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Complete Rosary A G u ide t o P r ay ing t he My st er ies

William G. Storey

Contents Introduction


Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary Early Witnesses to the Role of Mary


Marian Devotion in the Latin West


The Marian Votive Mass The Marian Office



The Hail Mary Devotion The Ave Psalter




The Emerging Rosary


The Golden Rosary


The Classic Rosary


Decline of the Meditated Rosary


The Basic Vocal Prayers of the Rosary The Sign of the Cross The Apostles’ Creed

40 40 vii




The Lord’s Prayer The Hail Mary

42 44

Doxology: The Gloria Patri


Praying the Rosary with Adults Private and Public Recitation

48 50

Distribution of the Mysteries over Time

How to Pray the Rosary Meditation






Praying the Rosary with Children


Praying the Rosary in the Face of Death and Dying 62 The Rosary in Church


The Joyful Mysteries 67 1. Gabriel Announces the Good News to Mary 75 2. Mary Visits Her Cousin Elizabeth




3. Jesus Is Born in Bethlehem of Judea


4. Mary and Joseph Present Jesus in the Temple 89 5. Mary and Joseph Find Jesus in the Temple

The Luminous Mysteries 99 1. Jesus Is Baptized by John in the Jordan


2. Jesus and Mary Attend the Wedding Feast of Cana 111 3. Jesus Preaches and Inaugurates the Imminent Reign of God 115 4. Jesus Is Transfigured on Mount Tabor 5. Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper

The Sorrowful Mysteries


1. The Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane 139 2. Jesus Is Tried, Condemned, and Flogged by Pilate 145 3. Jesus Is Treated as a Mock King and Crowned with Thorns 151






4. Jesus Walks the Way of the Cross


5. Jesus Is Crucified, Dies on the Cross, and Is Buried 159

The Glorious Mysteries


1. God Raises Christ from the Grave 2. Jesus Ascends into Heaven



3. Pentecost: The Gift of the Holy Spirit 4. Mary Falls Asleep in Death and Is Assumed Body and Soul into Heaven

187 193

5. The Coronation of Mary Our Queen and the Glory of All the Saints 199

Litany of Our Lady (Loreto)


Appendix 1: Other Marian Hymns and Prayers 209 Te Matrem Laudamus Obsecro Te




Appendix 2: Prayers and Litanies for a Wake Litany of the Faithful Departed

219 223

Appendix 3: The Golden Rosary Notes 237 Acknowledgments 245 About the Author 249



The Joyful Mysteries “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth” (Luke 2:14). In his pastoral letter on the Rosary Pope John Paul II wrote: The first five decades, the “joyful mysteries,” are marked by the joy radiating from the event of the Incarnation. This is clear from the very first mystery, the Annunciation, where Gabriel’s greeting to the Virgin of Nazareth is linked to an invitation to messianic joy: “Rejoice, Mary.” The whole of salvation history, in some sense, the entire 67


The Joyful Mysteries

history of the world, has led up to this greeting. If it is the Father’s plan to unite all things in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:10), then the whole of the universe is in some way touched by the divine favor with which the Father looks upon Mary and makes her the Mother of his Son. The whole of humanity, in turn, is embraced by the fiat with which she readily agrees to the will of God. Exultation is the keynote of the encounter with Elizabeth, where the sound of Mary’s voice and the presence of Christ in her womb cause John to “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Gladness also fills the scene in Bethlehem, where the birth of the divine Child, the Savior of the world, is announced by the song of the angels and proclaimed to the shepherds as “news of great joy” (Luke 2:10). The final two mysteries, while preserving this climate of joy, already point to the drama yet to come. The Presentation in the Temple not only expresses the joy of the Child’s consecration and the ecstasy of the aged Simeon;

The Joyful Mysteries

it also records the prophecy that Christ will be a “sign of contradiction” for Israel and that a sword will pierce his mother’s heart (Luke 2:34–35). Joy mixed with drama marks the fifth mystery, the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple. Here he appears in his divine wisdom as he listens and raises questions, already in effect one who “teaches.” The revelation of the mystery as the Son wholly dedicated to his Father’s affairs proclaims the radical nature of the Gospel, in which even the closest of human relationships are challenged by the absolute demands of the Kingdom. Mary and Joseph, fearful and anxious, “did not understand” his words (Luke 2:50). To meditate upon the “joyful” mysteries, then, is to enter into the ultimate causes and deepest meaning of Christian joy. It is to focus on the realism of the mystery of the Incarnation and on the obscure foreshadowing of the mystery of the sacred Passion. Mary leads us to discover the secret of



The Joyful Mysteries

Christian joy, reminding us that Christianity is, first and foremost, evangelion, “good news,” which has as its heart and its whole content the person of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the one Savior of the world.28 The Holy Scriptures contain all that is needed to reveal God’s full intentions for us. And yet, the life and writings of the genuine mystics in the Catholic tradition mediate the great truths of revelation for us and help us to catch the fervor of their devout lives. Love and commitment to the saving truth is their forte, and by reading them we can enter into such love and discover ways of enhancing it in our own lives. The English mystic, Blessed Julian of Norwich (ca. 1342–1423), ranks very high among the mystics of the Western tradition. Thomas Merton called her one of the greatest theologians of all time—equal to John Henry Newman, superior to John of the Cross, and even to Teresa of Ávila.29 Julian represents the classic case of a mystic completely devoted to Holy Church yet able to translate

The Joyful Mysteries


its teachings and iconography into a language of description and devotion that amazes and inspires every person of faith. Here is a passage on our Lady at the time she conceived Jesus: God brought our Lady to my understanding. I saw her spiritually in her bodily likeness, a simple, humble maiden, young in years, of the stature which she had when she conceived. Also God showed me a part of the wisdom and truth of her soul, and in this I understood the reverent contemplation with which she held her God, marveling with great reverence that he was willing to be born of her who was a simple creature created by him. And this wisdom and truth, this knowledge of her Creator’s greatness and of her own created littleness, made her say meekly to the angel Gabriel: Behold me here, God’s handmaiden. In this sight I saw truly that she is greater, more worthy, and more fulfilled than anything else which God has created, and which is inferior to


The Joyful Mysteries

her. Above her is no created thing, except the blessed humanity of Christ. This little thing [the universe] which is created and is inferior to our Lady, St. Mary—God showed it to me as if it had been a hazelnut—seemed to me as if it could have perished because it is so little.30

The Joyful Mysteries

1 G A BRIEL A NNOUNCES THE G OOD NEWS TO M A RY Key Text: The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Then Mary said,



The Joyful Mysteries

“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:26–32, 38). Other Readings: Luke 1:26–38; Isaiah 7:10–15; Matthew 1:18–25 Single Clause for Ten Hail Marys: who was conceived at the message of an angel Ten Clauses for Ten Hail Marys: • the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth (John 1:14) • the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being (Hebrews 1:3) • who was revealed to us at the end of the ages (1 Peter 1:20) • whose holy name was announced to you and Joseph by angels of the Lord (Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31) • whom you conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) • who is called great and Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32)

The Joyful Mysteries

• who emptied himself, taking the form of a slave (Philippians 2:7) • who was made flesh and lived among us (John 1:14) • whose name is great among the nations (Malachi 1:11) • whose kingdom will have no end (Luke 1:33) Closing Prayer after the Gloria Patri Pour forth, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we to whom the incarnation of Christ your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross be brought to the glory of his resurrection. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. ~AMEN.



New Light on the Mysteries

ne of Pope John Paul II’s most precious legacies to the Church is a modern reform of the rosary. These changes were designed to restore the most popular Catholic devotion to its full splendor as a spiritually rich time of prayerful contemplation. The Complete Rosary presents all the elements of the Pope’s reform, including: five new luminous mysteries, “focus” scripture texts for each mystery, “scripture tags” for each Hail Mary, closing prayers, and images for meditation and contemplation of the mysteries. This new material transforms what can be a mechanical recitation of rote prayers into a profound encounter with the sacred mysteries of our faith.


Complete Rosary A G u ide t o P r ay ing t he My st er ies


William G. Storey is a professor emeritus of liturgy and church history at the University of Notre Dame. His bestselling prayer books include Day by Day: The Notre Dame Prayerbook for Students, Lord Hear Our Prayer, An Everyday Book of Hours, and Hail Mary: A Marian Book of Hours. He is the compiler/ editor of A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions and Novenas. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.

the Complete Rosary


$12.95 U.S.

William G. Storey

The Complete Rosary: A Guide to Praying the Mysteries  

Praying the rosary is near and dear to many Catholics, but most do not realize all the changes that Pope John Paul II recommended in the ros...

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