13 January 2015

The Gospel Rosary

The Scripture passages used herein are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

I call this the Gospel Rosary because it follows the timeline of the gospels and because it is more about the message than the creeds.  It begins with the Baptism rather than with the Nativity and Infancy narratives because those were very late additions to the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.

This formula is meant to be said on a rosary of five decades.  There are three chaplets of events or “mysteries” for Monday-Thursday, Tuesday-Friday, and Wednesday-Saturday, and a fourth chaplet especially for Sunday.  The first three follow events of the life of Jesus from the Baptism through the Beatific Vision in chronological sequence; the fourth showcases encounters in which Jesus demonstrated that the greatest calling is to love.

There are four prayers for the small beads of the decades to be changed throughout the church year: a Memorial of the Incarnation, a Memorial of the Redemption, a Memorial of the Resurrection, and a Memorial of the Illumination.

Opening prayers

Sign of the Cross (Signum Crucis)

In the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Transformer, the One who is compassionate and mercifulAmen.

Still holding the cross, say:


V. Lord, open our lips.
R. And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
V. O God, make speed to save us.
R. O Lord, make haste to help us.
V. Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit:
R.  As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.  Alleluia. 

In Lent, in place of “Alleluia” say: Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

On the large bead say:

Lord’s Prayer

Father, blessed be your name.  May your dominion come and your will be done.  Let your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Give us what is sufficient day-by-day.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.  And save us from succumbing to temptation.  Amen.

Or this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us each day our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

On the three small beads say, meditating on Faith, Hope, and Love:


Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy upon us.

On the chain say:

Minor Doxology (Gloria Patri)

Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit: As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.

For each decade of beads:

On each large bead, say:

Father, blessed be your name.  May your dominion come and your will be done.  Let your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Give us what is sufficient day-by-day.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.  And save us from succumbing to temptation.  Amen.

On each of the ten small beads, say one of the following, according to the season:

From the First Sunday in Advent thru the Saturday before Transfiguration Sunday:

Memorial of the Incarnation (Gaude Maria)

Rejoice, Mary, favored one, for the Lord is with you: Blessed are you among women, Theotokos, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Amen.

Or this alternate form:

(Ave Maria)

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you: Blessed are you among women, Theotokos, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Amen.

From Transfiguration Sunday thru Holy Saturday, say:

Memorial of the Redemption (Salvator Mundi)

O Savior of the world, who by your cross and precious blood have redeemed us: Save us and help us, we humbly pray.  Amen.

From Easter Sunday thru Pentecost, say:

Memorial of the Resurrection (Pascha Nostrum)

Alleluia.  Christ our Passover has been raised from the dead.  Alleluia.  The first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  Amen.  Alleluia.

From Whit Monday thru the Saturday before Advent, say:

Memorial of the Illumination (Verbum Incarnavit)

The Word lived among us, full of grace and truth, a light shining in the darkness: We have seen the glory of this, the Chosen One, and through him that of God.  Amen.

On the chain at the end of the first four decades, say:

Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit: As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.

And then add:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

On the chain at the end of the fifth decade, substitute the Major Doxology (Gloria in excelsis) for the Minor (Gloria Patri).

            Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will among humanity.
            Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
            Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
            For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Then say:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

Followed by the closing prayers below, after the Mysteries.

First Chaplet

To be said Mondays and Thursdays

1. The Baptism of Jesus
(Luke 3:2-3, 15-16, 21-22)

During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.  He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; today I have begotten you.”

2. The Wedding at Cana
(John 2:1-12)

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”  And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it.  When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”  Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.  After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.

3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom
(Luke 4:16-21; 7:20, 22)

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free to proclaim the year of the Lord’s jubilee.”  And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’”  And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.”

4. Anointing at Simon the Pharisee’s house
(Luke 7:36-44a)

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table.  And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment.  She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.”  Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.”   “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

5. The Feeding of the Five Thousand
(Mark 6:34-44)

As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.  When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.”  But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?”  And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”  Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass.  So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.  Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.  And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.  Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand.

Second Chaplet

To be said Tuesdays and Fridays

6. The Confession of Peter
(Matthew 16:13-17)

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

7. The Transfiguration
(Mark 9:2-8)

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,  and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.  And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.  Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three shrines, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.  Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”  Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.

8. The Cleansing of the Temple
(John 2:13-19)

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.  Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”  His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”  The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”  Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

9. The Institution of the Eucharist
(Luke 22:14-20)

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him.  He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;  for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

10. The Crucifixion
(Mark 15:23-37)

And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.  And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.  It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.  The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”  And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.  Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!”  In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.  Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.  When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”  And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”  Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Third Chaplet

To be said Wednesdays and Saturdays

11. The Resurrection
(Matthew 28:1-10)

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”  So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.   Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

12. The Ascension
(Acts 1:6-11)

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.  They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

13. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
(Acts 1:13-14, 2:1-4)

When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.  When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

14. The Community of Saints
(1 Corinthians 12:22-27)

On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

15. The Beatific Vision
(Revelation 4:1-11)

After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne!  And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald.  Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads.  Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.  Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:  the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle.  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”  And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,  the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Fourth Chaplet

To be said Sundays

16. On the Sabbath
(Mark 2:23-27)

One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.  The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”  And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food?  He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.”  Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath”.

17. Samaritan woman at the well
(John 4:5-7, 9a, 10-15)

So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.  A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”  The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?”  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?  Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?”  Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

18. Healing of the Centurion’s servant
(Matthew 8:5-8, 10, 13)

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.”  And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.”  The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed”.  When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.”  And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.

19. The Woman Caught in Adultery
(John 8:3-11)

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.   When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, sir.”  And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

20. Render unto God what is his
(Matthew 22:15-21)

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.  So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality.  Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”  But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.  Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?”  They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Closing prayers:

After the Major Doxology at the end of the fifth decade and the Jesus Prayer, say:

Peace Prayer

Remind us, Rabbana, to be instruments of your peace.  Let us show love where there is hatred; pardon where there is injury; union where there is discord; trust where there is doubt; hope where there is despair; your light where there is darkness; joy where there is sadness.  May we seek rather to console than to be consoled; to understand than to understood; to love than to be loved. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are forgiven; and it is in dying that we live.  Amen.

Great Commandment prayer

May we love the Lord our God who is the One with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  May we love our neighbors as ourselves.  And may we love one another, Rabbana, just as you loved us, for there is no greater calling than to love.  Amen.

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