Prayer in the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic teachings on the subject of prayer are contained in the Catechism, where quoting St. John of Damascus, prayer is defined as “…the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God”. St. Thérèse of Lisieux describes prayer as “… a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”
By prayer one acknowledges God’s power and goodness, and one’s own neediness and dependence. It is therefore an act of the virtue of religion implying the deepest reverence for God and habituating a person to look to him for everything. Prayer presupposes faith in God and hope in his goodness. By both, God, to whom one prays, moves the individual to prayer.
The best known example of a rosary-based prayer is simply called the “Holy Rosary” and involves contemplation on five rosary mysteries, while Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the Father prayers are recited.
This rosary prayer goes back several centuries and there are differing views among experts on its exact history. In the sixteenth century, Pope Pius V established the current form of the original 15 mysteries for this rosary and they remained so until the 20th century. Pope John Paul II extended the mysteries in this rosary during his reign, while keeping the original mysteries intact.