Disturbing Images while Praying Rosary


This has happened before but it disturbed the heck out of me last night . . .

Praying a rosary for the souls of those in my family who’ve left us, what with it being All Souls’ Day. An image pops into my head while I’m meditating on the Visitation of a sort of “coquettish” Mary - not doing anything sexual but just sort of coquettish, hard to describe. So I said to myself “Oh I’ve had that happen before, Satan’s up to his old tricks again, St. Michael please come to my aid!” or something like that, but then I started sort of thinking about the “coquettish” Mary in the interest of like . . . examining the image to see wth it was, and this led to me imagining a sexually explicit Mary.

Very disturbing. Very disgusting. And the simple truth is that it wasn’t completely involuntary. Understand that this process happened over a period of literally 5-10 seconds tops, it was very quick, but I did sort of “let that image in.” I wasn’t thinking to myself anything sexual, but more a sort of . . . I guess “curiosity” about the image that Satan put there, because it was so odd to think of Mary that way.

This has happened before but it just really disturbed me this time. Now if I remember my reading right this sort of thing isn’t unheard of at all. And it’s not an OCD type thing, it’ll only happen once in a while. One thing that’s helped is to simply not think about it, though I am kinda terrified that I’ve lost my state of grace by letting that image into my head (even though I wasn’t thinking about it in a sexual way, or at least not voluntarily).

Any advice? Anyone else dealt with this? If I get hit by a bus tomorrow will I go to Hell? Like I said, I know I described this very longwindedly but it happened over a period of like 5 seconds. I “pursued” the “bad Mary” but out of curiosity rather than a desire for sexual gratification, and like I said the image was in my head for a period of like 1-2 seconds before I banished it and went on with my Rosary.


Not necessarily lustful, but definitely inappropriate…sounds like far too many of my own thoughts! I feel for you though…often I will have very inappropriate thoughts come to me while praying…sometimes even in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Most of the time I’m aware enough to banish them right away, but sometimes I do allow them to linger…then I’m filled with guilt…how could I think such things while praying before our Lord???

When it happens to me, I confess it. Some might find that too scrupulous, but I think it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Good plan, going to St. Michael, by the way. This is right up his alley!! :smiley:


Simply keep telling the devil to go sit on his tail until Saint Michael banishes him from your mind forever. Don’t give in ever,ever,ever:eek: Carlan


I am often tempted while praying the Rosary. Just try to push it aside from your mind and focus on the words instead. It may be hard, but just try and ignore it. It may stay there for a few moments, but you don’t have to look at it.


Pretend that those thoughts are like those nuisance flies at a summer picnic. As you swat them away, they may come back, but keep swatting them.


Thanks for all the advice guys; I’ll definitely be confessing it.

Another thing that’s sort of helped is that I think we almost tend to think of Mary as like a “cartoon character”, for lack of a better word. She was so holy and so perfect that we make her very abstract in our heads, or at least I do sometimes. So one thing that helps is to remember Mary as a real, historical person who went through untold anguish when her son died, who lived in poverty, a woman above all the saints in holiness but a real woman, with real emotions and real suffering, who now sits on a throne in Heaven.



That’s a wonderful (and realistic) description of Mary, thanks for sharing it! :slight_smile: I’ll definitely be thinking of your description during my next rosary.

I have distractions while saying the rosary and during mass also. As others have said, praying to St. Michael the Archangel helps a lot, at least it does me. Sometimes on bad days I have had to say St. Michael’s prayer a dozen or more times during mass or when praying, but eventually it works.


Well, you seem to be horrified but really I think it is as simple as this; your mind is probably just pondering on the contemplation that Mary was just as human as we was once. Earthly and normal like us. She is pure and heavenly now but I think you were just trying to picture her in a human way. Do not be horrified or afraid of what you thought, just brush past it and move on. :wink:


This reminds me of something I was reading recently in a book about Eastern Orthodox spirituality.

They were speaking of logismoi, which as best I could understand it, are the random thoughts / temptations that occur during prayer.

Two things I specifically remember about their treatment of these *logismoi, *is that -

  1. You are not responsible for the initial intrusion. And it sounds to me like you understand / agree with that - you seem to be less worried that the image came to you than that you followed it, even if only for a split second. I would think your culpability is still pretty small. It’s human nature, when confronted with something unusual (even if disturbing) to want to know more about it.
  2. The Orthodox tradition apparently believes that the best way to fight these logismoi is just to ignore them. I guess the rational is that by “fighting” them off, you give them a weight that they don’t deserve. That is not to say that there aren’t logismoi that aren’t more serious - ones that recur over and over, for instance. But the best first step is simply to ignore them.

And we also learn from these sorts of things. For instance, now that you’ve experienced this sort of disturbing image, you won’t be likely to be caught of guard next time and tempted to pursue the image out of curiosity!

Anyway - just thinking out loud … all that really matters, in the end, is that you were praying the rosary and making Our Lady very happy by doing so!



yup that’s how the devil works… I know the type of thing you mean, - sometimes I get really weird thoughts that don’t seem to come from me at all, and in the past I’ve let them in a few times just out of curiosity, or weakness, or whatever. Eventually I got so tired of them that I stopped letting them in. I can’t say if it’s a mortal sin or not cause I don’t know how much consent you had to this… just in case, make an act of contrition and resolve to go to Confession as soon as you can. God sees you’re repentant so trust in His mercy, and ask Him to help you make a good Confession. God bless


Great post, much thanks, and all the rest of you too.

I love this forum :slight_smile:

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