The Rosary

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Praying in the Balkans

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine, an Orthodox Christian -- husband, father, and physician serving in the U.S. military in the Balkans -- shared with me his powerful experience of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary during this Great Lent. (Orthodox Pascha falls on May 5th this year. Orthodox Christians are, therefore, still in the compunctionate labours of Great Lent.) Yes, some Orthodox Christians do pray a version of the Holy Rosary of the Mother of God. One form of the Holy Rosary, promoted by none other than Saint Seraphim of Sarov, incorporates fifteen mysteries; each mystery being meditated during ten Angelic Salutations.

Father Zosima, a spiritual son of Saint Seraphim, is quoted as having said:

I forgot to give you a piece of advice vital for salvation. Say the O Hail, Mother of God and Virgin one hundred and fifty times, and this prayer will lead you on the way to salvation. This rule was given by the Mother of God herself in about the eighth century, and at one time all Christians fulfilled it. We Orthodox have forgotten about it, and St. Seraphim has reminded me of this Rule. In my hands I have a hand-written book from the cell of St. Seraphim, containing a description of the many miracles which took place through praying to the Mother of God and especially through saying one hundred and fifty times the O Hail, Mother of God and Virgin. If, being unaccustomed to it, it is difficult to master one hundred and fifty repetitions daily, say it fifty times at first. After every ten repetitions say the Our Father once and Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness. Whomever he spoke to about this miracle-working Rule remained grateful to him.

A Healing Prayer

Make no mistake about it: the Holy Rosary is a prayer that heals the deepest wounds and traumas. In the Rosary, the Mother of God presents us to Christ, the Physician of our souls and bodies, who touches us through the grace of His mysteries. In the Rosary, Christ, the Physician of our souls and bodies presents us to the Mother of God; He entrusts us to her maternal Heart. Certain deliverances from habitual sin, and certain healings come only through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Why? Simply because it pleases God that it should be so.

Orthodox Pascha and the Month of May

As Orthodox Christians enter into the radiant brightness of Pascha, Western Christians will be entering into Mary's month, the month of Mary. What better time to take up our beads and, with Mary, enter into the healing, illuminating, and deifying mysteries of Christ?

Some Orthodox Christians use the following form in praying the Rosary:

Opening
+ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our Father....

Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
Have Mercy on Us. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Meditation 1- The Birth of the Theotokos
("Let us remember the birth of the Mother of God. Let us pray for mothers, fathers, and children.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 2- The Presentation of the Theotokos
("Let us remember the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God. Let us pray for those who have lost their way and fallen away from the church.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 3- The Annunciation of the Lord's Birth
("Let us remember the Annunciation of the Blessed Mother of God-let us pray for the soothing of sorrows and the consolation of those who grieve.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 4- The Meeting of the Theotokos and St. Elizabeth
("Let us remember the meeting of the Blessed Virgin with the righteous Elizabeth. Let us pray for the reunion of the separated, for those whose dear ones or children are living away from them or missing.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 5- The Birth of the Lord
("Let us remember the Birth of Christ. Let us pray for the rebirth of souls, for new life in Christ.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 6- The Prophecy of St. Simeon
("Let us remember the Feast of the Purification of the Lord, and the words uttered by St. Simeon: Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also (Luke 2:35). Let us pray that the Mother of God will meet our souls at the hour of our death, and will contrive that we receive the Holy Sacrament with our last breath, and will lead our souls through the terrible torments.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 7- The Flight into Egypt
("Let us remember the flight of the Mother of God with the God-Child into Egypt. Let us pray that the Mother of God will help us avoid temptation in this life and deliver us from misfortunes.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 8- The Boy-Christ among the Doctors
("Let us remember the disappearance of the twelve-year old boy Jesus in Jerusalem and the sorrow of the Mother of God on this account. Let us pray, begging the Mother of God for the constant repetition of the Jesus Prayer.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 9- The Wedding of Cana
("Let us remember-the miracle performed in Cana of Galilee, when the Lord turned water into wine at the words of the Mother of God: They have no wine (John 2:3). Let us ask the Mother of God for help in our affairs and deliverance from need.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 10- The Crucifixion of the Lord
("Let us remember the Mother of God standing at the Cross of the Lord, when grief pierced through her heart like a sword. Let us pray to the Mother of God for the strengthening of our Souls and the banishment of despondency.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 11- The Resurrection of the Lord
("Let us remember the Resurrection of Christ and ask the Mother of God in prayer to resurrect our souls and give us a new courage for spiritual feats.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 12- The Ascension of the Lord into Heaven
("Let us remember the Ascension of Christ, at which the Mother of God was present. Let us pray and ask the Queen of Heaven to raise up our souls from earthly and worldly amusements and direct them to striving for higher things.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 13- Pentecost
("Let us remember the Upper Room and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the Mother of God. Let us pray: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me (Psalm 51).")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 14- The Dormition of the Virgin Theotokos
("Let us remember the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God, and ask for a peaceful and serene end.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Meditation 15- The Crowning of the Theotokos by the Blessed Trinity

("Let us remember the glory of the Mother of God, with which the Lord crowned her after her removal from earth to heaven. Let us pray to the Queen of Heaven not to abandon the faithful who are on earth but to defend them from every evil, covering them with her honoring and protecting veil.")

Mother of God and Virgin, hail, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. (10x)

Our Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Closing
It is truly meet to bless you,
O Theotokos,
ever-blessed and most pure,
and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim,
and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim,
without defilement you gave birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos we magnify you!

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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