2020-10-04 Spiritual Editorial .jpg
What is the Rosary? Is it a tool for idolatry or worship of Mary, the mother of Jesus? The Bible explicitly states we are to worship the one God alone.
 
Traditionally, Catholics celebrate a wide variety of special causes and devotions each month. October is the month of the Rosary and respect for life. As a woman who is comforted and strengthened in faith by the beautiful devotion of the Rosary, I would love to offer some insight.
 
The Rosary is the most famous and most popular chaplet for Catholics. A chaplet is a prayer devotion that commonly utilizes beads. Even the word “bead” is derived from an Old English word that translates as prayer.
 
The Rosary has its beginnings in third century Egypt where monks would pray the 150 Psalms using pebbles, and then by making prayer ropes by creating knots to count off the Psalms.
 
Another early practice was saying the Our Father 150 times using a string of beads with five decades. This is referred to as a Paternoster, which is Latin for “Our Father.”
 
The Rosary, as prayed today, consists of 59 beads anchored by a Crucifix. The Apostle’s Creed is prayed on the Crucifix, the Our Father on six singular beads, and the Hail Mary on five groups of ten beads or decades. Added at the end of each decade are the Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer. A Rosary is completed by saying the Hail, Holy Queen prayer.
 
The Hail Mary, which is said a total of 53 times while praying a single Rosary, developed over thousands of years. Its origins are taken from Luke 1:28, with the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary: “Hail, full of grace” and Luke 1:42: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (RSVCE). The Council of Trent and St. Peter Canius’ 1555 Catechism each also contributed to the prayer. In 1558, the Hail Mary we pray today was given final approval.
 
The words of the Hail Mary help us to focus on the miracle of the Incarnation, the moment when the Eternal Son became flesh in the womb of a woman. Mysteries of the Rosary are a mediation on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
 
We ask Mary to “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” so that we too may celebrate the victory Christ has won for us in this present time and in the life yet to come. Here is where the Catholic devotion to Mary gains relevance.
 
Mary’s focus was always her Son. The mother prepares the path for the son. The full truth about Mary defends and protects the full truth about Jesus. Lisa Brenninkmeyer, the founder of Walking With Purpose, states, “the more we understand her, the more we can love her. The more we love her, the more we’ll be drawn to her Son. When we turn our eyes to Mary, we don’t take our focus off of Christ. She just helps us to see him better.”

There is far more to the Rosary than I can give credit to in this brief writing. But, my prayer is that you now have a better understanding of this great devotion to Our Lord, Jesus Christ, through Our Lady, Mary, the Theotokos, the God-bearer, the Mother of God.
 
The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of NorthcentralPa.com