The Rosary prayer focuses on the life of Christ from the Scriptures…it is partly a history lesson. To that end, the beads of the Rosary are divided into five decades (or sections); each decade represents an event from the life of Christ. These five events are grouped into a set of Mysteries, that is a “truth” from the life of Christ. There are four sets of these “mysteries” of five events each, and each event is focused on important part of the life of Christ. When praying the Rosary, each day of the week is assigned a set of the mysteries to pray for that day.
The Holy Rosary is to be prayed — not simply recited. Try to place yourself “into” the scene of the particular mystery as you pray. One single “Hail Mary” prayed from the heart is worth a thousand spoken only upon the lips. Practically everyone who prays the Rosary “offers” the Rosary to God and Our Lady for an intention. Some people offer particular intentions before each decade. You can ask God to grant you a favor, heal a sick person, or convert a sinner.
It is widely known that Our Lady answers seemingly impossible intentions to those who are first beginning to pray the Rosary. This is her way of drawing you closer to Her and to Jesus. If you are praying your first Rosary, or returning to the Rosary after years of not talking to Our Lady, ask for something big, spectacular, “impossible.” She’ll often surprise you.
Method of Practice
The Rosary is a private devotion, whose method of practice is subject to a wide range of personal choice. You can start praying the Rosary following the Mysteries menus at your right (in English and Latin), you can also pray the Rosary using Psalms. Praying in Latin can help facilitate increased focus on the mysteries of the rosary as well as deepen meditation.
Sages and saints, from earliest times, have taught that singing a prayer is more powerful than speaking it. “He who sings well prays twice”. (Qui bene cantat, bis orat). Gregorian chant therefore seems well-suited for singing the Rosary.
Meriting a Plenary Indulgence
The Catholic Church, exercising its authority to “bind and loose on heaven and earth,” and in perfect accord with God’s Mercy, has set the following conditions for the granting of a plenary indulgence for those who pray the Rosary:
- Be in a state of grace–that is your soul is free from mortal sin.
- Be free from attachment to–that is, not in the habit of–venial sin.
- Go to confession several days before or after praying the Rosary.
- Receive Holy Communion on the day you pray the Rosary.
- Say a prayer for the Pope.
By fulfilling these simple (but often difficult) conditions, you merit the grace to release one soul from Purgatory. While we are free to ask God to apply this grace to a particular soul, God can do as he pleases, according to His Will and Mercy. You can also ask God to apply this special grace to your own soul. A plenary indulgence will relieve the temporal punishment due to sin (it will not absolve the sin or cause the sin to be forgiven).