The traditional practices of the Catholic Church are varied. One of the most cherished is the praying of the rosary. This practice is a beloved tradition that goes back centuries.
When looking at the rosary from a historical perspective, it is difficult to discern the origins of the practice. Using “prayer beads” and the repeated reciting of prayers as a means of focusing meditation date back to the beginning days of the Church. In fact, the use of prayer beads can be dated to pre-Christian times.
The rosary’s history is steeped in one of the main prayers used in the ancient Catholic Church. This prayer is known as the Liturgy of the hours, or the Divine Office. When properly performed, the Divine Office allows for the recitation of all 150 psalms in the period of a single day.
During the Middle Ages, very few lay people could read. Because of this, they could not learn the psalms. The rosary was developed as a way for the illiterate population to pray. It allowed the lay people to pray the Hail Mary 150 times rather than praying the 150 psalms. To keep count of their prayers, the lay people developed a system that used pebbles and knotted cords to help them. These counting aids eventually evolved into the strands of beads used for the rosary.
A hand rosary is a complete loop that represents a decade of a rosary. Each of the beads is separated from the 10 other beads. A hand rosary was developed as a way to carry a rosary while running or walking. The diminished size prevented the beads from becoming entangled, as was common with the larger type rosaries.
The smaller finger rosaries, those that look like rings, became known as soldiers’ rosaries. This was because they were popular with soldiers who took them into battle, most notably into the trench warfare of World War I.
Finger Rosaries or Ring Rosaries
A finger rosary, also known as a ring rosary, is a convenient rosary that is ideal for pilgrimages or those who travel frequently. A finger rosary is perfect for use by those who are on the move every day. Their convenient size lets you wear them like a typical ring, place them on a keychain, or carry them in a purse, pocket, or wallet.
A finger rosary will generally have 10 indentations or beads/bumps and a cross included on its surface. The design is a representation of one e of a rosary. While similar to a typical jewelry ring, a finger rosary is generally somewhat larger. They can be used by either rotating them from one protrusion, or bead, to another or by holding them between the thumb and finger when praying the rosary.
Finger rosaries come in a variety of styles and designs, but they are all used in basically the same way. When using a finger rosary, it is usually worn on the index finger. Either hand is acceptable. You begin with the Our Father at the Crucifix. You then use the beads or bumps to keep track of the Hail Marys as you go around. The beads are counted with the thumb, which rotates the ring during the count.
The finger rosary is a sacramental, meaning it can be blessed just as any regular rosary can.
Rosary Beads Have Meaning
A rosary, whether a traditional rosary or a small finger rosary, can be made of just about anything. A traditional Catholic rosary will usually consist of a crucifix as a center. This can be made of wood or metal, usually sterling silver or gold. Likewise, the beads can be made of metal or other material. Popular bead materials are glass, amethyst, rose quartz, black onyx, crystal, lavender glass, or pearl.
Whether your rosary is strung with plastic beads or pearls, with crystal or wood, the beads all have the same purpose: They are a way to count the prayers as they’re being recited out loud or in the mind. Using the beads to keep up with how many times you’ve recited a particular prayer gives you the opportunity to clear your mind. A rosary allows you to meditate on your prayer more earnestly.
The rosary is a representation of a Catholic prayer that is based upon the Bible. This prayer focuses on the events in the life of Jesus Christ and the life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Mental prayers are a form of meditating upon the life of Jesus and his mother Mary. Saying the rosary vocally can consist of one or all of a litany of prayers.