The Battle of the Rosary

"The Battle of the Rosary" by Hillary Ibarra (

Image credit: (2018), CC0/PD

Praying the Rosary is not enjoyable for me; it’s a sacrifice, a commitment of time, energy, focus, and intention.

While I pray the Rosary, I am battling a plethora of petty distractions. I am usually combating a legion of evil thoughts I believe to be inspired by the enemy, of such ferocity they make me want to give up. Additionally, I continually feel the need to repeat the prayers, because I did not “say or reflect on them right.” But people of faith learn to be tenacious; prayer is a battle, we understand, and I fight for others as well as for myself.

For all these reasons, the Rosary is a perfect prayer for me to offer up – not easy or pleasurable, yet profound and effective.

It’s best to walk while praying it, I’ve learned; each step helping me to be centered on the rhythm of the meditation, keeping disturbing thoughts at bay. If I try to remain in a silent and still position, the battles are more difficult. Thus, I walk my little terrier in the morning after my children leave for school, praying in the cold morning air, gazing toward the mountains in the distance.

"The Battle of the Rosary" by Hillary Ibarra (

Copyright 2020 Hillary Ibarra. All rights reserved.

A perfect Rosary with perfect meditation on the mysteries of Christ is something I have never experienced, and I never will, but I’m not daunted by it anymore.

It is so painfully evident that there’s always someone in the world who needs the prayers of a fellow human being who cares enough to plead on their behalf for God’s grace, healing, and mercy. In my prayers I have asked for intercession in issues as mundane as the behavioral problems on my daughter’s bus. I have recited the prayers earnestly for the protection of a missing or troubled child. In tears I have prayed for a beloved battling a relentless disease or the souls of those killed in terrible tragedies. Often I pray for family members; for an increase of faith, hope and love in my own marriage and family – and thus in the greater world; and for many complete strangers in dire straits whom I’ve heard about from friends or the news.

I pray for God’s light to dispel my own discouragement, to guide and fortify me.

There is always someone who could use a Rosary. In fact, there are so many of us, that I often offer up each decade for a different person or cause.

I believe in its power so deeply, because I have faced such opposition from the devil while praying it. There is great power in overcoming my own weaknesses, too – laziness and selfishness – while praying it. It is a decision of free choice and an act of self-will – against all odds – for the good.

In the past several weeks, I have been meditating on the Rosary’s simple phrase, the words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation, “The Lord is with you.” As I repeat those words about the mother of the Word of God, I profess profound and everlasting truths:

The Lord was with Mary at her immaculate conception, free from Original Sin, so that she could become the new Arc of the Covenant.

The Lord was with Mary, being knitted together as humanity’s long hoped for salvation in her womb.

The Lord was with His mother, an adorable infant in her arms, the great I AM.

The Lord was with His mother as He grew, fully human and fully divine, to manhood.

The Lord was with Mary at the wedding at Cana when she interceded for a newly married couple, their families, and their guests.

The Lord was with her as He hung on the cross, giving His mother to the whole world, represented in the person of His apostle John.

The Lord is with Mary now, the Mother of God assumed into Heaven, body and soul, to be with her Son forever.

When I pray the Rosary, I envision the Mother of my Lord and of myself. I see my beloved Lord Jesus with His mother, and I know in my soul that she will indeed intercede to Him on behalf of those for whom I pray.

And In that comforting knowledge I find the strength and determination to faithfully pray the Rosary.

Do you sometimes find it difficult to pray, too? What habits have you developed around the Rosary? Do you sit in your home or go to chapel? Do you need to be alone to meditate, or do you pray while nursing the baby or rocking your older child? Do you recite it while sitting in the car line for school or as a family after Mass?

Copyright 2020 Hillary Ibarra


About Author

Hillary Ibarra is a happy wife, mother of four, and volunteer. In addition to writing for, she is a humor writer and author of The Christmas List, based on the miracle of one childhood Christmas Eve. Jesus, her family, playing guitar, admiring trees, and baking bring her joy. She wants to play the banjo someday, but it might take divine intervention! Learn more at and on Facebook.


  1. I also do a Rosary walk. It helps center me and I feel more connected. It allows me to think of the mysteries and one could even argue it forces me to get some exercise.

    • Yes, there really is something about walking and praying, and I do get more exercise, because I’m not able to pray the Rosary quickly. I once read about a Trappist monk who kept his Rosary in his pocket and prayed it while walking home to the monastery from a day’s work in the fields, and that image inspires me. It’s my belief that the Rosary is for all seasons, all circumstances, all places, and whatever allows us to connect more fully with God while praying it is beneficial. Thank you for your comment, Andrea!

  2. Thank you very much for writing this. I pray the rosary every day and I have been so discouraged lately because if I’m not doing laundry or some other task while praying, it is very hard to focus. It helps me to know that I am not the only one who has never had a perfect rosary with a perfect meditation on the mysteries. Your article helped me so much.

    • I am so grateful we can support and encourage each other at CatholicMom! Your comment is comforting to me, because I, too, have difficulty finishing a Rosary if I cannot connect it with some activity. Focus is a major issue with me, I confess, and it really is a battle I must fight. Sometimes I wish I could be in still, silent meditation by myself, but my Lord God understands better than I do why it is so difficult. Are we still praying? Yes! We have not given up, and we thank God for His love, grace and mercy that sustain us.

  3. I’ve tried to resist that tendency to “do-over” when I realize my thoughts have drifted. Again and again and again. If fidn it’s better to just say “oops,” redirect, and keep going! I’m relying on the hope that God and Mary are more pleased at my efforts than concerned with “success.”

    • I am a “back up and do over” person and it’s so frustrating! You just move on to the next bead and go with it? You can DO that? I know, I know, I’m letting the perfect get in the way of the good. Thanks for the suggestion that there’s another way.

      • I am trying to adopt the attitude that you advocate, Carolyn. Sometimes I succeed, but generally I’m with Barb in backing up and doing over – especially the Our Father, because I try so hard to concentrate on each line and its meaning in relation to my intentions. Still, I agree that forgiving ourselves for being human is the best policy, so that we can more fully trust in and rely on God. “Keep going” is a good battle cry for Christians!

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