The Theotokos is ready to help your make your prayer life great again (through the Rosary and other Marian prayers)! This is the third and final week in our Great Lenten series on deepening your prayer life. The first week we talked about praying with our Guardian Angel. And last week we discussed spicing up our Icon Corners. Now let’s talk about praying with the Mother of God!
First of all, you may be wondering why this article is listed under the category “Jesus.” And the answer to that is that I did this because all devotion to the Theotokos leads us to Jesus. While we call St. Andrew the First-Called, Mary was really the first follower of Christ. The disciples spent three years following Christ during his time walking the Earth. The Theotokos had 34 years (counting Jesus’ time in utero). Even when I am not praying the rosary, I like contemplating the mysteries in her life. Her example inspires us to be humble and to offer ourselves totally to following the will of God.
This week’s article includes some prayers to the Theotokos, including a list of prayers for the Byzantine Rosary. If I missed one of your favourite Marian prayers, let me know by including it in the comments.
1 Million Rosaries
So , before we get started, I want to share with you this challenge! To pray 1 000 000 Rosaries for Our Lady’s Birthday! It is hosted by Chews Life, a company that makes teething rosaries for babies (and so much more). If you are the type of person that likes a challenge, this may be the push you need to pray the rosary daily. (It is working for me). This isn’t sponsored, but I can tell you we also like their products.
Byzantine Prayers to the Theotokos.
Akathist to the Theotokos
This prayer service probably takes about 20 minutes to pray on your own at home. But it is full of great words magnifying the Mother of God. I found several translations online. If you have young children, you may want this simple translation of the Akathist to the Theotokos. It still has some harder words (like quenched) but is a very direct/clear translation that does not require much explaining. A more traditional translation is available with music notation here. This is definitely the more beautiful one. So, this would be the one we recommend.
Rejoice Virgin Mary, full of grace, O Theotokos, the Lord is with You. Blessed are You among women and blessed is the fruit of Your womb, for You have given birth to the Saviour and of our souls.
It is truly proper to glorify You, who have borne God, the Ever-Blessed and Immaculate, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who, a Virgin, gave birth to God the Word; You, truly the Mother of God, we magnify.
We fly to Your patronage, O Virgin Mother of God. Despise not our prayers in our need, but deliver us from all dangers, since You alone are pure and blessed. O most glorious Ever-Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers and present them to Your Son, that for the sake of You, He enlighten and save our souls.
Rule of the Theotokos
Some people pray the Rule of the Theotokos instead of the Rosary. It has 15 Mysteries, which are as follows:
1. Nativity of Mary
2. Presentation of Mary
4. Meeting with Elizabeth
5. Nativity of Christ
6. Purification of Our Lord
7. Flight into Egypt
8. Disappearance of 12 year old Jesus in Jerusalem
9. Wedding of Cana
10. Standing at the Cross
13. Meeting the Risen Christ in the Upper Room and the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentacost
14. The Dormition of the Theotokos
15. Crowning the most holy Theotokos the Queen of Heaven
The Hopeful Mysteries
- Promise of a Saviour
- Conception of Mary by St. Anna
- Nativity of Mary
- Entrance of Mary into the Temple
- The Betrothal to Joseph
- Nativity of Christ
- Encounter in the Temple
- Finding Jesus in the Temple
- Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging
- Crowning with Thorns
- Carrying the cross
- Descent of the Holy Spirit
- Dormition of the Theotokos
- Mary Crowned Queen of Heaven
- Theophany (Baptism in the Jordan)
- Wedding of Cana
- Proclamation of the Kingdom
- Mystical Supper
One other icon of the Theotokos I love is the icon of the 7 swords piercing Mary’s heart. (Sorry we couldn’t find a copyright free version. Check our Byzantine Icon board on pinterest to see a few versions saved there, though). Praying the 7 sorrows of Mary is sort of a combination of the prayer rule of the Theotokos and the rosary (in my opinion). Particularly since it includes mysteries exclusive to both.
- The prophecy of Simeon.
- The flight into Egypt.
- The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple.
- The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
- The Crucifixion.
- The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.
- The burial of Jesus.
As for how Byzantine any of this is, well, there are icons for all of these mysteries. So if you think you aren’t being Byzantine enough, I would say you just need more icons to contemplate! Haha. Well, anyway, my husband discusses the Byzantine applications of the rosary in his post here.
When you have the time, read some of St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary (pdf here). Even though he isn’t Byzantine, he has a lot of great things to say about the Theotokos. Plus it is free to read. So, read it!
The Byzantine Life
Thank you for checking out this week’s article! And if you missed it, check out our first article about deepening your prayer life (On Guardian Angels) here. Or our second article about spicing up our Icon Corner. Also, you might be interested in reading our article about Holy Week.
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