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Emeka Collins wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am finding it difficult to meditate on the Rosary.

  • Can I just think about the mystery a little before the Our Father then say the ten Hail Marys, meditating on the words themselves and not the Mystery?
  • Can I pray the Rosary without meditating on the mysteries — only focusing on the Hail Mary themselves and then read the mysteries later on during Bible Study (meditation I mean)?
  • How is it possible to meditate while saying the Hail Mary simultaneously?

Wouldn't one be unstable since he is double-minded and if he focuses on one aspect of praying (saying) the Rosary he pays less attention to the other aspect (meditating) on the Rosary.

Emeka

  { What can I do if I struggle praying the Rosary; (How can I meditate while saying the Hail Mary)? }

Mike replied:

Dear Emeka,

First, let me applaud you for taking up such a  powerful spiritual devotion. Any small difficulties you have are due to the evil one trying to discourage you. The same is true for reading the Scriptures.

That said, it's the intention that counts. Ideally, the focus of the Rosary should be on the meditation of the twenty mysteries of the Rosary.

If you find it difficult, try looking for a Scriptural Rosary pamphlet, which has the mysteries and Scriptural meditations you may have not thought about. If that's still a problem, what you suggest is perfectly fine. With time, you may find that your ability to meditate improves.

The goal should be meditating on the Mystery while, with less focus, saying the Rosary prayer in the background.

The goal of the Rosary is remembering the (redemptive/saving) events in the lives of the Holy Family (which include Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) and as well as those of the Apostles and Disciples, who like you and me, make up part of the Body of Christ.

You said:

  • Can I just think about the mystery a little before the Our Father then say the ten Hail Marys, meditating on the words themselves and not the Mystery?
  • Can I pray the Rosary without meditating on the mysteries — only focusing on the Hail Mary themselves and then read the mysteries later on during Bible Study (meditation I mean)?
  • How is it possible to meditate while saying the Hail Mary simultaneously?

Wouldn't one be unstable since he is double-minded and if he focuses on one alone he pays less attention to the other.

Depending on the age of the person praying, the Rosary can initially be difficult to say but the goal again, is to primarily focus on meditating on the mysteries, while keeping the words of the Our Father and Hail Mary in the background, but initially, the way you have suggested is fine.

The most important suggestion I can make is just to pray it!

My colleagues may have more to add.

Mike

Eric replied:

Emeka —

You asked about double-mindedness. Double-mindedness, as Scripture condemns it, is not thinking of one thing while doing another. It has to do with mixing faith and doubt; believing in God yet not believing in God. Let's look at the passage where this is mentioned:

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7, 8 For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

The Holy Bible. (2006). (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition;
James 1:5–8).

Context is key. James is not talking about praying the Rosary or praying one thing while thinking on some other pious truth. He's talking about doubt.

To get the full benefit of the Rosary you need to meditate on its mysteries. God isn't going to punish you or be displeased if you pray it without the mysteries, in fact He will be pleased you are praying at all, but if you want the promises associated with the Rosary, you need to pray it as intended, because much of its power comes from the Mysteries.

Let's say the Mystery is the Resurrection. If I'm praying that:

  • I'll think of my visit to the site of the Resurrection, the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
  • I'll form an image of the Shroud of Turin in my mind and wonder about the physical energy that generated it.
  • I'll think about the guards and what they might have thought as they fled in fear.
  • I'll wonder what time it happened.
  • I'll think of the women coming to anoint the body, the angels that appeared to them, Peter and John running to see the tomb and John deferring to Peter, the appearance on the Road to Emmaus, the five hundred Jesus appeared to at once, and so forth.
  • I'll also form images in my mind of these events and picture them.

Obviously, to be able to meditate on a Mystery, you have to know and study it. A Scriptural Rosary may help you; this is a set of Scriptural meditations to read before each decade that may help you meditate. I'd encourage you to read the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospels, to help you meditate.

May God bless you as you pray and make your prayer fruitful.

Eric

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