Exploring the Meaning and Importance of Catholic Rosary Beads

by Shawn Kilgarlin

Catholic Rosary Beads is a great praying tool which is very helpful in communicating with God. Rosary is a string consisting of small beads and the meaning of rosary is to count the number of prayers using beads and all prayers collectively are called Rosary. The significance of prayer beads is it elevates our mind and soul to the divine God thereby directing our life in the right path. The catholic prayer practice always includes praying through the Rosary beads which certainly guides us through the basic truths and faith to reach the Almighty.

The history of Rosary beads dates back to 1214 when St. Dominic had a vision of Mary when she presented him with a Rosary, both the beads and the prayers to be prayed.    St. Dominic propagated the benefit of Rosary beads wherever he travelled. The origin of prayer beads started from the earliest times of church to help in meditation. The Rosary beads were used to count the number of Our Father and Hail Mary. The evolution of Rosaries goes back to 3rd century when Christian monks also called as Desert fathers who lived in Egypt started using stones for counting the prayers. Later the stones were replaced by wooden beads and then by the ornamental beads.

The Rosary bead structure contains 59 beads, 3 feet of cord, 14 plastic spacers, one metal spacer, a crucifix and a saint model. Parts of a catholic Rosary has 3 sections  the  introduction, the five decades and the conclusion. The crucifix symbolization represents the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Different types of beads used in the Rosary are glass, amethyst, rose quartz stone, crystal, black onyx, lavender glass or pearl.

The benefits of using prayer beads are peace of mind, love for Jesus, unity with the church, follow Mary’s request, knowing the will of God and a deeper focus on God. The meditative aspect of the Rosary arises from the fact that by gently repeating the prayers by rolling the beads one can be lulled   into deeper meditation. The Rosary which is termed as Marian Prayer has a deep connection to spiritual tradition whereby we meditate upon the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ on His life, His death and His resurrection.

The mysteries in the Rosary includes, Joyful mysteries, Sorrowful mysteries, Glorious mysteries and Luminous mysteries. Prayers recited during each decade are saying one Hail Mary and announce the mysteries of the five decades followed by Our Father. On the whole the Rosary consists of five decades of Hail Mary with each decade preceded by one Our Father and followed by one Glory be to the Father. A decade indicates 10 Hail Marys. The significance behind each mystery highlights the incidents and miracles that happened during the Birth, the Life, the Death and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The tips for selecting a Rosary bead set lies in selecting the right size beads depending on the individual, such as bigger  brown or black beads for adults and smaller colourful beads for children. Silamide, using a double strand  is one of the best stringing materials for Rosary consisting of Olive wood beads or glass beads. A catholic Rosary  can be used properly following the given steps. First, on the crucifix make the sign of the cross, and then pray the Apostles Creed. Next, say Our Father in the large bead. Pray three Hail Marys on the three smaller beads. On the chain recite Glory be to our Father. Next, meditate on the first mystery and say Our Father on the large bead. The above steps certainly help in focussing our thoughts while reciting the prayers.

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