I was studying the use by different world religions of prayer beads, and decided I wanted some. Being a Christian, I thought it would probably be more
appropriate for me to have whatever the Christian version of prayer beads was. There is such a thing out there and is normally referred to as the
Rosary, where I am more concerned with the physical thing, rather than whatever the prayers may be connected to the term, Rosary.
I made my own after studying the beads themselves, buying all the components from the local crafts supply store which happens to be for me,
Michael's. I wanted a practical use for them and thought the best thing would be to use it as a liturgical aid (having come to the conclusion that
Christianity had always been a liturgical religion) to memorize and recite sections of the Gospel, with Matthew being the one that seems to have been
designed specifically for that kind of use.
I started out with a set of divisions already worked out by scholars, and modified it to match up with the number of beads in a rosary, being 59.
1. The Gospel of Matthew tells that Jesus was born of the house of David, in the home town of David, after it was foretolf by the angel to Mary who
was later his mother.
2. Then three Magi came from the East to find the prophecied coming king. They found the baby Jesus lying in a manger.
3. Jesus' parents were warned to flee Herod and to go into Egypt to find refuge. They stayed there until they heard news that Herod had died.
4. Baptism. Jesus went to the Jordan River where John the Baptist was baptizing, and was there baptized by him.
5. Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness.
6. Jesus chose some desciples and went to begin his mission in Galilee.
7. Sermon on the Mount. Jesus preached to the people from the mountain.
8. Three Healings. Jesus healed the leper. Also the Centurian's servant, and people at Peter's house, starting with the woman of the house.
9. Calming of the Storm. Jesus slept in the boat in the lake and was woken by his desciples bacause of a storm. Jesus rebuked the storm and it became
10. Gadarenes. Jesus casts out demons from two men living in tombs, which go into swine and jump into the water and drown.
11. Forgives Sins. Jesus goes to Capernaum and heals a paraletic by telling him that his sins are forgiven.
12. Jesus met Matthew and said, "Follow me", then ate in his house with other tax collectors, which was criticized by the Pharisees.
13. John’s disciples asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples not fast?”
14. Jesus goes to raise the dead daughter of a ruler, and on the way a woman touches his garment as he passes by.
15. Jesus gave sight to two blind men, then drove out a demon from a mute who then began to talk. The Pharisees said he did it through the power of
the ruler of the demons.
16. Jesus had compassion for the people and said,"Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers."
17. Sending Out the Twelve Apostles.
18. Jesus and John the Baptist.
19. Woes on Unrepentant Cities.
20. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
21. Lord of the Sabbath.
22. God’s Special Servant, Jesus and Beelzebul, Trees and Their Fruit, The Sign of Jonah, The Return of the Unclean Spirit, Jesus’ True Family.
23. The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Weeds, The Parable of the Mustard Seed, The Parable of the Yeast, The Purpose of Parables,
Explanation for the Disciples, Parables on the Kingdom of Heaven.
24. Rejection at Nazareth.
25. The Death of John the Baptist.
26. Walking on Water.
27. Breaking Human Traditions, True Defilement
28. A Canaanite Woman’s Faith, Healing Many Others, The Feeding of the Four Thousand.
29. The Demand for a Sign, The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
30. Peter’s Confession, First Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.
31. The Transfiguration.
32. The Disciples’ Failure to Heal.
33. The Temple Tax
34. Questions About the Greatest, The Parable of the Lost Sheep, Restoring Christian Relationships.
35. The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave,
36. Questions About Divorce,
37. Jesus and Little Children, The Rich Young Man,
38. Workers in the Vineyard.
39. Third Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
40. A Request for James and John, Two Blind Men Healed
41. The Triumphal Entry
42. Cleansing the Temple
43. The Withered Fig Tree, The Authority of Jesus, The Parable of the Two Sons, The Parable of the Tenants.
44. The Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Paying Taxes to Caesar, Marriage and the Resurrection, The Greatest Commandment.
45. The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord
46. Seven Woes, Judgment on Israel.
47. The Destruction of the Temple, Signs of the End of the Age, Persecution of Disciples, The Abomination of Desolation, The Arrival of the Son of
Man, The Parable of the Fig Tree, Be Ready! The Faithful and Wise Slave.
48. The Parable of the Ten Virgins, The Parable of the Talents, The Judgment
49. The Plot Against Jesus.
50. Jesus visited the home of his friends in Bathany. He was anointed by a waman who had been forgiven of many sins.
51. Jesus ate a last supper with his desciples close to the time of the Passover.
52. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
53. Jesus was betrayed and arrested.
54. Jesus was tried and rejected by the Jewish leaders.
55. Jesus was tried (and found innocent) by Pilate.
56. Jesus was crucified.
57. Jesus died and was placed in a tomb.
58. Jesus rose from the dead earlyon the morning of the third day.
59. Jesus gave his desciples the commission to convert the nations.
To make it easier to relate each of these themes from Matthew to a specific bead, I made a digram from a photo of the rosary bead set I made, then
linked an abrevieted version of the above to each bead, where it is more helpful, I believe, to form a picture in your mind like that, where
periodically you could look at the longer version, but ideally, you would read parts of the sections in the Gospel itself, along with readings from
What I found as I was putting all these ideas into practice, it that it helps a lot if you only had to actually memorize one word from each section,
meaning you remember 59 and the order they fall in, and this is just something that comes to you through repetition, meaning doing it every day, as a
ritual. One thing builds on another, with the beads as a sort of road-map that you can touch and feel and see. Also looking at the diagram.