Everyone in blog-universe seems to do lists of 10 for various things. So today I started thinking about the Rosary (or prayer in general) and my first (and perhaps only) contribution to this “effort of 10s” will be in that regard. So here are 10 ways not to pray the Rosary—and yes, I have done every one of them at one time or another. Just saying…
1) Do not get comfortable in bed, pillows all in place, lights off, and then expect to get through even the first decade. And, contrary to “Catholic folk tales anonymous,” there is no teaching that your guardian angel finishes it for you whenever you snooze. If he did, you could simply save a lot of time and do that every single night. However he has enough to do guarding you from prowlers during those hours.
2) The car is a great place to pray—if you have a Rosary or otherwise prayerful CD, that is. A Christian radio station with soft music might be acceptable too—but the “oldies” station is definitely not. Keep in mind that “Vaya Con Dios” is not actually a religious song either. The clue to this is the words “my darling.”
3) The above also holds true while watching frightening or scary movies on cable. Even if it is the Sorrowful Mysteries, it can be very distracting when someone’s neck is bitten or when Spartacus makes his moves. You might pray for the soul of the man who played him, however (Andy Whitfield). And his family too. He tragically died 2 years ago of lymphoma cancer at age 39. Incidentally this might be a good time to remind us that we can pray for specific intentions every time we pray this powerful set of Prayers.
4) If you do pray in bed or in that comfortable recliner with an “old-lady” style blanket on your lap, and you suddenly find your Rosary is across the room, get up and go get it. Offer up that 30 seconds of chilled air to our Lord and He will bless you for it. Do not use your fingers alone when a blessed Rosary is available.
5) Speaking of blessings, do not assume that the dime store quality set of plastic beads you received in the mail yesterday in order to entice you to support a mission or apostolate, even a very worthy one, is actually blessed unless they tell you it is.
6) Get every single Rosary you use blessed. It takes 30 seconds for a priest or deacon to do so. A blessed Rosary unites your prayers with the prayers of every other Rosary-praying person at that moment in time. And the prayer of agreement is indeed one of power. You may ask for more than one set of beads to be blessed at a time by the way. Unlike us in confession, rosaries can indeed be sanctified in groups. And although he may scowl slightly, the priest is secretly glad to do so. He is glad you are praying for him. And tell him of your prayers while you are at it. He does not hear that often enough.
7) Do not wear a Rosary as a necklace. And (personal opinion) neither is it a bracelet—unless you are wearing it for convenience so you can use it to pray with during the day or while out and about. Still skip the necklace idea. You will look like a gang member. And your angel may not protect you in this case.
8) MEN—carry your Rosary in a case, not just loose in your pocket. Chains break, especially when they tangle up with your cell phone, pocket change and small screwdriver sets. And random pieces of old popcorn.
9) WOMEN—if you carry it in your purse, give it a designated place or compartment just for it. Nothing like dumping out the contents of your purse at the altar of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the tough-as- nails Rosary leader calls on you to announce the next Mystery. And if you attend my parish she will. Okay I have not done this one. But she is indeed tough as nails. She has several times literally scared me into praying the Rosary with the group, which is not always a bad motivation. And a small card listing the Mysteries for each day is invaluable. Use one even if you know the Mysteries by heart. At least in public.
10) Remember that the Rosary is a prayer to Jesus, not to Mary! We ask her to pray for us in it—53 times in fact. But while it is in honor of her, it is not for the most part directed at her. Of the 20 Mysteries, all but 2 are directly about Jesus, His life, ministry and Passion. You are praying with Mary, not to her. And she is praying it with you. When I first came back to the Church I prayed only the first half of the Hail Mary’s due to fear of committing idolatry. Since there are 53 of them that is a lot of prayer I was skipping. Even though seemingly aimed at her, let your mind dwell more so on the Mystery at hand, whether the birth of Christ, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, or the rest. Let the words of the Hail Mary be the background music for this “mind movie” you are experiencing and let the Hail Mary’s be the sound effects too. This is the reason you see pictures or statues of Mary praying the Rosary. She is not in fact praying to herself. She is praying to her Son, just as you are. Join her.
11) Okay so I cannot count, but one more thing—do not pray at the speed of a train wreck. A fast Rosary is around 20 minutes—a well prayed one is most likely 30-35. And you will notice the difference…guaranteed. If you must break it up into two segments, do so. Just remember where you left off. A good place to stop is just after the introductory Prayers and the first 2 decades. Then the last 3. Even on a short car trip you can then finish it. And again, without the oldies playing, unless you consider Gregorian chants as such…they do in fact predate Elvis as well as the Beatles. Possibly not the Rolling Stones though.
- Vashti Whitfield’s Interview About Husband’s Fight with Cancer (xavierism.typepad.com)
- Spartacus Actor Andy Whitefield Dead at 39 (binsidetv.net)
- Saying or Praying? (newevangelizers.com)
- One simple prayer can change your world … Tuesday, January 22 (judemarian.wordpress.com)
- Praying for the harvest… (afruitinseason.wordpress.com)
- Mary pondered all these things – do you? (contemplativehomeschool.wordpress.com)
- Vatican Rosary begins live broadcast By Estefania Aguirre (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
- The “Wandering Mind” Rosary (iseekhim.com)
- “Take Care to Avoid the Two Pitfalls Most People Fall Into During the Rosary!” (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
- From My Friend and Yours, Mary Mother of God (catholicboyrichard.com)