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  • Writer's picturePhil


October is the month of the Rosary.

According to scholars, the idea of using a chain of beads or knots for prayer originated in India, for the worship of Vishnu and Shiva. It travelled from Hinduism to Buddhism and finally to Islam by the ninth century.

Knotted prayer ropes were used early in Christianity; the Desert Fathers are said to have created the first such, using knots to keep track of the number of times they said the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner). In this form it has continued to be a devotion valued in the Orthodox tradition.

The Rosary has been a tradition of the Roman Catholic Church since the twelfth century; Anglo-Catholics and others have since adopted the rosary to help refresh the life of prayer. It creates a rhythm that helps wean us from our distractions, and encourages us to enter into God's presence. The best book I have read on The Rosary was, in fact, written by a Methodist Minister, Neville Ward, in his "Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy".

The prayers that comprise the Rosary are arranged in sets of ten Hail Marys, called decades. Each decade is preceded by one Lord's Prayer and followed by one Glory Be.

During recitation of each set, thought is given to one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall events in the lives of Jesus and Mary.

Traditionally there are fifteen Mysteries;

five “Joyful Mysteries”, five “Sorrowful Mysteries”,

and five “Glorious Mysteries”.

We concentrate today on the first of the Joyful Mysteries,

THE CALLING OF MARY (The Annunciation)

Scholars say that the stories of the birth and infancy of Jesus which are found in Luke’s Gospel were originally written in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and Mary. Tradition has it that many of these stories may have been told to the disciples of Jesus by Mary herself. The Gospel writer also included what struck him as prophetic references to Jesus in Jewish Scriptures. The messenger from God, named Gabriel, comes with a strange message. Mary’s first reaction is fear. Then the messenger says that Mary has found favour with God and is to be a mother. This perplexes her; how this is to happen as she is a virgin? She is told the Holy Spirit will overshadow her. Finally, Mary agrees to the will of God.

"Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her."

Have you ever followed an unlikely call in your life?

Light of the World, Christ announced to Mary as gift, come, transform us,

Create us as gifts to one another and to all creation

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope:

my soul waits for the Lord;

(Psalm 130: 5)

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