For many years I have found myself engaged in conversations with Protestants regarding various elements of Catholic teaching as well as an array of Catholic traditions. One conversation that comes up more frequently than others revolves around the Rosary. To many Protestants, the Rosary appears to be a series of repetitive prayers aided by a necklace of beads. As most Protestants I know use the King James Bible, I will, for this one quote, use the King James Bible as well. They hear us repeating the Hail Mary and the Our Father, and immediately, Matthew 6:7 comes to mind - “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do…” I have underlined, italicized, and bold faced “vain repetitions” for a reason. While these prayers may be repetitious, they are anything but vain.
Each set of mysteries within the Rosary focuses on a different aspect of our salvation through Jesus Christ. As we meditate upon the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, the repetition of the Hail Mary serves as a way to keep us focused on the mystery. The biggest question I get from the Protestants is, “Where do you find the Rosary in the Bible?” They will often say, “Jesus didn’t tell us to pray the Rosary.” No, He did not tell us to pray the Rosary, but He did tell us to pray. The greatest thing, in my opinion, about the Rosary is that while the Rosary is not in the Bible, the Bible is, indeed, in the Rosary. Below we will look at each set of mysteries and note where each can be found in the Bible.
- The Annunciation of the Angel to Mary. This mystery is found in Luke 1:26-38.
- The Visitation of Mary to Saint Elizabeth. This mystery is found in Luke 1:40-56.
- The Nativity of Jesus in Bethlehem. This mystery is found in Luke 2:6-20.
- The Presentation of Jesus to the Temple. This mystery is found in Luke 2:21-39.
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. This mystery is found in Luke 2:41-51.
- The Agony of Jesus in the Garden. This mystery is found in Matthew 26:36-46.
- The Scourging of Jesus at the Pillar. This mystery is found in Matthew 27:26.
- The Crowning with Thorns. This mystery is found in Matthew 27:29.
- The Carrying of the Cross. This mystery is found in John 19:17.
- The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. This mystery is found in Luke 23:33-46.
- The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This mystery is found in Luke 24:1-12.
- The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. This mystery is found in Luke 24:50-51.
- The Descent of the Holy Ghost. This mystery is found in Acts 2:1-4.
The fourth and fifth mysteries involve a little extra explanation when having this discussion with Protestants because Revelation does not explicitly refer to the woman as Mary. So, I will describe how Mary fits into each of these scenarios.
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. This mystery is found in Revelation 12:1-17.
Specifically, I want to look at Revelation 12:5. We read, “She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne” (RSVCE). Only one woman in the history of the world gave birth to a male child that was to rule all nations, and was called up to God and His throne. That woman is Mary, and her child is Jesus. Therefore, when Saint John refers to the woman of Revelation 12, he can ONLY be referring to Mary. Which brings us to the next mystery.
5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth. This mystery is found in Revelation 12:1.
We read in Revelation 12:1, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (RSVCE). The woman in Revelation 12 is wearing a crown, signifying her royalty. She is seen as the Queen of Heaven, but her son, as we read in Revelation 12:5, will rule all the nations, making her also, Queen of Earth.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five new, optional mysteries to the Rosary. These are known as the Luminous Mysteries (or Mysteries of Light), and shed light on the person of Christ. While these mysteries are optional, many people find these additional mysteries to be beneficial.
- The Baptism of Jesus. This mystery is found in both Matthew 3:13-17, and Mark 1:9-11.
- The Wedding Feast at Cana. This mystery is found in John 2:1-11.
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God. This mystery is found in Matthew 4:13-17, 23-25.
- The Transfiguration. This mystery is found in Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36, and 2 Peter 1:16-18.
- The Institution of the Eucharist. This mystery is found in Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
The next time you find yourself in a discussion with someone over whether or not the Rosary is in the Bible, confidently tell them, “No, but the Bible is in the Rosary” and use these examples to show them where.