Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Rosary: Its Power and Its Use

I am reading an excellent book called The Rosary: Its Power and Its Use by Rev. F. John Leather, O.P., published in 1932 by Sands & Co. This book is out of print nowadays and so I thought I'd type out excerpts from it. The book is illustrated by the work of Fra Angelico, which is interesting, but there is also some wonderful information about the history of the Rosary and the Rosary Confraternity, which I intend to post here.

As a first post, this taken from pp. 37–38, on the beads of the Rosary – it starts pretty mundanely, but quickly gets much more interesting!:

"When we say the Rosary we pass the beads through our fingers, and thus automatically count the required number of Hail Mary's without distracting the mind from the prayers and meditations. These Rosary beads must consist of five, ten, or fifteen decades; and each decade should have an Our Father bead and ten Hail Mary beads; otherwise, they cannot receive the special Dominican blessing not be called a Rosary (S. Cong Indulg., 20th June, 1836). Rosaries, however, made of solid glass or crystal may be blessed (Penit. 21st Dec., 1925). The blessing by a Dominican Father, or other Priest with Dominican faculty, carries with it an Indulgence of one hundred days on each bead said as part of the Rosary (S. Cong. Indulg., 29th August, 1899) A Rosary that has lost four or five beads remains blessed (S.C.I., 10th Jan., 1839), and the missing beads may be added."

These indulgences have been abrogated since the publication of the new Enchiridion, but presumably what constitutes a Rosary still stands and also whether a Rosary loses its blessing when broken to some extent. (My crucifix has broken: is it still blessed?!)

For more information about the traditional Dominican blessing see http://dominican-liturgy.blogspot.com/2008/10/rosary-blessings-and-indulgences.html which outlines the situation as it stands today.

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