Although the Rosary is an extremely popular prayer, many individuals struggle with it. Even those devoted to Mary sometimes find it to be a challenging and frustrating devotion.
Is it possible to overcome the dryness and distractions often associated with the Rosary, or is it best to accept the fact that it isn’t for everybody? As someone who has personally struggled with the Rosary for many years, I strongly encourage you to persevere. These obstacles can be overcome.
The Rosary is a powerful devotion and abandoning it would be a mistake. Over the years, I have discovered a few things which have made it easier for me to pray this Marian devotion. With that in mind, here are five simple tips which should help you if you’re struggling with the Rosary.
The Rosary is a powerful devotion and abandoning it would be a mistake.
1. Someone is listening
Before you start to pray, call to mind the fact that your prayer will be heard by the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Blessed Mother. You are truly speaking to them and they are listening to your words. Sometimes we’re so anxious to begin praying that we lose sight of this important fact. We are addressing our prayers to real people who are delighted by our presence.
Mary’s greatest desire is to bring us into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and the other Persons of the Trinity. Praying the Rosary does just that. The Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Mary all rejoice as soon as you make the Sign of the Cross and begin to pray the Rosary. Keeping that in mind can make all the difference in the world.
2. Less is more
If you find yourself becoming overly distracted when you pray the entire Rosary, try praying one or two decades instead. Another option would be to split the Rosary up and pray the various decades throughout the day. Prayer is first and foremost a way to communicate with the Lord. Therefore, we should be more concerned with quality than quantity. Some of us have a tendency to get easily distracted and praying the entire Rosary can end up being one long daydreaming session.
By starting with one or two decades, you decrease the chances of falling into that trap. You’ll probably find yourself praying the entire Rosary at some point in time, but let it happen gradually. Spending quality time with the Lord typically has the long-term effect of leaving us hungry for more.
Prayer is first and foremost a way to communicate with the Lord. Therefore, we should be more concerned with quality than quantity.
3. Don’t forget Mary
I know it sounds crazy, but it can happen. The Rosary is definitely centered on Jesus, but it is still a Marian devotion. Therefore, we don’t want to lose sight of the Blessed Mother. As you meditate on the various mysteries in the life of Jesus, you will find the Hail Marys fading into the background. That’s a good thing. Mary wants to draw your attention to Jesus and the repetition of this familiar prayer tends to drown out the noise of the world and help you do just that.
We want to avoid taking her out of the picture completely, however. I often picture her standing next to me as I silently discuss the mysteries with her.
- “What were you thinking when Gabriel appeared to you?” (The Annunciation of the Lord, first joyful mystery)
- “How did you manage to stand at the foot of the cross while Jesus was being crucified?” (The Crucifixion of Our Lord, fifth sorrowful mystery)
- “How happy were you when you arrived in heaven and got to see Jesus again?” (The Assumption of Mary, fourth glorious mystery)
- “What was your reaction when Jesus turned water into wine?” (The Wedding at Cana, second luminous mystery)
Or I ask her to help me acquire the virtues associated with each mystery.
4. Listen to the Word
In his apostolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary), St. John Paul II recommends that we supplement our Rosary meditations with Bible reading. After announcing the individual mystery, he encourages us to read an appropriate Bible passage. While this is not always possible (especially if we are walking or driving), we can still mentally recall the details of an appropriate Bible story. The mysteries of the Rosary are rooted in Scripture and serve as a great foundation for meditation. In order for that to happen, however, I highly recommend that you become familiar with the Bible.
5. Understand the power
Because it requires effort and discipline, many individuals only pray the Rosary sporadically or avoid it altogether. For many years, I was one of those people. I knew that the Rosary was important, but it took a long time before I started praying it every day.
Once we understand that it’s not a waste of time or something we do to make us feel better, the Rosary will become a priority for us. I highly recommend reading Champions of the Rosary (Marian Press, 2016) by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. It is truly a life-changing book!
If you’re struggling with the Rosary, don’t get frustrated. It took me a long time to get to the point where I actually look forward to praying the Rosary. We pray it as a family every night. What used to be a chore is now a mini-retreat.
No matter how crazy my life gets, I look forward to spending time each evening with Jesus and Mary. These simple tips made a big difference in my life and I’m confident they will do the same for you. Try them out and see what happens. I have a feeling you’ll be very pleased!
“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God …and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.” (St. Pius X)