Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to pray the Rosary well

From The Secret of the Rosary, by St. Louis Marie de Montfort

With purity of intention:
IT IS NOT SO much the length of a prayer, but the fervor with which it is said which pleases Almighty God and touches His Heart. One single Hail Mary that is said properly is worth more than one hundred and fifty that are badly said. Most Catholics say the Rosary, the whole fifteen mysteries or five of them anyway or, at least a few decades. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? Surely it must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy. 

With attention:
IN ORDER TO pray well, it is not enough to give expression to our petitions by means of that most excellent of all prayers, the Rosary, but we must also pray with real concentration for God listens more to the voice of the heart than that of the mouth. To be guilty of willful distractions during prayer would show a great lack of respect and reverence; it would make our Rosaries fruitless and would make us guilty of sin. 
How can we expect God to listen to us if we ourselves do not pay attention to what we are saying?
Of course, you cannot possibly say your Rosary without having a few involuntary distractions and it is hard to say even one Hail Mary without your imagination troubling you a little (for our imagination is, alas, never still). The one thing you can do, however, is to say your Rosary without giving in to distractions deliberately and you can take all sorts of precautions to lessen involuntary distractions and to control your imagination. 
With this in mind put yourself in the presence of God and imagine that Almighty God and His Blessed Mother are watching you and that your guardian Angel is standing at your right hand, taking your Hail Marys, if they are well said, and using them like roses to make crowns for Jesus and Mary. Above all, do not forget to offer up each decade in honor of one of the mysteries and while you are saying it try to form a picture in your mind of Jesus and Mary in connection with this mystery. 

Fighting distractions:
WHEN THE ROSARY is well said it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and it is more meritorious for the soul than any other prayer. But it is also the hardest prayer to say well and to persevere in, owing especially to the distractions which almost inevitably attend the constant repetition of the same words.

Being human, we easily become tired and slipshod----but the devil makes these difficulties worse when we are saying the Rosary. Before we even begin he makes us feel bored, distracted or exhausted----and when we have started praying he oppresses us from all sides. And when, after much difficulty and many distractions, we have finished, he whispers to us: "What you have just said is worthless. It's useless for you to say the Rosary. You had better get on with other things. It's only a waste of time to pray without paying attention to what you're saying; half an hour's meditation or some spiritual reading would be much better. Tomorrow when you're not feeling so sluggish you'll pray better; don't finish your Rosary until tomorrow." By tricks of this kind the devil gets us to give up the Rosary altogether or else hardly say it at all, and we keep putting it off or else change to some other devotion. 
Do not listen to the devil, but be of good heart even if your imagination has been bothering you throughout your Rosary, filling your mind with all kinds of distracting thoughts----as long as you really tried hard to get rid of them as soon as they came. Always remember that the best Rosary is the one with the most merit, and there is more merit in praying when it is hard than when it is easy.

So all of you, servants and handmaids of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who have made up your minds to say the Rosary every day, be of good heart. Do not let the flies (it is thus that I call the distractions that make war on you during prayer) make you cowardly abandon the company of Jesus and Mary, in whose holy presence you always are when saying the Rosary. 


Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!

This little book, together with the "Secret of Mary" and "True Devotion to Mary" will give you access to the riches which almighty God has stored up for us in the Holy Virgin!

Joe K from DC said...

A while back I found a scriptural Rosary. Same 5 decade rosary but with a small verse from scripture to read between each Hail Mary. It helps me focus on the actual mysteries vice the "flies" which always buzz around my head. They can be found online by doing a google search for Scriptural Rosary.
God Bless,

JustJohn said...

As a convert I found Lectio Divina a natural exercise. When I put that together with the Rosary, reading and meditating on scripture related to each mystery, Bible in one hand, Rosary in the other so to speak, both scripture and the prayer of the Rosary became alive and powerful for me as never before.

Brad said...

I prayed the luminous mysteries this morning as I drove to work, in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary 10/7/2010. As I commence my day, driving only 15 minutes out of the shower, it is always hard to tame my racing mind. The devil sorely bothers me by asking me to join him in putting me down, making me feel unworthy to continue annoying our Lady with my poor attention, etc. With her help I was able to prevail, badly, through to the end, as usual. When one does the rosary, one can feel very strong malignancy come to bear, and one also then feels stronger, maternal, protective grace nearby, holding him away, like a leashed rabid dog. Ave, Maria.

Anonymous said...

Did I say something wrong in correcting the gentleman using a four-letter word inappropriately?

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Sorry, Anonymous (7:10pm), I didn't realize it was so important to you...
Let the record show that Anonymous has rightly corrected Joe K from DC in the following point: "A while back" should read "A while ago".
I had deleted the comment containing this correction, as I thought that it was not pertinent to the discussion of the Rosary...

@Joe K, feel free to comment any time; even if the grammar is not perfect, I appreciate what you have added to this discussion. May your devotion to the Most Holy Rosary be rewarded in this life and in the next!

The Reverend Doctor Victoria A. Howard, Anchoress said...

I keep a rosary around my wrist so that any time I feel the need, I just start to pray, either aloud or in my heart. Just to have a rosary that has been blessed by a priest is to have special protection from negative people and from Satan. People around you might try to make you hate them they are so envious and catty; but since Mary was neither envious or catty, when you wear a rosary, you don't become like that yourself. You remain earnest and sincere and full of Mary's special love and graces. Let us all keep a rosary nearby!

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

The article is taken from the "41st-43rd Roses" of the book.

The following comes from the 45th Rose:
"I WOULD like to add that the Rosary ought to be said reverently----that is to say it ought to be said, as far as possible, kneeling, with the hands joined and clasping the Rosary. However, if people are ill they can of course say it in bed or if they are traveling it can be said on foot----and if infirmity prevents people kneeling it can be said seated or standing. The Rosary can even be said at work, if people's daily duties keep them at their jobs, because the work of one's hands is not by any means always incompatible with vocal prayer.
Of course, since the soul has its limitations and can only do so much, when we are concentrating on manual work we cannot give our undivided attention to things of the spirit, such as prayer. But when we cannot do otherwise this kind of prayer is not without value in Our Lady's eyes and she rewards our good will more than our external actions.
I advise you to divide up your Rosary into three parts and to say each group of mysteries (five decades) at a different time of day. This is much better than saying the whole fifteen decades all at once.
If you cannot find the time to say a third part of the Rosary all at one time, say it gradually, a decade here and there. I am sure you can manage this; so that, in spite of your work and all the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole Rosary before going to bed."

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