up a lot of pain considering talking to someone or taking further action to allow you to “let go”.
Repeat the exercise, this time thinking of ten things which worry you. These can be world events or personal things such as finances, relationships or maybe even lost items.
Of course when you begin to pray the Rosary you can remember these people and things including yourself as you recite the words of the Our Father and Hail Mary. Details of how to actually pray the Rosary are at the end of this booklet.
This time, rather than looking at the beads I want you to notice the spaces between the beads. What do you feel is missing in your life?
Write ten answers below and then with each Hail Mary you recite on the Rosary remember what you found in the spaces.
Now, I want you to think of the opposite of each word, and look for evidence of how it exists in your life already.
eg. Short of Money. Opposite is abundance. What is abundant in your life?
Lack of Family, Opposite is a full Family. What is your relationship like with other Church Members?
Lack of Love, How much Love do you really show to other people?
The Rosary and Psalms
In this exercise, I would like you to take the Book of Psalms from the Bible and randomly read one (any one) before you begin to recite the Rosary.
Notice the theme of the Psalm, what is it saying?
If you were writing a Psalm today what would it be like? Happy? Sad? Deep? Joyful? Poetic? Historical?
Try writing a Psalm and notice how often you use the words “I” or “me”.
Rewrite your Psalm using the English Grammar Passive Voice without using “I or “me”.
Other Short Prayers you can say on the Beads repeatedly
Father, if you don´t want me to be thinking of ……………… right now, then please tell me what I should be thinking of.
Father, my small mindedness stops me from meeting you in the grand existence which is life, help me to see you today in someones smile, kind word, deed or action. Help me to demonstrate these things Father, if I can´t see them in another person.
Father, help me to know you better.
Father, help me to see the world as you see it, pure, loving, and reflecting all of your qualities.
Father, teach me to Love and to accept the Love you have for me.
Father, teach me happiness, one of your greatest gifts for us.
In this exercise, I want you to focus on one of the beads, (choose a random one) look at its colour, its size and shape, ask yourself the following:
if this bead could speak to me, what would it say?
What person or situation would it ask me to pray for?
Look at the way it joins the next bead, who or what are you joined to? Is it a good thing or bad thing?
Look at how shiny the bead is, how shining are you for God´s Love today?
Now, stop to examine where that bead is on the Rosary and also what day of the week it is today. At the end of this booklet there is a list under the section of “Traditional Prayers” of what Mysteries we pray and when. What day of the week is it today? What Mystery is this bead in on the Rosary and what can I learn and apply to this situation or person? How can I pray for them? You can then offer your Rosary that day for the person.
The Traditional Prayers
The Order of Prayers
The first prayers begin on the beads with the crucifix:
The Rosary begins with the Apostles Creed on the crucifix, followed by:
one Our Father on the next bead,
three Hail Marys on the three small beads,
a Glory Be in the space following that, and, if desired, the Fatima Prayers also in the space.
Next is one bead before we enter the actual circle , this bead is the first “Our Father” of the Mysteries.
There are five Mysteries, each consisting of :
An Our Father,
ten Hail Marys,
a Glory Be, and, if desired, the Fatima Prayers.
Conclude with the Hail Holy Queen at the very end where the circle ends and meets the part leading to the crucifix. It sometimes looks like a small picture of the Virgin Mary
Prayers of the Rosary
The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst 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.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O my Jesus, forgive us of our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.
Hail Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us O Holy Mother of God, That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God whose only begotten Son by his life, death, and Resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant we beseech thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Twenty Mysteries
Here is a brief listing and description of all twenty Mysteries.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel “announces” to Mary that she shall conceive the Son of God.
The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist.
The Nativity: Jesus is born.
The Presentation: Mary and Joseph “present” Jesus in the Temple where they meet Simeon.
The Finding in the Temple: After losing Him, Mary and Joseph find young Jesus teaching the Rabbis in the Temple.
The Luminous Mysteries (The Mysteries of Light)
The Baptism in the Jordan: The voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son.
The Wedding at Cana: Christ changes water into wine, his first public miracle.
The Proclamation of the Kingdom: Jesus calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him.
The Transfiguration: The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ.
The Institution of the Eucharist: Jesus offers the first Mass at the Last Supper with his apostles, establishing the sacramental foundation for all Christian living.
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony in the Garden: Jesus sweats water and blood while praying the night before his passion.
The Scourging at the Pillar: Pilate has Jesus whipped.
The Crowning with Thorns: Roman soldiers crown Jesus’ head with thorns.
The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus meets His mother and falls three times on the way up Calvary.
The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies before His mother and His apostle John.
The Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection: Jesus rises from the dead.
The Ascension: Jesus leaves the Apostles and bodily “ascends” to heaven.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit: The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire in the upper room with Mary.
The Assumption: Mary is taken bodily–assumed–into heaven by God at the end of her life here on earth.
The Coronation: Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.
Mysteries for Certain Weekdays
Monday – Joyful
Tuesday – Sorrowful
Wednesday – Glorious
Thursday – Luminous
Friday – Sorrowful
Saturday – Joyful
Sunday – Glorious
I hope this little booklet has given you some ideas on how best to use the Holy Rosary to enrich your prayer life .
Remember there´s loads of other things you can do to make it fun 🙂