What do we really know about this object, so precious for each believer?
Over the centuries the blessed rosary has been praised by the Popes: Leo XIII, for example, included in his encyclical letter “Supremi Apostolatus Officio” his personal devotion to the rosary and encourages the believers to pray through it. John Paul II writing the apostolic letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” added the luminous mysteries to the recitation of the rosary and also Pope Francis, today, promotes its daily use.
This small object contains in itself the amazing force that only the faith can provide. It is also used in prayer aimed at keeping Satan away from the believers’ houses and, of course, from their daily life.
The blessed rosary finds its origins in the desert, in the III century a.d., when the hermits walked for hours holding beads in their hands and praying with great faith. Only during the Middle Ages that it took the name of “rosary”, from the practice of offering a wreath of roses to the Virgin Mary.
The very first rosaries were just a simple knotted cord whose beads were obtained from the kernels of the olive trees from the Holy Land or from cedar wood. Other rosaries were derived from Melia Azedarach, a very tall tree (it can actually reach even 15 meters) that fits well for this purpose with its great resistance and natural holes. That’s why today this plant also takes the name” Rosary Tree” or “Pater Noster Tree”.
In the religious world there are several festivities related to the symbolism of the blessed rosary. For example, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary finds its roots in the request of Pope Pius V- during the Battle of Lepanto, in 1571-to intercede, through a rosary and its prayers, in achieving liberation from the Turks-Ottomans threat. This festivity, in the very beginning, took the name of Our Lady of Victory, then, with the arrival of Pope Gregory III, was named “Our Lady of the Rosary”, whose celebration falls every year on the 7th of October.
Today we find rosaries made in different forms and materials also according to the religion professed. For example, the Christian confession uses several types: a chaplet called Komboskini or Ciotki for the Orthodox believers, Lutherans and Catholics use the same crown, while the Anglicans use the Anglican Rosary.
The beads, in total 59, help to identify the mysteries to be professed and to maintain the right concentration as if the prayer were a true sort of meditation.The mysteries are divided by type and also according to the days of the week: on Monday and Saturday we will recite the joyous mysteries, on Tuesday and Friday the painful mysteries, on Wednesday and Sunday the glorious mysteries and, finally, on Thursdays the luminous mysteries.
The form of the blessed rosary also characterizes a certain type of prayer and liturgical purpose.Among the most well-known rosaries we find Ten Rosary, Ring Rosary, “Salterio”, Franciscan and Brigidino Rosaries, which differ according to the number of mysteries to be recited.
The Missionary Rosary is characterized by beads of different colors, each of which represents the continent to which the religion connects: color wood for Europe, yellow for Asia, green for Africa, red for America and blue for Oceania.
The rosary is certainly a very strong link between the believer and God and with its different facets and features remains a key issue despite having a centuries-old history.
“… The Holy Rosary, due to ancient tradition, particularly lends itself to be a prayer in which the entire family comes together…”
(John Paul II, Rosario Virginis Mariae)
Below is a very useful infographic that explains point by point the 10 things you did not know about the blessed rosary.