Friday, August 04, 2006

The Dominican Form of the Rosary

On the traditional Roman Catholic calendar, today is "The Feast of St. Dominic," the founder of the Dominican Order. In addition to getting to keep their own unique form of the Mass, the Dominicans also have a different form of the Rosary. (Some Western Rite Orthodox also pray the Rosary.)

Roman Catholics often cite St. Dominic as the first person to receive the Rosary, but St. Seraphim of Sarov had other ideas about the devotion's ancient past: he reportedly believed it had been revealed in the ancient Thebaid, and he regretted it had been lost in the East.

The following is presented online as "The Dominican Form of the Rosary."

In place of the typical introductory prayers, one begins:

V. Hail Mary, fully of grace, the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

V. O Lord, Thou open my lips.
R. And my mouth will proclaim Thy praise.
V. O God, make speed to save me.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Then immediately begin praying the mysteries in the traditional way. The rosary is concluded:

V. Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee we send up our sights, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V. Let us Pray.
All. O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; 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. Amen.

V. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Pray for us.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. May the divine assistance remain always with us.
R. Amen.
V. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

I rather like this introduction, because it more strongly links the Rosary with the prayer of the Church. For centuries, the Rosary -- the Roman Catholic Church's most popular devotion -- was understood to be the layman's breviary; this makes the connection more concrete. I would rather the laity prayed as much as the Hours as possible, but this is an improvement to their favorite devotion -- and it doesn't require one to have a single book on hand.

Incidentally, Fr. Andrew Phillips of ROCOR writes that the name Dominic is a perfectly acceptable name for Orthodox children, as it is "equivalent to Kyriakos, Kyriaki in Greek." (Naturally, one's patron would be the Greek saint, not the founder of the Dominican order.)



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