Saturday, 12 May 2018

Why is this popular devotion called the “Rosary”?


Why is this popular devotion called the “Rosary”?
Philip Kosloski Aleteia.

Most Catholics and many Christians know what the Ro-sary is. However, has anyone ever asked why it is called a “rosary”?
After initially looking at the English word, there is noth-ing immediately evident that would point to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or prayer in general. However, looking at the Latin roots of the word reveals a beautiful symbolism that isn’t widely known.
According to the Dictionary of English Etymology, from the Latin “Rosarium … signifying properly a collection or garland of roses, was a title of many works … consisting of compendiums of flowers as it were culled from preced-ing authors … In the course of time the name was spe-cially appropriated to a string of Paternosters and Ave Marias to be recited in a certain order in honour of the fifteen mysteries of our Lord in which the Virgin was a partaker, and from the collection of prayers the name was transferred to the string of beads used for the pur-pose of keeping count in the recitation.”
Initially the Rosary was called “Our Lady’s Psalter,” re-ferring to the 150 Psalms that monks would pray and from which the tradition of the Rosary originated. The Latin word rosarium became associated with the devo-tion over time, especially after the spreading of a particu-lar legend.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “An early legend which after travelling all over Europe penetrated even to Abyssinia connected this name with a story of Our Lady, who was seen to take rosebuds from the lips of a young monk when he was reciting Hail Marys and to weave them into a garland which she placed upon her head.”
Thus, the rosary became viewed spiritually and in art as a way to present a garland of roses to the Blessed Mother in a similar way that roses would be picked for a person’s earthly mother.
The name has stuck ever since, and the Rosary is the most popular Catholic devotion around the world.