Rosary beads have been used for hundreds of years by Christians to celebrate the life and the wonders of God through the lives of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) notes that praying the rosary most likely came into existence because of early Christians who recited 50 to 150 Hail Marys each day as a substitution for their inability to read the 150 psalms read daily by monks. Praying the rosary is traditionally a Catholic practice. But anyone can pray the rosary.
Bend your fingers slightly, keeping your fingers together as if you were holding something in your hand. All rosaries will have a cross or a crucifix (a cross depicting the body of Jesus hanging on it), a short straight portion of beads, and a loop of beads for the prayers associated with each of the five mysteries of the rosary. Use your hand to make the sign of the cross and say the first prayer, the Apostles Creed.
While praying the Apostles Creed, hold the crucifix (or cross) of the rosary beads in your hands, using the image of the crucifixion to meditate.
Drape the beads to the left of the crucifix over your fingers with the crucifix facing upright, letting the rest of the beads fall in a circle below your fingers.
Use your thumb to hold the first bead against your index finger. This bead will be used to say the first prayer of the rosary. Rosary-Center.org notes on the first bead you recite the Our Father, also known as the Lord's Prayer.
Push the bead upward over your finger with your thumb once you have completed the Our Father prayer. For the next three beads, say one Hail Mary for each bead, pushing the bead forward with your thumb after each prayer.
When you reach the first 10 beads (known as a "decade"), state the first mystery. (The first of what are known as the Joyful Mysteries, for instance, is the annunication of the angel Gabriel to Mary saying she will be the mother of Jesus.) Say an Our Father while holding the first bead, then use each of the following 10 beads to count while you pray 10 Hail Marys as you meditate on the mystery. After you have completed the 10 Hail Mary prayers, say a Glory Be to the Father. Continue on to the next mystery using these same steps until you have completed the rosary. In closing, pray the Hail Holy Queen while still holding the chain or pendant on your rosary that links all of the beads.
The color of your rosary beads and the material that your rosary is made of has no significance in praying the rosary. These aspects are matters of personal preference.
If you have arthritis and are unable to hold a set of rosary beads comfortably, you can use your fingers to keep track of your prayers as you pray the rosary.
Catholiccity.com notes that a rosary consists of praying five decades of one set of mysteries. A "full rosary" consists of saying all 20 decades--that is, all four sets of five mysteries. The same set of rosary beads can be used for the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous mysteries.
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