Prayer Beads an Ancient Devotion. (Spirituality)
Abercrombie, Sharon, National Catholic Reporter
Prayer beads originally were devised to help people to keep track of repetitive devotions. They enabled one to pray while doing routine jobs and between activities. In the very earliest times, prayers were marked by dropping little pebbles one by one on the ground.
About 500 years before Christ, people tied knots in strings. Primitive forms of prayer beads were made of fruit pits, dried berries, pieces of bone, and hardened clay. The wealthy used precious stones and jewels.
St. Dominic is a latecomer to the scene. The Western Church picked up on the idea in 1213 when parts of Europe were devastated by the crusade against the Albigensian heresy. According to tradition, Dominic sought the help of Mary, who instructed him in a dream to preach the rosary, as an antidote to sin. The word, rosary, comes from the Latin word rosarium, which means wreath or chaplet of roses.
By Dominic's time, other spiritual traditions were already well grounded in their own prayer bead practices. The Hindu religion has had prayer beads for a long time. Its rosary consists of 109 beads--108 to mark the 108 names of God and one to mark the beginning of the prayer cycle, "Dancing Shiva, who shows grace, peace and creative power, and destroys and treads on the evil dwarf."
Sakyamuni, the East …
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Publication information: Article title: Prayer Beads an Ancient Devotion. (Spirituality). Contributors: Abercrombie, Sharon - Author. Magazine title: National Catholic Reporter. Volume: 39. Issue: 7 Publication date: December 13, 2002. Page number: 44. © 2009 National Catholic Reporter. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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