The word "Rosary" means "crown of Roses". Our Lady has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary, they are giving Her a beautiful rose and that each complete Rosary makes Her a crown of roses. The rose is the queen of flowers, and so the Rosary is the rose of all devotions, and it is therefore the most important one.
The Rosary is made up of two things: mental prayer and vocal prayer. In the Holy Rosary, mental prayer is none other than meditation of the chief mysteries of the life, death, and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. The fifteen mysteries are divided into Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious.
Vocal prayer consists in saying fifteen or five decades of the Hail Mary, each decade headed by an Our Father, while at the same time meditating on and contemplating the fifteen principal virtues which Jesus and Mary practiced in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary. The complete Rosary consists of fifteen decades, but is more commonly said in five decades.
The Holy Mother Church received the Rosary in its present form in 1214 in a miraculous way, when Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic and gave it to him as a powerful means of converting the heretics and other sinners. Since then, the devotion spread around the world with incredible and miraculous results.
For the 80th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Fatima, Pope John Paul II wrote: "Dear brothers and sisters, recite the Rosary every day. I earnestly urge Pastors to pray the Rosary and to teach people in their Christian communities how to pray it."
Our Lady made these promises to Saint Dominic, and later to Blessed Alan de la Roche:
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise My special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of people from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the Saints in Paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of Me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by Me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from My Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are My children, and brothers and sisters of My only Son, Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion of My Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
If ever there was a prayer with biblical roots, it is precisely the Rosary. The Bible gives us many reasons to pray the Rosary. The Gospel tells the story of the life and works of Jesus Christ. The Rosary is the contemplation of these mysteries.
God sent the Angel Gabriel to greet Mary with these words, "Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28). If God's servants in heaven should greet Mary in this way, why shouldn't God's servants on earth do the same? The Holy Spirit inspired Elizabeth to praise Mary and Jesus: "Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Luke 41-42).
To say that Mary is praised ten times and Jesus only once is not true, because every "Hail Mary" is also a praise of the "Blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus." The Rosary is, second to the Sacrifice of the Mass, what most unites us to God for the richness of the prayers of which it is made. They all come from heaven, dictated by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
God the Father dictated the Glory we pray between the decades of the Rosary to the angels in Bethlehem, and it is a hymn to the Blessed Trinity. The "Our Father" was dictated by the Son, and is elevated to the Father. The "Hail Mary" is composed first of the prayer dictated to the angel by the Father plus the prayer dictated by the Holy Spirit to Elizabeth. The second part of the prayer, "Pray for us sinners!" is the prayer dictated by the Holy Spirit to the Church.