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How can I pray the rosary better?

Full Question

When I pray the rosary, I can’t concentrate on the mysteries when I am saying the Hail Marys, so instead I pause and think of the mystery. If I try to do both at the same time, I find it difficult. I wonder if I am doing it wrong. Any suggestions you have that could help me?

Answer

First, it is not unusual to become distracted during prayer. When this happens one may try a number of things—for example, praying for a shorter time but striving to be more focused as you pray. This might mean that instead of the whole rosary you say only one decade but will have fewer distractions while praying it. Then, little by little, lengthen the time. Be sure to set aside a special time and place for prayer so that you will not feel like you should be doing something else.

Second, it is not wrong to have a special time of meditation during the rosary, separate from saying the prayers. In fact, this seems to be envisioned as the normal way of doing it in Pope Paul VI’s 1974 apostolic exhortation on Marian devotion.

In it, he noted the various elements of the rosary and then observed that each of them

has its own particular character which, wisely understood and appreciated, should be reflected in the recitation in order that the rosary may express all its richness and variety. Thus the recitation will be grave and suppliant during the Lord’s Prayer, lyrical and full of praise during the tranquil succession of Hail Marys, contemplative in the recollected meditation on the mysteries, and full of adoration during the doxology. (Marialis Cultus, 50)

This seems to envision meditation on the mysteries as a separate element, alongside the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the doxology (the “Glory Be”). He characterizes the attitude displayed in the Hail Marys as being “lyrical and full of praise” but the attitude as “contemplative” in the meditation on the mysteries.

It should be noted that Paul VI was not trying to establish one and only one way of saying the rosary, but it seems that what you are doing is in line with what he envisioned.

 










26 comments

  1. alejandro Reply

    i am having the same problem in praying the rosary daily even how much attention i put into it. in fact, i fall asleep in the middle of praying the 10 hail marys. I have read in one of the religious article that it is alright to pray 3 hail marys, glory be, and our Father…if you forgot to pray your daily rosary. Is it alright then to pray 3 hail marys instead of 10 in every mystery of the rosary to finish it without feeling sleepy or distraction.

  2. Patsy Cole Reply

    I have the same problems, I want to do the rosary and I many problems in mine life , so and I put mine Rosary online and just listen and meditation and I try to continue. I think Our Mary know what in our heart. Sometime I feel that I am a phony. God please help the are really trying do our rosary for Our Mary.

  3. Frances Reagon Reply

    I use to have the same problem trying to concentrate, then a friend suggested we try doing scriptural rosaries (we read and meditate between each Hail Mary) and it works, it takes a bit longer, but I find i get more fulfilment praying it that way and its easier for me to concentrate on the mystery. Hope this helps, give it a go. You can download scriptural Rosaries online or at your catholic bookshop.

    1. Ernest Peter Ofori Reply

      Yes, that helps a lot when it is a communal recitation as in a family devotional prayer or a parish rosary recitation, it is even amazing when you add praise and worship songs in between the decades and the reading of the holy scriptures but seems difficult when it is a personal/ private recitation. God help us to develop ways of getting close to you.

    2. ERMP Reply

      Thanks so much! God bless you.

  4. Christine Reply

    I I usually take each mystery of the rosary and envision what it must of been like for for Jesus or Mary in those days, .For instance, in the Joyful mystery –how it must of felt like for Mary when Jesus became lost during the trip from one place to another.Also how long that particular caravan must have been. I believe in those days it was safer for them to travel that way.Or in the Luminous Mystery – How so many of people must have been able to hear Jesus when He spoke with the five thousand.etc

  5. Carlos Reply

    I was just listening to the radio while driving the miles daily from work to home. On one particular long trip I decided to pray the rosary instead and found it very pleasing. Since then I have prayed the rosary from work driving home. My wife and I do this now. I hope and pray this is acceptable and its so rewarding for us.

    1. Doug Reply

      I also pray the Rosary often when driving. It makes me a more relaxed and friendly driver!

  6. georges kawkabany Reply

    Is it acceptable to pray the full rosary without concentrating on the mysteries???

    1. Karen Milasich Reply

      I have prayed the rosary for years, without concentrating on the mysteries, But I am about to make a change. Will visit my Catholic bookstore soon!

  7. Susan Reply

    Using art work of the different mysteries have also helped me to stay focused on each mystery. I also try and set a different intention for each mystery, for example if a friend has asked me for prayers or different members of my family or just any difficultly I am facing at that particular moment. This helps me to take one mystery at a time. There is also a free app called the Laudate that you can download that has a podcast of the rosary with scriptural readings before each mystery that is very good.

  8. josephbrownicons Reply

    I use the Scriptural Rosary when possible, but if I am on the run, I will add a phrase to the Ave Maria that focuses on the Mystery: “…and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, announced by the archangel.” or “….and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, crowned with thorns.” I found that to be very helpful because it forces me to focus on the meditation, since I have to think of what to add to the end of the phrase.

  9. Isaac Reply

    I have a few questions about the rosary and other things like divine mercy devotion. Please give a detailed answer for all questions

    1. Why do Catholics stress praying the rosary like the rosary is god.
    2. Can praying the rosary help one overcome temptation, if so how? Jesus said “My power is made perfect in weakness” not “My power is made perfect in the rosary” all power is in the name of Jesus. How does praying the rosary help? And how come the Saints like Saint Pio, recommend it?
    3. What does it mean to contemplate the mysteries of Mary while praying the rosary.
    4. What does it mean to devote yourself to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus. Not meaning to be rude, but how is it possible to devote yourself to an object? Although its very precious, how is it possible to say Sacred Heart Of Jesus Pray For Me. Explain what this devotion means. Will you see Jesus and His Sacred Heart like Mary Margret Alacoque. Do people suffer while doing this devotion??? Is this only done

    5. Also, explain what it means to devote yourself to the Immaculate Heart Of Mary, What does one do during this devotion? Will you see her while doing the devotion
    6. Divine Mercy Devotion question: What is it? Is this devotion only practiced by priests, or can anyone do it. What does the repetition of praying the chaplet mean. I hear people saying, contemplate the mysteries, what does this mean?? When saying the chaplet, do i just say it like the way i pray when i ask for something, Or is there something i need to think about(IS there something specific that needs to be in my mind..??

    Detailed as possible please.

    Thanks a lot 🙂

    1. Xtian Reply

      Hello dear Isaac, the short but detailed answer to your question is CATHOLIC! so i recommend you join or research about catholic first then if you still how any ………………

    2. Ronniela Reply

      Isaac, in laymen’s terms, the rosary is a tool used by Catholics to help us remember Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s journey here on earth. We believe in doing so, it brings us, not only closer to God and his love for us, but it makes it very real for us on a daily basis. By mediating on the mysteries, which covers the Blessed Virgin Mary’s emaculant conception through her accession into heaven (and in doing so, that encapsulates our Lords whole life, death and resurrection, as well). When we focus on Jesus and Our a blessed Mothers joys and suffering, we better understand the sacrafices that were made for us and all of mankind. See, it’s a lot harder for a person to sin against God, when we are reminding ourselves daily of the true suffering our Lord had to endure, because of OUR sins. Every time we sin, that is a lash on Jesus’s back that he had to endure for ME and MY sin…… It makes it more personal for me….. Which is what is needed if you want to have a personal relationship with God. I could go on and on and I’m sure others can ellaberate on it more or have a better explanation, but this is how explain it to folks when they ask me about the Rosary. Help this helps….. Blessings:)

    3. Letty Reply

      Praying the rosary help me understand my life on earth it’s true meaning I’m not afraid of anything like I used to….it’s an unexplainable feeling…you might want to try

    4. MJ Reply

      Hi there isaac, let me answer your questions the best that I can…
      1. The rosary is not God, we pray the rosary to ask intercession from Mary, the mother of Jesus to pray for us. Remember when Mary asked Jesus to turn the water into wine when they were attending the wedding and Jesus said it is not time yet but He did it anyway to fulfill Mary’s wish.
      2. Yes, pray the rosary heartily. Understand the meaning of it. Ask the mother of God, pray for you.
      3. In every mystery, there is an explanation to it try searching it in the internet. I know you can find one. There are joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and luminous mystery.
      4. You don’t say Sacred heart of Jesus…pray for me but instead have mercy on us. We don’t want Jesus to pray for us, He is God. We ask others to pray for us like Mary and the saints to pray for us, to intercede for us.
      5. Devotion to Mary is like asking for her help to pray for us.
      6. Divine Mercy chaplet is what Jesus asked us to pray especially for sinners as what He told saint Faustina. He has an ocean of mercy for those who seek forgiveness. The more sins you have, the more you are entitled for His mercy. He asked us to trust Him and never doubt in His mercy. I advice you to read the book, the diary of saint faustina. It’s a very good book and I still reading it at the moment.

      Isaac, when you pray, contemplate on what Jesus did on the cross, He died for our sins. Don’t ask too much instead thank Him for everything you have and offer to Him everything that you do be that joyous or sorrow. And tell Him, His will be done.

      God bless you.

  10. Rita Reply

    I love the Android Scriptural Rosary app by Joe Meinke–So much that I transcribed all of the verses from scripture to read them with the app instead of just listening. I have even started to memorize the scripture verses.

  11. Pam Holewinski Reply

    I don’t think the person who answered this question really understood what the person was asking. I thought the question was how do I concentrate on both the prayer and the mystery at the same time. I do not think that question was answered.

    1. Rem Reply

      The answer was (if you didn’t understand) that you don’t need to do both at the same time. You can maditate on the mystery before you begin the dacade and just be verbal (lyrical) while you pray Hail Mary but say as if you are praising Her and for ‘Glory be’ do it as if you are standing in front of the Holy Trinity you want to give the best of yourself i.e you should be full of adoration and awe.
      Hope it’s clear.

      And for people who get distracted easily (I was terrible myself) I began to go for mass daily and begged our Queen to give me the grace to say atleast one rosary a day. She gave me an idea..
      Now all of us have smart phones and there are hunderesds of rosary recitation videos on YouTube(yes it can be used for good things too 🙂 Many of these are with music so that helps to get into the mood n focus. Also they combine imagery for each mystery so you won’t have much problem with meditation.
      Get a headphones plug into you ears kneel(coz it keeps u stay focused n alert) do it for a month or max 2. I gaurentee that you’ll see A Big change!! But be constant at it.

      All thanks to Our Lady, She never fails us!!

  12. Haries Sankaradhas Reply

    Continuing the prayer despite distractions is important. God’s presence is with us in the form of Holy Spirit, while we pray. It means that the distraction is known to God. So the distraction may be to test our sincerity/patience. If God is with us, why worry? Keep praying with the knowledge that the HOLY SPIRIT is with us.

  13. benter micholo Reply

    AM STRONG CATHOLIC BELIVER SINCE FROM BIRTH AND I WAS RECIEVING THE HOLLY SACRAMENT, BUT I GET MARRIED SOMETIME BACK AND MY HUSBUND PASSESD AWAY B4 WEDDING.WHAT CAN IDO SO THAT I CAN CONTINUE RECIEVING THE HOLLY SACRAMENT? I DONT WANT TO REMARRY AGAIN.

  14. Bonaventure Reply

    Micholo what you need is to repent and sick directions from the priest at the nearest catholic church.

  15. AM Reply

    I add versus from the bible in between the rosary and this keeps my spirit alive and awake. The purpose of the Rosary is to also mediate the bible. I also try to reach out and speak to God, Holy Spirit, Jesus and Mary. For example The first sorrow Mystery – Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane. One of the interesting things that fascinates me about this – what really happened there? So after I finish the rosary I start doing research. Today I have learnt that it was Archangel Chamuel that came to comfort Jesus. Luke 22:41-43: “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.'” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him." So the next time I pray this mystery – I remember what I studied last time and I keep adding to this. Also in between the Hail Marys I also add other prayers. One good prayer that keeps being overlooked by catholics and God gave this prayer to Mosses is Numbers. “The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

    Numbers 6:24-26“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
    25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
    26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace."’ I always like to combine this prayer into the rosary and I believe is should be part of the rosary because God gave this prayer to Moses to give to Aaron and his sons “This is how you are to bless your families”.

  16. mary wambui Reply

    Help me ,sometimes when I say the Hail mary I feel like crying and I even shed tears even when I listen to the radio saying the rosary I start crying.i also experienced it when one of the fathers came to bless my house and said we say hail mary I started crying.

  17. Betty ansani Reply

    I use the u tube with pictures of the mysteries. ..on phone our I pad
    Every night

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