The Bible as a base reference

The Bible is a wonderful anthology with many interesting stories. It contains the message of God. Man has tried vainly to describe the indescribable. To make meaning of that which cannot be understood.

The writers of Sacred Scripture were caught up in their own bias, their limited understanding of the world and universe around them. They also had to communicate with an audience who thought disease was caused by demons and the world was flat, covered by a blue dome separating Man’s home from God’s home. That God sat on a raised throne like the worldly kings of old.

Dr. Manfred Barthel evaluated the Bible as a detailed, literal account. He brings up some interesting facts.

The Bible is an anthology of songs, chronicles, fables, proverbs, and revelations … Written between 1200 BC and 150 AD … The old testament especially is recordings of stories told around the campfire of tribesmen, embellished and transmitted by word of mouth for hundreds of years until written down … Even then, today’s bible is not a constant. There are over 200 translations from many languages, cultures and perspectives.

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It is thought by many Bible scholars today that everything in Genesis from Creation to the Tower of Babel is simply a parable through which the writers were trying to explain the unexplainable workings of God.

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The first two chapters of Genesis give contradictory accounts of creation. Each chapter reflects a very different literary style.

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George Smith, an Assyriologist and assistant curator of the Assyrian collection in the British Museum discovered 12 clay tablets in Northern Iraq, near the ruins of Ninevah. Tablet 11 describes “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. This epic describes a flood almost exactly as it was in the Bible. These tablets were written about 2500 BC, long before the biblical account.

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The Earth’s axis has shifted many times. The last was about 8,000 to 15,000 years ago. This shift resulted in a huge climactic change. As the ice caps melted and the crust cracked, there were huge floods, volcanoes, terrible storms, and much more.

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Moses’ mother set him afloat on the Nile to save him from the Egyptians … Sargon of Akkad was set upon the river Euphrates a thousand years before to escape … Many more narrow escapes by infants spared by God for greater things are recorded. Romulus and Remus, Hercules, and Jesus are but a few.

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The council of Laodicea, under Pope Liberius settled on four Gospels. Originally there were many more.

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The early texts were difficult to translate. Not only were there problems of interpretation as Scripture went from one language to another, but: MANYWORDSWEREABREVIATEDSPAELLINGWASALITTLESLOPPYANDTHEWRITINGWASINALLCAPITALSWITHOUTSPACES

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Sacred Scripture can help us as we strive to understand a rich Judeo-Christian tradition. The Bible chronicles the Judeo-Christian concept of God. But, we must separate theological truth from pre-scientific myths. We must see this wonderful message of God in a way that is consistent with our understanding of reality.

The Catholic Rosary

Note:  An audio recitation of the rosary is in the audio prayer section.  Just click the link.

HOW TO PRAY THE ROSARY

The rosary is divided into five groups of ten beads called decades. As we pray the 

Cord rosary

rosary we meditate on the events of Our Lord’s life and Passion, which are called Mysteries. The repetition of the prayers assists in this prayerful meditation. The rosary, in essence, is a compendium of the Gospel and leads us, through the intercession of Our Lady, to contemplate Jesus Christ.

Begin by praying the Sign of the Cross.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

1. On the crucifix pray the Apostles Creed.
I BELIEVE IN GOD, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty. He shall 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 life everlasting. Amen.

2. Begin the rosary with 1 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.

3. Pray three (3) Hail Marys for an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and love, and follow with a Glory Be.
HAIL MARY, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy 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, 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.

4. Next, you will begin to pray the Mysteries, or decades, of the Rosary.
It is suggested you focus on the mysteries according to the day of the week you are praying.

Joyful – Monday and Saturday
Glorious – Wednesday and Sunday
Sorrowful – Tuesday and Friday
Luminous – Thursday
[Read details on the mysteries of the rosary]

4a. Announce the first mystery (Ex: “The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation.”)
4b. Pray one Our Father

5. Follow with ten (10) Hail Mary’s for each of the 10 beads in the decade
5a. After, pray one (1) Glory Be
5b. Conclude the decade with the Fatima Prayer

O MY JESUS, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen. [Read about the prayers of Fatima here.]

6. Repeat all of step 4 to begin the second decade.

7. Repeat all of step 5 to finish the second decade.

8-13. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the remaining three decades.

14. Lastly, pray the Hail Holy Queen and the concluding prayer.
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 toward us. And after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen. V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.?R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
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O GOD, WHOSE only-begotten Son by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Anglican (Episcopal) Rosary

Anglican Rosary

The Anglican (Episcopal) Rosary is made up of a Cross or Crucifix and a total of 33 beads; 1 Invitatory Bead, 4 Cruciform Beads and 4 groups of 7 Week Beads. The design is rich in symbolism reminding the user of key tenets of Christian faith and tradition.

The total number of beads is 33, the number of years of Christ’s life on earth, reminding us that Christ is the source of our faith. The Cross recalls the saving grace of God; that God acts in our lives to bring us into the Kingdom of God. The Invitatory bead calls us to prayer; to pray without ceasing. leading into the main prayer string, where we offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Unlike the traditional rosary used by Roman Catholics, which focuses on the seminal events in the life of Christ and asks the Virgin Mary to pray for their intentions, Anglican prayer beads are most often used as a tactile aid to prayer and as a counting device. The standard Anglican set consists of the following pattern, starting with the cross, followed by the Invitatory Bead, and subsequently, the first Cruciform bead, moving to the right, through the first set of seven beads to the next Cruciform bead, continuing around the circle. He or she may conclude by saying the Lord’s prayer on the invitatory bead and/or a final prayer on the cross as in the examples below. The entire circle may be done thrice, which signifies the Holy Trinity.

Traditional Devotion

The Cross: In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Invitatory: O God make speed to save me, O Lord make haste to help me, Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciforms: Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon me.
The Weeks: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner.

The Lord’s Prayer: 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. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
The Cross: Bless us o Lord. Thanks be to God.

Note: Some people prefer to develop their own devotion or simply hold the beads while praying as a focal point to aid their meditation.