In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries many christian worshipers offered rosaries or “roses” of prayer in verse. Their origin or parallel connect to Latin verses as well as German. Only fragments remain of these older text, but a complete manuscript exists from the 15th century.
The prayers are comprised in rhymed four-line stanzas, each beginning with the greeting “Ave Maria”. There are verses containing 50 “roses” in total. This is one of the earliest:
Ave Maria, rose without thorns,
you were born to comfort me.
A queen of high birth,
help me that I shall not be lost.
The prayer session ends with a request that the Virgin accept the gift of the rose wreath being offered to her, in the form of a rosary.
I greet you, Mary, my Lady.
Accept this little rose chaplet
that I have recited for you today.
What connection is there between Ave Maria and the rose? References exist throughout this collection of prayers, and the word rosary is itself derived from the word “rose”. Lines 13 through 16 offer us this thought:
I greet you, rose garden of heaven,
the chosen, the pure, the tender one.
You noble, sweet rose blossom,
entreat God for me through your goodness.
The greatest difficulty in keeping the Ave Maria stanzas in the mainstream was that each verse was different and difficult to remember. In those early days few had written texts and many did not have the skill of reading. There was great need for a simple, easy to remember vehicle for prayer and meditation, and so the 50 steps in the Life of Christ became the stronger focus.
Today we have greater tools for our spiritual expression, and can renew our honor of the Ave Maria into our meditative times through honor. The tradition lives on, and fragments of the original Ave Maria can be found in Hail Mary, giving honor to one who teaches us of the act of living in grace.
There are steps you can take to learn more about Ave Maria. It can be difficult to find books on the earlier prayers that do not carry in the politics of early religion. One excellent book is Mary’s Song by Mary Catherine Nolan.
For those who like to demonstrate their devotion and belief in the form of jewelry, and wear a symbol that attracts the energy of the rose and divine grace, there are beautiful choices such as the Gold Filled Ave Maria Pendant.
We can also bring more grace and honor for our spiritual guidance through music, and one of the most beautiful versions of Ave Maria is sung by Josh Groban in Ave Maria.
Ava Saadi offers a glimpse into divine practices and their meaning here at IntuitiveMeaning.com, and shares insights into the restoration of our individual spiritual temple, the body, and how we can restore vitality and grace through bio-ready foods.