from St. Louis de Montfort
Origin and Name
The Rosary is made up of two things: mental prayer and vocal prayer. In the Holy Rosary, mental prayer is none other than meditation of the chief mysteries of the life, death, and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Vocal prayer consists in saying fifteen decades of the Hail Mary, each decade headed by an Our Father, while at the same time meditating on and contemplating the fifteen principal virtues that Jesus and Mary practiced in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
In the first five decades, we must honor the five Joyous Mysteries and meditate on them; in the second five decades, the Sorrowful Mysteries; and in the third group of five, the Glorious Mysteries. So the Rosary is a blessed blending of mental and vocal prayer by which we honor and learn to imitate the mysteries and the virtues of the life, death, Passion, and glory of Jesus and Mary.
Since the Holy Rosary is composed, principally and in substance, of the Prayer of Christ and the Angelic Salutation – that is, the Our Father and the Hail Mary – it was without doubt the first prayer and the first devotion of the faithful and has been in use all through the centuries, from the time of the Apostles and disciples down to the present. But it was only in the year 1214, however, that Holy Mother Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today.
It was given to the Church by Saint Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.
For more detail on the history and importance of the Holy Rosary, the following books are recommended:
- De Dignitate Psalterii (The Importance and Beauty of the Holy Rosary) by Blessed Alan de la Roche, O.P.
- The Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louis Mary De Montfort