Prayer beads, also known as rosaries, date as far back as the 8th century BCE and are found in every major religion. Their purpose is to aid people in meditation or contemplation. By associating each bead with a prayer and fingering each bead, one stays focused on the prayers.
The most familiar and common rosary in the Christian tradition is the Roman Rosary, through which persons contemplate the life of Christ through scriptural meditation on four Mysteries interspersed with a series of prayers, especially the Ave Maria or Hail Mary, a prayer to the blessed Virgin Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary are The Joyful Mysteries (contemplation on the birth and childhood of Jesus), The Luminous Mysteries (contemplation on the ministry of Jesus), The Sorrowful Mysteries (contemplation on the Passion and death of Jesus), and The Glorious Mysteries (contemplation on the resurrection of Jesus and the life of faith).
We pray the Roman Rosary twice a week at Church of Our Savior as an opportunity for contemplative prayer as a spiritual discipline. While Episcopalians honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and as an example for us of trust and faithfulness in God, we do not share the doctrinal pronouncements of our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters concerning Mary. Those parts of the Mysteries that reflect Catholic teaching concerning Mary, therefore, have been altered to reflect a Protestant understanding consistent with our Anglican heritage. Still, we are blessed to pray this beautiful and ancient prayer as a means to a deeper walk with our God.
You are invited to pray the Roman Rosary with us as in community or privately. The Mysteries are provided here for you.