Praying the Rosary is Hard
Sometimes, I give talks on the power of the Rosary and internally I think: "Am I really convinced about the power of the Rosary?"
The Saints praise the power of a well-prayed Rosary.
The Church echoes the words of the saints.
And yet, for me, it's really hard to pray.
The goal of the rosary is to meditate on the mysteries of Jesus' life.
As I imaginatively ponder the Resurrection of Jesus, my heart is supposed to be moved by the glory of the scene that lay before my mind's eye.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (AKA Important U.S.A. Catholic People) say this:
"The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ's spirit dwells."
Hey, important Catholic people! This is not my experience of the Rosary!
Instead, I get distracted.
I get caught up in focusing on the words I'm saying.
Usually, I forget what bead I'm on multiple times in the course of my 20-minute fight for focus.
Discovering a New Way of Praying the Rosary
Just a few days ago, I had a different experience of the Rosary. Maybe it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Maybe not.
I was praying the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary and meditating on the Crucifixion of Jesus. As my fingers passed from bead to bead I began to see a different wound on Christ's body and ponder the pain he felt. Even try to feel the pain he felt...
Bead one - his left hand
Bead two - his right hand
Bead three - his head (crown of thorns)
Bead four - his feet
Bead five - his wounded side
Bead six - the scars on his back from the scourging as the rubbed against the cross
Then it went deeper.
Bead seven - his emotional pain as he knew his Mom had to watch this
Bead eight - his intellectual pain as he battled in his head to remember the goodness of His father
Bead nine - his spiritual pain as he fought to forgive amidst possible temptations to hate his persecutors
Bead ten - the pain he felt at the mockery and betrayal of both loved ones and enemies
This time of prayer flew by versus the typically slow drag of repetitive pious prayers.
I felt near to Christ.
It was a natural progression of meditation that led me deeper and deeper into the story of my Savior.
Make Your Rosary more Meaningful
What I realized was that I had been trying too hard to pray the Rosary and follow this perfect flow of meditation from the beginning of the scene (like the Crucifixion) to the end. I found too much difficulty trying to say the prayers and follow this perfect flow of imagery.
Now I just focus on one thing at a time.
And sometimes, it's not one thing per bead.
Maybe, I pray the Glorious mysteries and as I ponder the Holy Spirit coming to the Apostles at Pentecost, I focus on what it must have been like to suddenly hear all these different languages (Acts 2:8).
Four beads go by.
Then my mind is led (hopefully by the Holy Spirit!) to consider the sound of loud wind that accompanied this story (Acts 2:2). What must that have been like?
A few more beads.
You get the point.
Try it. Especially if you usually avoid praying the Rosary.
Or maybe you pray the Rosary but have never really meditated on it's mysteries.
My challenge to you is to pray just a decade (one set of mysteries, an Our Father and 10 Hail Mary's).
Ask the Holy Spirit's guidance and go for it! Take note of what your mind and heart are led to.
Then, if you want, post below and share any good fruit that came from your experience.
Lastly, offer up your Rosary for ONE SPECIFIC INTENTION.
Something really important. The conversion of a friend or the consolation of someone you know who is suffering.
Then when you're tempted to distraction, the efforts of your refocusing can become a grace for someone in need.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
A link to the mysteries of the rosary --> www.catholic.org/prayers/mystery.php