A couple of weeks ago I discovered that beyond the traditional rosary, we as a church can also pray a botanical and scriptural rosary. I got a lot of feedback of people not knowing what I was talking about, or just hearing about the botanical rosary. That, coupled with my desire to dive deeper into the gift that is the rosary, sparked the decision to do some more research and shed some more light.
v important side note: no way to pray the rosary is better than the other. these two variations only provide tools that are optional to you to pray the mysteries in a possibly deeper way. they are not “new rosaries,” and they are not “mandatory.” we are not hating on the traditional rosary AT ALL.
SOME BACKGROUND ON ME.
Within the last year or so, I have taken on the rosary more than I ever thought I would when I became Catholic in 2015. I wasn’t ever opposed to praying it, especially if it was with a group, but I didn’t set out to have it be part of my daily prayer life either.
But fast forward a little bit, and I started acquiring rosaries that were really special to me – like my one with my confirmation saint St. Catherine of Siena.
Fast forward even more when I was introduced to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy by a friend. And that sticks with me today, where I do my best to pray part (or all of it) at 3 p.m., permitting the place I’m in is do-able and I know what time it is.
Fast forward even more and Mary and I had a breakthrough in our relationship, where my misplaced fear was brought into light and I realized she just wants to lead me closer to her Son, not to her instead. I also realized that just as Jesus sheds tears with you, she is in your valley too.
Now I pray the rosary when I have 20 minutes of down time, whether that be in the morning, or before mass, or at night while I’m waiting for my husband to get off his shift. This doesn’t always come every day, but when it does, I take advantage. It’s great.
THE GREAT DISCOVERY.
A couple weeks ago I discovered there is such a thing as the botanical rosary when I was introduced to Rose Harrington, who was praying the rosary with @manyhailmarysatatime. Rose has a shop of tons of beautiful artwork, including a set of paintings you can use to pray the rosary with flowers.
You can imagine, for my newly Catholic mind, that this was an absolutely incredible discovery. And while more people knew about this than I thought, there were many of you who didn’t, and part of being in community is lifting one another up. So maybe this will bring you to pray the rosary, or pray it more often, or even get more out of it. Especially since the purpose of the rosary lies within the ending prayer: “…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…” Praying the rosary is a good thing.
There is a flower for each of the 5 decades under each of the 4 sets of mysteries. And I will list those in a minute. But first, some JPII.
In his 2002 Apostolic Letter, ‘Rosarium Virginis Mariae’ (par. 29), he speaks to using flowers to represent the mysteries, saying “In the Church’s traditional spirituality…devotions appealing to the senses, as well as the method of prayer proposed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises, make use of visual and imaginative elements judged to be of great help in concentrating the mind on the particular mystery.”
So, the flowers are meant to help you meditate on the mysteries in a more vivid way than if you were to just simply state the mystery aloud.
Plus, bringing more visual beauty to an already beautiful way to pray? Yes yes yes.
FLOWERS TO MYSTERIES BREAKDOWN:
Below is a list of the flower that goes with each mystery set, and here is a link to the paintings by Rose too. If you would like a deeper insight into each flower and it’s relation to the mystery, click here and scroll down to “The Garden Way of the Rosary.”
The Joyful Mysteries
I) The Annunciation, The Annunciation Lily, Lilium candidum
II) The Visitation, Mary’s Shoes, Aquilegia, vulgaris
III) The Nativity, Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum
IV) The Presentation of the Lord, Candlemas Bells, Galanthus nivallis
V) The Finding in the Temple, Obedient Plant, Psychotegia virginiana
The Luminous Mysteries
I) The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan, Dove of the Holy Spirit, Aquilegia (white)
II) The Wedding Feast at Cana, Grapes, Vitis vinifera
III) Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Brassica nigra
IV) The Transfiguration, Heavenly Radiance, Solidago virgaure
V) The Institution of the Eucharist, Honesty (Eucharistic symbol), Lunaria annua
The Sorrowful Mysteries
I) The Agony in the Garden, Christ’s Bloody Sweat, Hypericum perforatum
II) The Scourging at the Pillar, Christ’s Bloody Back, Achillea millefolium
III) The Crowing of the Thorns, Crown of the Thorns, Euphorbia splendens
IV) The Carrying of the Cross, Christ’s Bloody Knee, Tigridia pavonia
V) The Crucifixion, Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata
The Glorious Mysteries
I) The Resurrection, Resurrection Lily, Lilium longiflora
II) The Ascension, Ladder to Heaven, Gladiolus
III) The Descent of the Holy Spirit, Pentecostal Holy Spirit, Aquilegia canadensis
IV) The Assumption, Assumption Lily, Hosta plantaginia
V) The Coronation of Mary, Mary’s Gold, Calendula officinalis
THE SCRIPTURAL ROSARY.
This way to pray the rosary is slightly different from the botanical rosary in that there is a scripture verse for every Hail Mary you say, as opposed to one scripture verse for each decade of each mystery. So each decade contains 10 scripture verses. In praying the rosary this way, you are meant to say the scripture verse out loud, and then say the Hail Mary.
Among the handful of sites that I used to research what scripture verses go with each decade of each mystery, there was some variation. Not crazy variation, but some variation nonetheless. The verses are meant to break down each decade, providing more context and thus more opportunity for deeper meditation. If I listed them below, they would go on for a mile, so I’ve linked the set of scripture verses for every mystery:
There is already so much richness to the rosary, and the finding out the church has given us multiple ways of getting deeper into meditating on the mysteries… it’s a gift.
I pray one of these called out to you. And that you take an opportunity to pray the rosary one of these ways, just to see. In the same way Jesus invited His followers, I extend the same invitation to you: to come and see.
It may not work, it may not stick. The traditional rosary may be what serves you best, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But maybe one of these does call out to you? And then what are the possibilities there? Endless.