Perhaps, most of us know that the Blessed Virgin Mary first gave the Rosary to St. Dominic, but that’s not the starting of the story, nor the end of it.
During interviewing some top Catholic writers on the subject of the Rosary. Here are some of the facts I was able to come with from the interview. The question was: What is the most amazing thing about the Rosary that nobody knows about?
THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND
Inside the tent of the Tabernacle of Moses, there were three artifacts. There was the (1) Ark of the Covenant, which took the primary position, but there was also the (2) Golden Table of twelve loaves of bread and a flagon of wine and the (3) Golden Lampstand. The Golden Lampstand was the basis for the menorah.
But where is the Rosary in all this? The Golden Lampstand is a depiction of an almond tree, as it is covered in almond blossoms. There is something special about the number of flowers on the golden almond tree. Though it’s somewhat difficult to gather from the text of Exodus 25, most ancient depictions of the lampstand included fifty flowers. Where else do we find fifty flowers, in particular, roses, combined together in branches? The Rosary! The decades of the Rosary, each containing ten beads, together account for fifty rose blossoms.
Awesome, right? Here are some more amazing things about the Rosary as told to us by authors and historians of the Rosary.
THE BOWL OF ROCKS
Patricia Kasten responded with the following wonderful story about the origin of the Rosary. Kasten is the author of Linking Your Beads: The Rosary’s History, Mysteries, Prayers:
While the Blessed Virgin Mary gave Saint Dominic the connected beads which we know today as the Rosary, the Rosary is actually much, much more ancient. Kasten explains, “People may not grab that the Rosary is descended from a bowl of rocks in the desert.”
“The Desert Fathers (and Desert Mothers), who lived as hermits in the third and fourth centuries, made a routine of praying all 150 psalms each day. To keep records, they used small stones, often kept in their begging bowls or a small bag. Saints Anthony of Egypt and Pachomius, both of whom lived in the fourth century, are credited with developing knotted prayer ropes to replace the rocks. These became the direct ancestors of the 150-decade rosary. Much later, the 150 psalms were replaced by 150 Pater Noster, and even later, by the Aves.”
Many of us may murmur – at least during our weaker moments – about the length of the Rosary. From Kasten’s account, moreover, you can see that the Rosary, as we understand it, is a far abbreviated version. It used to be much longer.
THE LAST MYSTERIES: ASSUMPTION AND CORONATION
Mitch Finley, author of The Rosary Handbook: A Guide for Newcomers, Old-Timers, and Those In Between, provides more insight into the last mysteries to develop.