The Anglican Rosary

I’ve never been a true fan of the Anglican Rosary. It’s always seemed like one of those half-measure flirts with our catholic roots that is neither one nor the other and ends up being a totally modern practice in search of a spirituality.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been sold on the classical rosary either(instructions here include the new “Luminous Mysteries” add by JP II)… Those who know me won’t be terribly surprised at my reason–it’s one of those “recent” innovations. You know, a new-fangled 13th century thing that didn’t seriously catch on until the end of the 15th century… (See here for details.)

However, Catholic in the Third Millennium brings to our attention a devotion using the Anglican Rosary that I can really get behind–a means of praying the St. Patrick’s Breastplate. This hymn has long been a favorite of mine and holds a lot of personal meaning for me. It’s associated of General, was sung at M’s ordination and was one of the few things that would put Lil’ G to sleep as a baby. I had the *whole* thing [midi alert!]–not just the few verses that appear in the hymnal–memorized from singing them nightly for several months. (I’ve since forgotten bits…)

In any case, this may actually move me to try my hand with the Anglican Rosary…

11 thoughts on “The Anglican Rosary

  1. *Christopher

    I love the Ave Maria, but could never get into the rosary beyond having one hang from my mirror in the car…simply one more thing to memorize, and now new mysteries? I’ll stick to the Jesus Prayer and Office.

    It’s good to have a variety of devotions and styles of devotions for different types, though. Some may find the rosary useful, others lectio.

  2. The young fogey

    I’ve never been a true fan of the Anglican Rosary. It’s always seemed like one of those half-measure flirts with our catholic roots that is neither one nor the other and ends up being a totally modern practice in search of a spirituality.

    That’s what I’ve often thought of it.

    That said there are many chaplets besides the classical rosary, the new Anglican one I’ve seen is sound so what’s one more?

    *Christopher, the rosary is a great prayer to fall back on when you’re too tired or ill to read the office.

    Halfway between the mainstream and Derek ;) I think the luminous mysteries are sound but don’t like them because they destroy the way the traditional 150 Aves mimic the psalter: it began as a breviary for the illiterate. Too soon to tell if the practice will long outlive ‘Santo subito’.

  3. John-Julian, OJN

    May be of interest:

    When I did the research before deciding on our OJN habit, I spent a lot of time researching the rosary. I found (I’ve forgotten all the sources now, but remember several portraits) that apparently the most common form in Julian’s 14th century England seems to have been a string of seven fairly large beads hung from the belt and ending in a crucifix.

    So, that is our form, and it is part of our habit. Most of us have come to use Dame Julian’s prayer: “God of your goodness, give me yourself, for you are enough for me..and if I ask anything less I shall ever be in want, for only in you have I all.” (and sometimes in long repetition, not unlike the Jesus prayer, it often reduces itself to “of your goodness give me yourself” or “only in you have I all.”

    It is entirely a matter of personal devotion and is not required in any way. It is used most often during “idle” moments…a lot like eastern prayer beads.

  4. Third Mill Catholic

    Dame Julian’s prayer is one of those that has been adapted for the Anglican rosary.

    I have used the traditional rosary for years, mostly with the traditional Ave, though using other devotionals as well (which always felt a little funny, like I was cheating or something).

    Recently I acquired a handmade set of the the Anglican version as a gift. So I thought I’d try it out, and you know what? I like it, if only for the sheer economy: 33 beads (which includes the invitatory and the cruciforms) as opposed to 50. In this busy world, economy is very handy.

    If you don’t like the novelty of the Anglican beads, (which I have to admit turned me off for a long time as well), but economy is something that could interest you, thenn let me suggest the Irish Penal Rosary design, which is simply one decade long, typically with a ring at the end that can be slipped onto each finger of the hand to keep count for the full fifty if time allows.

  5. Lee

    Obviously this is very much a matter of personal preference, but I’ve found the traditional Dominican Rosary to be one of the most effective forms of prayer for me. And by “effective” I mean that it enables me to concentrate on God for sustained periods of time. With the Office I’m still at the point where the reading, reciting, etc. gets in the way a bit, rather than being “transparent” to the Object I’m supposed to be paying attention to. Surely my own limitations are the reason, but there you have it.

  6. Michelle

    I really like the Anglican rosary and I’m sure it will eventually appear on my blog.

    There are two reasons why I like it so much:
    1. Praying with beads concentrates the mind like nothing else.
    2. Unlike the RC rosary, the Anglican rosary allows you to design your own prayer — using the Jesus prayer, Patrick’s lorica, as lectio divina, or an office set to beads. It is up to you to make it meaningful to you.

    I also have to say that I like the chaplet form — cross, invitatory, one cruciform, 7 week beads. If you like to design your own prayers, as I do, its easier to work with (and it also fits nicely in your pocket).

  7. Michael S

    I don’t mind the anglican rosary, though, as has been said, it’s dreadfully innovative! The only rosary I carry about/use right now is one I made. It’s really a linear “paternoster”, not a rosary. An interesting blog about historic rosaries is here:

    As for St. Patrick’s Lorica – that’s a favorite of mine too – but I don’t like using it with the Anglican Rosary. The weeks of beads destroy the fact that the lorica has some of its invocations in *nines*, not all 7s.

  8. Marshall Scott

    We are on different wavelengths in our house. My wife has a devotion to the Blessed Mother, and maintains her devotion to the Rosary as She gave it to Dominic. While she understands the “spiritual technology” of prayer beads of all types, she is clear that “there is only ONE Rosary. All the others are chaplets or prayer beads, but not rosaries!” (All right, I do say she’s something of a “rosary snob.”) I, on the other hand, have a 50-bead chotki, using the Jesus Prayer. And, like the previous Presiding Bishop, I have used it while waiting in airport lounges. Being wooden beads on a cord, it goes right through Security.

  9. Michelle

    Michael thanks for the link to Paternosters.

    I have to say if it wasn’t for innovation, there would be no rosary at all. I see no reason why the rosary should not continue to evolve. Even Catholics have two different versions — Dominican and Franciscan, plus lots of chaplets of different lengths. I see no reason why our traditions can not keep evolving while remaining true to their original purpose.

    On the name ‘Anglican rosary’ I have to agree… I really prefer ‘Anglican/Episcopal Prayer Beads’ or just ‘prayer beads’.

  10. Derek the Ænglican

    I’m fully aware that prayer beads aren’t exclusively Christian. Most any tradition that utilizesin repetitive acts of prayer has them. As far as non-Christian versions, I’m most familiar with the Buddhist ones.

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