Do you have to meditate on the mysteries while saying the Rosary?

I never have. Do you have to, or can you just say the prayer assign to each bead? I keep seeing that they are “recommended”. I want to know if they are required, and if they are required every time you recite the rosary.

I would assume it is required to meditate on the Mysteries while saying the Rosary

I wonder this myself…I say the rosary several times a day and I can’t seem to ponder the mysteries over and over every day…I just run out of thoughts on them! So I try to focus on a vision of Jesus or Mary…or a person I may be saying the rosary for and picture Jesus standing over them. I feel bad, though, wondering if this is ok?

I think maybe I should try harder to focus and maybe I am giving in to Satan trying to distract me, but then I think as long as I am thinking “holy” thoughts, maybe it’s ok?

A similar question was answered here by an Apologist on these Fora. In a nutshell: it is not necessary to meditate on the mysteries if you do not plan on getting indulgences out of it is how i interpretted the Apologist’s answer.

i used to wonder the same thing and still do to a certain extent. There is a specific quality/virtue that is attached to each mystery as listed in the back of the “Mary Craichy”(sp?) missalettes used for the Tridentine Latin Mass. Since the Luminous Mysteries are rather new, they were not included.

Joyful -

  1. Annuciation - humility (think on Mary’s humility at the angel Gabriel’s announcment, how you can imitate that or if you are offering the Rosary for the intention of a specific person, pray that they imitate this virtue)
  2. Visitation - charity toward thy neighbor (neighbor being everyone else in this sense)
  3. Nativity - Spirit of Poverty (poor in spirit meaning, again, humility)
  4. Presentation - Obedience
  5. Finding in the Temple - Piety


  1. Agony in the Garden - True Contrition
  2. Scourging at the Pillar - Purity
  3. Crowning of Thorns - Moral Courage (stand your ground even when the majority is against you and you know you are following what is right)
  4. Carrying of the Cross - Patience
  5. Crucifixion - Self-Denial (follow the spirit’s desires instead of the body’s desires)


  1. Resurrection - Faith
  2. Ascension - Hope
  3. Descent of the Holy Spirit - Love of God
  4. Assumption of Mary into Heaven - Devotion to Mary
  5. Coronation of Mary - Final Perseverance (which refers to dying a happy death on earth). The Coronation is a tough one for me since i have never heard it described in any sort of detail by Church-approved sources. Even Anne Catherine Emmerich’s revelations do not go into detail concerning this. And i am not even sure what Mary is being crowned as. i’ve heard Queen of Heaven, but i have also heard She is crowned Queen over all the earth. i just mainly concentrate on the Final Perseverance aspect of this mystery and for a mental picture, just picture Heavenly thoughts as you mentioned or picture nothing at all.

Otherwise i believe it’s best to have a mental picture paired with keeping the grace in mind that is attached to each particular mystery.

This may sound nit-picky, but I wonder also…when I do more than one decade at a time, do I start over with the Creed, Glory Be, the three hail Marys and Our Father or just continue to the next mystery?
I tell myself that it is my intention that matters so not to become too scrupulous, but then again, I should make the effort to do it right.
I say the rosary driving in the car sometimes or doing chores and I KNOW I become distracted then, but I still do it, and then try later on to say it in a quiet place.

Thanks, fulbert, for your knowledge and input!

To help with the meditating see this book:

Indulgences are attached to praying the Rosary which includes meditation on the mysteries. Our Lady at Fatima made promises to those who said the Rosary and meditated on the mysteries. That said, the Rosary is a private devotion so you can pray it whatever way seems right to you. And one would normally not say the Creed, etc. before each decade. Various pictures, scripture readings, etc. help me with meditating on the Mysteries when I don’t feel like I have a thought.

Hope that helps.

I thought Mary spoke of the mysteries only with reference to the First Five Saturdays. Please correct me if this is wrong.

I had a hard time focusing on the mysteries, until, I got a cd from Fr Cedric, and I say the rosary with him every night, it’s very calming and it keeps me focused…His website is

I have done much of my reading about Fatima in relation to the First Five Saturdays, however if Mary wants us to do it that way…:confused:

No, you wouldn’t have to redo the “tail”(as I have called it since I was 7 :blush:) of the rosary. I know what you mean, about saying it while distracted. When I say my rosary, I usually say 11 “Hail Mary’s” per decade, just in case my mind was distracted during one! Or if my mind wandered too much I start the Hail Mary over again.

:smiley: I have a tendency to do the same.

I think I’ll skip them, most of the time, and say my rosary like I have for 19 years. Mary spoke of keeping her company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the rosary on the first five Saturdays. But if I find a quote about doing them with every rosary, I’ll have to start! :slight_smile:
Let me know if you find one, or something more specific. I have read the book that Lucia wrote, and Mary encouraged recitation of the rosary A LOT, but I don’t recall the mention of the mysteries. Except with reference to the first five Saturdays. :shrug:

HA HA!!! You Do!!! I thought I was the only one! That is so funny! Do you also call it the “tail” of the rosary??? :rotfl:

Not so far, but now I probably will!:smiley:

It sounds like you are combining the 15 minutes of keeping Mary company with the actual praying of the Rosary. These are 2 separate actions regarding the Promise of the 5 First Saturdays. The Rosary is to be said with the intention of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Virgin Mary told Sister Lucia there are 5 ways to blaspheme and offend the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (This is why the number of consecutive First Saturdays is to be 5).
(in no particular order)

  1. Blasphemies agains the Immaculate Conception
  2. Against Her Perpetual Virginity
  3. Against Divine Maternity, refusing at the same time to accept Her as the Mother of all mankind.
  4. those who try publicly to implant in the children’s hearts indifferences, contempt, and even hate against this Immaculate Mother.
  5. those who insult Her directly in Her sacred images

So we now have a lot going on with such a Rosary. There’s always the physical words of the prayers, there’s the mysteries of the Rosary, and then there’s this overarching intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The prayers i know by heart and thus don’t pay much attention to the words though they can help keep on track should my mind start to stray.

i pray the Joyful Mysteries on Saturdays. Keeping in mind the grace attached to each Joyful Mystery, i try and attach it to those who might offend the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It would be appropriate to mention here that #4 on the list “gets me going the most” and thus i choose that scenario to meditate upon.

For example, the First Joyful Mystery - The Annunciation. Humility. i think about teachers in Catholic schools teaching indifference or other falsehoods about Mary. And i will ask pardon for those teachers but i also implore that they may be humbled in heart over something or at least to attain some shred of humility so as to bring them closer to Christ and no longer teach these falsehoods.

And so on for each mystery.

Now the 15 minutes keeping company with Mary, Sister Lucy explains as follows. They can be on any number of mysteries. 1, 2, or 20. You pick them yourself. Meditate on the grace attached to that mystery. See the scene play out in your head, how you can imitate that grace. Indeed, it may be possible to be wrapt in wonderment for all 15 minutes at just the mystery of the Annunciation and at Mary’s great humility. Imagine the scene of the angel Gabriel playing out with Mary. Think of the times in your life where you have exhibited pride and how you can better humble yourself. Simple practices such as not capitalizing the singular “i” when referring to yourself, or only opening a door just wide enough so you can achieve exit/entry status lest you should make too grand an entrance/exit, or riding/walking to one side or another on the sidewalk instead of in the middle. If there’s an empty couch for 2 you alone are about to sit on, sit on only one side instead of the middle. Things like that.

Actually, it’s like a Rosary but without the set prayers, these 15 minutes. This is actually where i got the idea from, to tie all of that in with recitation of the regular Rosary.

There is one problem with all of this that i feel obligated to mention. Sister Lucy also says the 15 minutes should be done with the overarching intention of removing the thorns from Her Immaculate Heart. How to tie that in with the scenario above i am not wholly sure of.

Much of this i got from the book “Sister Lucia Apostle of Mary’s Immaculate Heart” by Mark Fellows.

Now, the way I learned it, if you’re not meditating on the mysteries, you’re not really saying the Rosary. You’re just repeating the prayers.

The Rosary, precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning…Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ: “In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their many words.”” -Pope John Paul II

(this quote is printed on the Rosary leaflet printed by Rosary Army.)

If you’re not meditating on the mysteries now, I highly recommend doing so. Check and click on each set of mysteries to get a meditation for each Ave. I don’t always do the right mysteries on the right day, and sometimes when I just want to do one decade of the Rosary I’ll just pick whatever mystery seems appropriate at the time, but I do always meditate on a mystery when I say a decade.

I just heard the “tail” thing today…I’ve always called it the “center strand.” As far as repeating imperfect Aves or doing extra, Buddhists have a mala with 108 beads, which they count as 100 repetitions of their mantra, just in case some were imperfect.


I can’t imagine repeating any prayer 50 times over in a row without thinking of SOMETHING other than the words! That’s why the Rosary is so perfect - it offers us suggestions and a structure as to how to guide our thoughts while praying.

I actually found the Divine Mercy Chaplet hard to say at first until I figured out you could meditate during that as well - on the five Sorrowful Mysteries, or the Five Wounds of Christ, or other things connected with His passion and His mercy.

Thanks for your response. I did know that the 15 minutes of keeping her company was separate from the rosary. You can meditate on all the mysteries or, even just 1 mystery a month. :slight_smile:
I wonder why the rosary and the 15 minutes are separate? :shrug: Maybe she realizes most people don’t always meditate on the mysteries? My grandmother was born in 1907, said her rosary many times a day since she was very young, went to school at a convent, and she never said anything but the prayers. Also if the 3 children who saw Mary were usually saying their rosary while out tending sheep, it stands to reason they didn’t always do the mysteries. Unless they had them memorized, which of course they could have.

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