The Rosary is a remarkable prayer tool and devotion and I know many people who credit the Rosary for answered prayer and family blessings. Countless popes, saints and priests have encouraged us to say the Rosary. Our Lady herself promises that her Immaculate Heart will indeed triumph, especially with increased dedication to this daily devotion. For years, I’ve heard of the beautiful graces attached to daily recitation of the Rosary, especially when it is said as a family.
I’ve been reluctant for a couple of reasons … but I have decided that none of these reasons really warrant exemption for me.
Like a lot of people, I suspect, I was frustrated by how easily distracted I am in prayer … especially through the repetition of the prayers of the Rosary. Even with the focus of the 20 Mysteries of the Rosary (one Mystery for each decade of prayers), my mind wanders and I’m constantly trying to rein my thoughts back in. As in a lot of initiatives in the spiritual life, I’m realizing that the apparent success or leaps in holiness I was hoping for are really just feeding pride. Our intentions and perseverance, even within distracted prayer, are what opens the faucets of Grace. Progress in holiness is not the result of our performance or our accomplishments; progress in the spiritual life is catapulted by God’s Grace and how we choose to accept it as beloved sons and daughters of God.
It’s a little unfortunate that I associate the family Rosary with our family car trips as a kid. Sometimes my parents would crack out the rosaries when my brother and I were fighting in the backseat. Sometimes, I get an involuntary sinking feeling at the suggestion of saying the Rosary, because it once felt a little like a tool to stop bickering or to sideline a conversation. I’m happy to say that that is starting to change!
After years of exempting myself, I have recently committed to saying the Rosary every day. Because it’s kind of the way I roll, I have come up with 5 practical tips that have been helping me to make this into a new and lasting habit. I’m a couple of months past the habit-making three weeks and I haven’t missed a day.
5 Practical Tips for the Reluctant Rosary Pray-er
1. I think I was a little reluctant to make the commitment to daily Rosary because I thought I would likely just forget one day and then my resolve would be gone and I’d give it up. One day at Mass, reflecting on the homily about the messages of Fatima, I received a little message of encouragement in my heart. If our Blessed Mother herself really wants me to say the Rosary every day, won’t she prompt me to pray it? I asked her to remind me to pray my 5 decades each day … and she hasn’t missed one yet! The whole Prompt-Me-to-Pray prayer works!
2. It’s ok to spread out the 5 decades throughout the day. In fact, focusing on just one decade at a time
- helps us to keep the focus
- easily fits in with short tasks or chores or times of waiting
- helps us to practice the Presence of God by weaving prayers into our activities throughout the day
3. The classic string of beads rosary or other rosary rings or bracelets or even Rosary craft kits are all very helpful to keep track of prayers. It’s good to get kids familiar with using these tools right from the beginning. We do, however, have 10 fingers, so not having a rosary isn’t exactly an excuse for not saying one. There are plenty of tasks and times of day where I may be doing some kind of small task, but I definitely can be praying the Rosary while I do it. I do still get a little distracted and find that I’m not saying the perfect number of Hail Marys, questioning myself about which prayer (or decade!) I’m on. If my hands are actually busy doing something else, I’ve been known to use 10 little counters nearby, 10 little checks or doodles in my journal or I’ll end up saying 11- or 14-Hail Mary decades.
If I only have one hand free. I’ll make a fist for the Our Father, extend my fingers one at a time for the first five Hail Marys and then close one finger back into a fist for the last five Hail Marys.
4. If you are without a rosary and can’t easily use counters or even your fingers because you’re just that busy, it can be helpful to announce the number of the Hail Mary at the start of the prayer. Announcing the Mystery of that particular decade at the start of each prayer also helps to maintain focus on the Mystery.
5. There are also plenty of Audio Rosaries to listen to, or Catholic apps to keep track of the prayers so that you can focus on the actual prayer and reflection and leave the accounting to someone else.
- Chanted Rosary
- Free CD from Mary Foundation
- Rosary Apps: The Laudate App, Holy rosary app by Joe Meineke, Rosary Army, Rosary Deluxe App, Marians of the Immaculate Conception Mary App
- Holy Rosary App on iTunes
- Quiet Waters Media Rosary Musical YouTube Channel
- Catholic Devotions Musical Rosary (YouTube)
- Rosary Deluxe Audio
- Holy Rosary by Jack Soriano
- A Scriptural Rosary
- The Most Holy Rosary CD by St Francis Xavier Parish
There are also books with beautiful prayers and scripture to encourage meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary. My husband can still recite the Mystery summary and prayers from the Rosary Novena to Our Lady that his family recited every day with all five kids (plus visiting friends) kneeling around his parents.
Because I’ve also been on a bit of a mission to get better at praying out loud and spontaneous prayer, I’ve been announcing the Mystery of the Rosary (to myself) and adding my own spontaneous prayer summarizing the event of the Mystery and praying into it, looking for what virtues I need to learn from the Mystery and where in my life I need to apply them. If I’m a little shorter on time, I’ll pray “Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner,” or “Jesus, I trust in You,” or “Mother Mary, teach me to be more like you” before I proceed to the Our Father and the Hail Marys.
Now, to pray the Rosary as a family more regularly … do you have any practical tips that work for YOUR family?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Journal Stamps and Craft Kits that will help make the Daily Rosary a here-to-stay Habit!
If you’re a list checker … and you are incentived at all by checking off things on your to do list, Prayer Journal Stamps might be a help to you, especially while you establish the daily Rosary as a here-to-stay habit. We’ve just made a NEW Rosary Stamp and you’ll find it in the Prayer Impressions Journal Stamp Shoppe at Arma Dei.
Check out our Rosary Craft Kits at the Arma Dei Shoppe! Great for saying the Rosary with kids!
Available as PDFs with permission to copy!
Copyright 2017 Monica McConkey