When you hold a rosary in your hand you will notice a crucifix, a bead, a space, three beads, another space, and one more bead followed by a medal with beads going off in both directions. If you have never prayed the rosary before, this is a confusing mess. Once you know the basics it will all make sense. Isn’t that the case in all mysteries?
First, the crucifix. A crucifix is a cross with an image of Christ body upon it, called the Corpus. While holding the crucifix you say the Apostles Creed, now if you feel the need for a deep explanation of the Apostles Creed then check out what they have to say at the Catholic Encyclopedia. Next is a bead all by itself, that is called an Our Father bead. Then comes the three beads in a row, and on each of those beads you say an Hail Mary. After the three Hail Mary beads you find a small space between the beads, that is when you say the Glory to the Father.
Now you enter the Mysteries. There are five sets of ten beads each, or five decades. On the next bead by itself, before you reach the medal, you announce the mystery for that day, and say, for instance, “the first Joyful Mystery.” After that you say the Our Father and then ten Hail Mary’s in a row. When you finish the decade, you say a “Glory be” and announce the second joyful mystery. And so it goes for the remaining four decades.
So what are these mysteries? The mysteries are events from the life and ministry of Jesus. Some deal specifically with Mary. No justification needs to be given for Marian devotions here, so suffice it to say that Mary is celebrated in the Glorious Mysteries. As each decade of Hail Mary’s are being said, the person should meditate upon the specific mystery. How does that work? A prayer said by rote keeps your mouth busy while your mind is free to ponder the truth of that mystery.
The Joyful Mysteries are said on Mondays and Saturdays. The Joyful Mysteries are (1) The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary: Luke 1:36-38. (2)The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth: Luke 1:39-56. (3) Jesus is born in Bethlehem: Luke 2:1-21. (4) Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple: Luke 2:22-40. (5) Find the Child Jesus in the Temple: Luke 2:41-52.
The Luminous Mysteries are said on Thursday. (1) Jesus is Baptised in the Jordan: Matthew 3: 13-17. (2) The Wedding at Cana: John 2:1-11. (3) Jesus Proclaims the Kingdom of God: Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 11:2-6; Matthew 4:23-25. (4) The Transfiguration: Mark 9:2-13; Matthew 17:1-9; Luke 9:28-36. (5) Institution of the Eucharist: Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 12:22-25.
The Sorrowful Mysteries are said on Tuesday and Friday. (1) The Agony in the Garden: Matthew 26:36-56; Luke 22:40-46; John 18:1-14. (2) The Scourging at the Pillar: Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:1-25. (3) The Crowning with Thorns: Mark 15:16-20; John 19:1-7. (4) Jesus Carries the Cross: Luke 23:26-31; Matthew 27:32-37. (5) Crucifixion and Death of Jesus: Mark 15:25-34; John 19:25-30.
The Glorious Mysteries are said on Wednesday and Sunday. (1) The Resurrection: John 20:1-29; Mark 16:1-8; Matthew 28:1-10. (2) Jesus Ascension into Heaven: Luke 24:36-53; Mark 16:19-20. (3) The Descent of the Holy Spirit: Acts 2:1-13. (4) The Assumption of Mary into Heaven: Revelation 21:1-6. (5) The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.
There you have all the mysteries of the rosary with scripture to go with them. And now for an easy visual reference and the prayers quoted below, please reference this page.
HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. O GOD, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.