Monday, September 28, 2009

Praying the Rosary, and Dominican Life

Dominicans, in general, have always had a strong attachment to the rosary as a powerful tool of prayer and meditation. I grew into it very gradually. About a year prior to becoming Catholic, I recall picking up a rosary that had been given to me by a friend and struggling through the prayers. What impressed me then about it, more than the theology behind the prayers, was that there was an almost prayerful rhythm behind the simple gestures of moving my fingers around the beads.

It was at that time that I began to "get" the texture of Catholic devotion and prayer. It truly is made up of the very stuff of the earth. Certainly we don't need these types of sacramentals to pray, but even today, I often find myself reaching into my pocket for my rosary and moving the beads through my fingers, a gesture that always serves to remind me, even in those moments, of the power of prayer, the presence of God's grace, and the gracious intercession of the Mother of God.

Lately, of course, I have sought, as a Lay Dominican "novice" (preparing to make my first profession in four months), to integrate the rosary into the regular rhythm of life. As much as I love the rosary now, I can't say that praying it regularly has been easy. After I entered the Church, I rarely prayed the rosary on my own. It wasn't until a few years ago that I began to fully appreciate the rosary and the different forms of prayer associated with it. Learning about the Dominican method of praying the rosary has helped me the most.

For Dominicans, this is the standard form of praying the rosary. This is not to be confused with the "Dominican Rosary", which is what the "rosary" actually is. Nevertheless, there are many folks who aren't aware that Dominicans pray the rosary in a slightly different manner.
In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

V. Hail Mary, full of grace. the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus

V. Lord, open my lips.
R. and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

V. God, come to my assistance.
R. Lord, make haste to help me.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
R. as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be, world with out end.

For each of the five Mysteries, the Mystery to be meditated upon is announced; then follows the recitation of Our Father; then follows the recitation of Hail Mary ten times in responsory fashion; finally the Glory be... is recited. Then follows the next Mystery.

After the last Mystery. All.
Hail, Holy Queen...

V. Pray for us, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.
R. That we might be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

All. Let us Pray.
O God, whose only begotten Son...

V. May the Divine assistance remain always with us.
R. And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Notice a few things. We omit the Apostles Creed and instead open the prayer with the Angelic Salutation followed by the rejoice of Elizabeth. And so we have already arrived into two of the profound mysteries elucidated by the rosary itself! Next, we proceed to ask for God's assistance in our prayer as in the psalms. Yes, this is also how we open the Liturgy of the Hours. After the Glory be, we move straight into the mysteries.

After each decade, there is the Glory be, but we omit the traditionally included Fatima Prayer and move directly into the next mystery. As much as the Fatima Prayer is most certainly a sincere and holy prayer, it always seemed a little out of place to me. And beyond that, I've been to some places where there were so many additional prayers tacked on to the end of each decade, it almost seemed that the decade itself was merely incidental, and the intention behind the mysteries seemed obscured. But take note: that is just my own personal opinion. Some still choose to include it.

Finally, as we finish the prayer, we make reference to the Blessed Mother under the very Dominican title of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.


Anonymous said...

hello, i still dont see where it says there is a queen in heaven in the bible. or that we should pray to a queen.ive look and i cant find anything even close

Alan Phipps said...

Hi, Anon. We ask those in Heaven for their intercession because they are alive in Christ and His grace. Intercessory prayer is certainly biblical (1 Tim. 2:1–4), and we know that those in Heaven offer prayer before God (Rev. 5:8) and that no power they have is of themselves but rather from God. Similarly, your ability to offer intercessory prayer for me, should I ask this of you, is only possible because of God. Mary herself was recognized by Gabriel as being full of grace. We refer to her as Queen because she is mother of the King.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see your "Dominican" version of the Rosary. When I told my Father that we never said the Apostle Creed when I was in grammar school he thought I had lost my mind. Though your beginning prayer is not exactly as I remember it, it is close.


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