Anabaptist Rosary

As a note: This is also posted at The Wandering Road

So I’ve recently run across the Catholic Rosary.  While I’m drawn to it’s structure and it’s ability to help people pray, as a good Anabaptist, I take issue with some of it’s theology.  So here is my initial thoughts and proposal for an Anabaptist Rosary.

First- An orientation to the actual Rosary.

How to pray the Rosary
1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the “Apostles Creed.”
2. Say the “Our Father.”
3. Say three “Hail Marys.”
4. Say the “Glory be to the Father.”
5. Announce the First Mystery; then say
the “Our Father.”
6. Say ten “Hail Marys,” while meditating on the Mystery.
7. Say the “Glory be to the Father.”
8. Announce the Second Mystery: then say the “Our Father.” Repeat 6 and 7 and continue with the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner.
9. Say the ‘Hail, Holy Queen’ on the medal after the five decades are completed.
As a general rule, depending on the season, the Joyful Mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday; the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday; the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday and Sunday; and the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday.

Prayers of the Rosary

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

OUR FATHER

Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

HAIL MARY

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

GLORY BE TO THE FATHER

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

HAIL, HOLY QUEEN

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope, to thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, 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. 0 clement, 0 loving, 0 sweet Virgin Mary!

Pray for us, 0 holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

The Mysteries (These are basically events from the life of Christ, or Mary, for the purpose of meditation)

I won’t type out all of the mysteries here.  For a complete list of the 4 sets of mysteries, click here.

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The Anabaptist Rosary

Physical changes to the Rosary itself.

1) Change the Crucifix to a plain cross.  This points to the resurrection as well as the death.

2) The medallion that typically has an image of Mary would be changed to the symbol of a lamb caught in thorns.  It’s a symbol of persecution, specifically used to refer to the Early Anabaptists.

Changes to the Prayer

1) Replace all “Haily Marys” with “Our Father”

2) Replace all “Our Fathers” with the “Beatitudes” (see below for text)

3) Replace the “Hail, Holy Queen” with the “Commission”

4) For the Apostles Creed include Willard Swartleys additions about the life and ministry of Jesus. (see below)

Instructions for praying the new Rosary
1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the “Apostles Creed.”
2. Say the “Beatitudes.”
3. Say three “Our Fathers.”
4. Say the “Glory be to the Father.”
5. Announce the First Mystery; then say
the “Beatitudes.”
6. Say ten “Our Fathers,” while meditating on the Mystery.
7. Say the “Glory be to the Father.”
8. Announce the Second Mystery: then say the “Beatitudes.” Repeat 6 and 7 and continue with the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner.
9. Say the ‘Commission’ on the medal after the five decades are completed.

Prayers of the Rosary

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED – (Willard Swartley’s version from Covenant of Peace)

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.  Lived obediently to his Abba.  Lived and taught love, peace, and forgiveness.  Healed the sick, cast out demons, forgave sins, raised the dead, confounded the powers. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. Triumphing over the powers, he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

OUR FATHER

Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

BEATITUDES

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falselyon my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

GLORY BE TO THE FATHER

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

COMMISSION (Matt 28:19-20)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

A set of Anabaptist Mysteries (to be used in addition with the other mysteries)

Beginning of his ministry - Luke 4:16-30

Calling the disciples – Mark 1:16-20

Sermon on the Mount – Matt 5,6,7, specifically 7:28-29

Persecution – John 15:18-27

Pentecost – Acts 1:6-11, 2:2-4

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So, thoughts anyone?  Am I completely out in left-field? Is it right on?  Complete sacrilege?

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16 Responses to “Anabaptist Rosary”

  1. RantWoman Says:

    Until this very moment, I have not thought a moment about the rosary and I am unfamiliar with the miracles mentioned. I also am popping off without reading the suggested scriptures, so I am fine if my observations need correction.

    Posting the traditional rosary with your proposed revision made one thing stand out: the Hail Mary’s reflect the only presence of women in this holy ritual. Quakers in my Friends’ Meeting are so non-credal I have no idea whether the thought of a modern rosary / guided meditation connected with the rosary will resonate with anyone but me.

    However, if I were to do anything further to think about this, I would look at some of the scriptural basis for Friends’ traditional testimony on (gender)equality and then think further about how to address that in such a meditation.

  2. Mark Van Steenwyk Says:

    I think the idea is an excellent one. After all, the original rosary was adopted from Islam–it is quite appropriate to adapt such practices, provided that it is a community adapting the practices in a way that is faithful to their tradition.

    Perhaps one could include the Magnificat as an Anabaptist-friendly homage to Mary’s contribution to our faith?

  3. Mark Van Steenwyk Says:

    Oh, and I should add, I’d use such a tool…I have a friend who makes Rosaries…I wonder how one could obtain a medallion?

  4. Twitter Trackbacks for Anabaptist Rosary » Young Anabaptist Radicals [anabaptistradicals.org] on Topsy.com Says:

    […] Anabaptist Rosary » Young Anabaptist Radicals young.anabaptistradicals.org/2010/01/21/anabaptist-rosary – view page – cached So I’ve recently run across the Catholic Rosary. While I’m drawn to it’s structure and it’s ability to help people pray, as a good Anabaptist, I take issue with some of it’s theology. So here is my initial thoughts and proposal for an Anabaptist Rosary. […]

  5. Matt Stone Says:

    Hey, love this. As an Anabaptist with Catholic roots I do some alt rosary myself at times. You’ve given me food for thought.

  6. Kyle Potter Says:

    It probably wouldn’t be terribly unusual for a Roman or an Anglican to use “prayer beads” in the novel way you describe here - while there is such a things as a standard or traditional rosary (the one you have described), I guess the bigger hurdle is inviting folks from non-sacramental traditions to use prayer beads in any form.

  7. Jennifer Hynes Says:

    Hmm, Anabaptist Mariology…

    I would still offer that anything that points to prayer or even hints of worship to any other than The Lord (triune) is idolatry.

    Surely you can use prayer beads without reference to Mary? After all, some Anglicans use prayer beads as an aid to prayer without the reference to the Roman traditions doctrinal stances at all…

    It just doesn’t sound awfully Anabaptist to me. Sorry.

  8. SteveK Says:

    Excellent. I’ve attempted in the past to create prayer beads that would both be traditional and strongly biblical. I think you’ve accomplished that here. I may very well begin this practice myself.

    I also want to affirm that prayer beads have nothing to do with worship of Mary, or prayer to Mary. And it is a shame that a discussion of Mary in this context can be labeled as idolatrous. Anababtists should have a discussion about Mary and how to communicate about Mary to our Catholic brothers and sisters.

  9. Nancy Says:

    I like the idea. I find any kind of aid to prayer can take me deeper into exploring new ways to pray. I love the revisions and may give them a try this week. thanks.

  10. Brandon Says:

    I was surfing the web and was pleasantly surprised when I came across this article. I have grown up in a Mennonite church, and when I recently went through my baptism class, my pastor gave me a rosary as a gift, and some suggested prayers for using it.

    In skimming this article I see that you kept fairly close to the structure of the Catholic rosary, and I am eager to try it. The prayers/scriptures that I have been using deviate from the structure a little bit more.

    Basically I follow the ACTS model (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication), where each decade corresponds to a different type of prayer. Since there are only four types in ACTS and there is a fifth decade, and because discipleship is such an important value to Anabaptists, I pray a discipleship prayer for the last decade.

    Here are the prayers (following your picture):
    1. Begin by making the sign of the cross or holding the cross close to your heart
    2. Opening bead:
    Lord open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise. (Ps 51.16)
    3. For you alone my soul waits in silence; from you comes my salvation. (Ps 62.1)
    4. Gloria/modified Glory be:
    Glory to You, Source of All Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

    5. Announcing the first decade, Adoration:
    Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. (Ps 67.3)
    6. Adoration Decade:
    Lord, you are my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? You are the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps 27.1)
    7. Gloria - See #4

    8. Announcing the second decade, Confession:
    Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. (Ps 51.11)
    Confession Decade:
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. (Eastern Orthodox prayer)
    End with Gloria

    Announcing the third decade, Thanksgiving:
    I give you thanks, Lord, for you are good, your mercy endures forever. (Ps 107.1)
    Thanksgiving decade:
    You are my God, and I will thank you. You are my God; I will exalt you. (Ps 118.28)
    End with Gloria

    Announcing the fourth decade, Supplication:
    Ask, and you will receive; Seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. (Mt 7.7)
    Supplication decade:
    If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (Mt. 21.22)
    End with Gloria

    Announcing the fifth decade, Discipleship:
    I will love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength; and my neighbor as myself. (Mt 12.30-31)
    Discipleship decade:
    Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (Jn 6.68)
    End with Gloria

    9. Since my rosary does not have a medal on it, I just jump back down to the cross, and then say the Lord’s Prayer

    I hope this gives you more ideas for praying the rosary. I personally like that it walks you through the ACTS model, especially because in between steps 6 and 7 (after the decade, before the gloria), I have a “free prayer time” where I pray my thanks to God, or I pray my confessions, or whatever that decade was.

  11. Leo Day Hennacy Says:

    I agree with one of the other posters that eliminating Mary from the Rosary makes it an all male-centric prayer. Many feminists, particularly catholic feminists in the third world look to Mary as an inspiration. She literally birthed Christ into the world. Through her sweat and folds of skin, the savior emerged. There was no man involved and no man needed…only the strength and faith of a woman would suffice. I can’t agree with eliminating Mary. Luke 1:42 …blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”

    Much of the Rosary prayers are taken directly from scripture…the Rosary is both a meditation on scripture, (particularly concerning Mary’s contribution to the narrative) and a prayer to God. I think an Anabaptist Rosary should find ways of incorporating Mary more fully into the picture while still including Anabaptist insights.

  12. AlanS Says:

    After posting this and doing some more thinking (some of which are linked below) I have mixed feelings about my proposed elimination of Mary.

    One one hand - I agree with Leo and others here that the elimination of Mary is a troublesome elimination of an important female voice and tradition.

    On the other hand - The actual Rosary elevates Mary above Jesus in a way that I’m still not comfortable with. For example, the “Haily Mary” is said over the the “Lord’s Prayer” by a ratio of 53 to 5. I guess my concern is that, yes Mary is important, but only because she points us to Jesus, who is of ultimate importance.

    Again though, this is still a journey for me. As you can see, I’m trying new things out and adapting as I go along. This is just a stop on the road for my thinking and praying.

    alan

    p.s. here’s what I’m actually winding up doing for lent.

    http://thewanderingroad.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/adding-and-letting-go/

  13. Wes Horn Says:

    I’ve been using the Anglican Rosary for a few years now. I really like the idea of an Anabaptist rosary. I’ve also been making them and giving them away. Do you know where any lamb medallions can be purchased?

    Thanks!

    Wes

  14. Objects of Devotion « Dan Cull Weblog Says:

    […] Lutheran and Anglican congregations too, as well as some Anabaptists who have developed their own variation of prayers around the rosary, and also recently a slightly different form of Rosary was developed that is […]

  15. Walton Says:

    Thank you, Alan, for posting the words and images for a New! Improved!! Anabaptist!!! Rosary.

    The topic alone has led my laptop from an improbable google straight to YAR, about which I am very happy.

    “So, thoughts anyone? Am I completely out in left-field? Is it right on? Complete sacrilege?”
    After much pruning, my full response to this is still too much long to post, but here I think we can rule out the extremes.

    It’s not “right on” because it’s not complete without a bit more explanation of why and how Anabaptists might, in all seriousness, use it. Such an explanation could include something on how beads help prayer.

    It’s not “out in left-field” to re-appropriate a medieval tradition from a Reformation perspective, even if that perspective happens to be Anabaptist. Christians of all convictions about that era have reconsidered some opinions and practices of their 16th C ancestors in the light of better knowledge, changed circumstances, and, of course, hindsight. There is no reason to think that the aforementioned ancestors would do it all again the same way, if they knew what we do.

    It’s not quite “sacrilege.” Personally, I regard the texts of the creeds of the undivided Church as signs of Christian unity that are as far beyond revision as the text of the New Testament and for the same exact reasons. Whatever good we think to do by “improving” them to make them more satisfactory to our personal tastes is achieved at the expense of our general respect for the last signs of Christian unity. It’s not worth it.

    The “Hail Mary” is not mariolatry because, in that prayer, taken from St Luke, she is venerated simply as the mother of her Son. The request for her prayers that follows is reasonable, if one believes in the communion of saints and the life of the world to come. However, the original Orthodox and medieval versions of the prayer do not have this petition (See, on this point– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_Mary). The prayer is stronger without the addition.

    So your Anabaptist Rosary is not yet what it could be, but it is surely a worthwhile project. I will pray for its progress.

  16. Mark Says:

    Are there any tangible steps towards this? We are thinking of making prayer beads as a community enterprise. We’d like to create some beads that are like what you are suggesting that we could use for our own prayer practice. Would you have any objections to us using your suggestions for inspiration, adapting it, and then perhaps even selling some to support our work at the Mennonite Worker? We’d probably sell other traditionally arranged prayer beads as well.

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