FRANCISCAN CROWN ROSARY
Franciscans for centuries have received many spiritual benefits from the recitation of the Franciscan Crown, a devotion in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There are no introductory prayers to the Franciscan Crown. One begins with the first decade, saying one Our Father, followed by ten Hail Marys and a Glory Be. On each successive decade
continue with the same prayers. Each decade is said in honor of one of the seven joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
While praying each decade, the person meditates in turn on these important events in our Redemption.
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity
- The Adoration of the Magi
- The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
- The Resurrection
- The Assumption & the Coronation
When you have completed all seven decades, add two more Hail Marys (on two little beads close together) which makes a total of 72, commemorating the number of years for the earthly life of our Blessed Mother. The Crown is completed by saying one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the intentions of the Holy Father and to gain the indulgences applicable.
The Crown may be interrupted, provided that the entire seven decades are recited in any one day.
To aid in your praying the Crown, the following short meditations to be read before each decade are recommended.
THE FIRST JOY: THE ANNUNCIATION
St. Luke's gospel presents the beautiful story of the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she was to be the Mother of God. Mary hearing his words with complete surprise. And yet when Mary realizes what the will of God is for her, she responds: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word."
What blind faith this act called for! What generosity of heart and spirit Mary had! While we meditate on this event in the life of Christ, let us ask and pray for a similar generosity. We too, must hear the word of God coming to us each day and we must accept it and live it as Mary did.
Lord, You are a God of surprises. You constantly enter
into our world with a mission and a challenge. Teach us to imitate Mary in
her complete self-giving, to pray earnestly and confidently, and to foster,
defend, and protect the lives of all Your little ones.
THE SECOND JOY: THE VISITATION
With the same faith and generosity, Mary answers the need of her cousin Elizabeth. The angel has told her that Elizabeth is with child and will need assistance, and, "She went with haste to the hill country" to the house of Zachary and Elizabeth. She carries Christ to Zachary and Elizabeth and to the yet unborn John the Baptist "who leaps with joy" in the womb of his mother. This mystery teaches us again to follow the example of Mary, who brought Christ to others. By our lives, by our words, by the things we do, we must be teaching Christ to the people of our day. Pray for His help in this decade.
As Mary set out in haste to help Elizabeth, Lord, may we
hurry to help the most voiceless and helpless ones, remembering that You
chose a little unborn child to be the first to leap with joy in the presence
of the Messiah.
THE THIRD JOY: THE NATIVITY
The Nativity scene is very familiar to us. Joseph and Mary journeying to Bethlehem - no room in the inn - Jesus born in the stable and laid in a manger - the shepherds coming to see this great "sign that has come to pass". St. Luke concludes the story by saying: "And Mary kept in mind all these things, pondering them in her heart!" She recalled them, remembering who it was who was her child, meditated on these things, not occasionally, but as a regular part of her life -- pondering them in her heart. Many times each day Christ comes into our lives, in so many ways and through so many people. In the example of Mary, we must recognize Him, and keep all these things in mind, pondering them in our hearts.
Lord, there is room in our hearts
for You for whom there was no room. Let us make room in our hearts and our
homes for your children who are in need. Fill our homes with peace,
fidelity, and respect for life.
THE FOURTH JOY: THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI
According to Matthew's Gospel, visitors from the East, the Wise Men and not those of his own race, brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. Very early in his life Jesus teaches us that He came to accept into the new people of God, all of every tribe and nation, who would receive Him with faith and open heart, and give themselves to Him. Each one is represented by these wise men. During this mystery, let us thank Christ for coming to us, for accepting us, for teaching us to love Him. Let us also pray that we have even greater faith, and for a heart even more open to Him.
As Simeon and Anna recognized You in the Temple, Lord, strengthen us
by prayer and fasting to welcome You with joy however You may come to us- as
a baby, an abandoned child, a teenager in trouble, a friendless immigrant, a
sick or disabled person, a lonely senior citizen.
THE FIFTH JOY: THE FINDING OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
After searching for three days, Joseph and Mary found Jesus in the Temple. Despite her relief in finding Him, Mary said:, "Son, why did you do this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worries trying to find you". How often we find ourselves filled with worry and fear and anxiety. Perhaps, like Mary and Joseph - we have temporarily lost Jesus, through our own lack of faith and trust and confidence. Like Mary and Joseph, we, too, should seek Him in His Father's house. Pray during this mystery that we never lose Jesus in our lives through lack of faith, or trust and confidence.
Lord, as You stayed behind in the
Temple, inspire us to do what You ask through the teachings of your Church.
Help us to act with decisiveness and serenity - even if we must stand alone
and even if we are misunderstood by family and friends.
THE SIXTH JOY: THE RESURRECTION
Perhaps the most joyful moment in Mary's life here on earth was to see her Son risen from the dead. Though her faith had never wavered, she now realized that He would belong to her forever, and that she would belong to Him forever. We should try to experience her joy by realizing that we, too, will rise from the dead, to be with Jesus forever. Pray during this mystery that we always work toward this end each day of our lives.
Fill us with the joy and power of Your resurrection to
proclaim the sacredness of human life, made in the image and likeness of
God, who invites us to obedience and to an eternity of happiness in Heaven.
THE SEVENTH JOY: THE ASSUMPTION AND THE CORONATION
Mary, human like us in all ways, has been taken up, body and soul, into heaven and, as we say in human language, has been crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth. She is our mother who loves us and who, now in heaven, prays for us to her Divine Son. From this mystery, realizing where we are going and whom we have helping us, let us take strength and courage to face all the problems of life. We will remember that Christ has also promised a crown to all who love Him.
On that last day may we hear You say to us as
You did to Mary "Welcome all you blessed of my Father - for whatever you did
for one of these little ones, you did it to Me."