Regarding the Holy Rosary


Greetings of Christ’s Love, Mercy and Peace!

I’d like to know your thoughts regarding something that bothered me for a long time regarding the praying the Holy Rosary.

I supposed all of us know that we are taught to meditate on the events described in the mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary and that the Our Fathers and Hail Marys are supposed to retreat into the background as we meditate. However, doesn’t this retreat reduce the repetitive prayers into babbles, because one is now focused on the meditating? Wouldn’t speaking these prayers in such a manner now qualify as vain repetition?

Thank you.



Nope. If you were to repeat ‘I love you’ 50 or 100 times to your spouse, your mind might wander onto other things - not irrelevant ones certainly, you may think of totally relevant but not entirely on-point things like the many different specific things about them which you love - but that wandering doesn’t preclude you actually sincerely meaning the words you say, does it?

I DO want God’s will to be done, to be forgiven of my sins and all the other things the Our Father mentions. I DO want to honour Mary as being full of grace, the mother of God, and ask for her intercession. I want God to be glorified, and I want Jesus to forgive us our sins and save us from Hell and lead us to heaven.

And I want those things constantly - even when I’m not saying any sort of formal prayer, let alone when I am!


That strikes me as saying something out of habit or something mechanical and therefore not sincere.

Meditating on the mysteries is not like letting your mind wander when you say the repetitive prayers in the Holy Rosary. In fact, we are reminded to exert as much effort to restore our attention to the praying of the Rosary or any prayer for that matter once we notice that we have drifted.

Thank you.



You think you could ever get become repetitive and mechanical saying ‘I love you’ to someone you love and thinking about WHY you love them or something similar? You can’t, any more than you could of kissing them! Even if it is 50 or 100 times. Trust me, I’ve done it (the kissing, not so much the ‘I love you’s’ though I’ve said that plenty too :wink: )

Besides which, the praying is so much MORE than just the words - the Spirit, as Paul reminds us, can pray for us without words when they fail us!

Prayer is words combined with meditation. Which is exactly what we do in the Rosary! As to what amount of emphasis we give to the words and how much to the meditation - why should it matter as long as we are lifting both voice and heart to God?

Remember too that Jesus didn’t simply warn against repetitive prayer per se - He warned against the attitude of the pray-ers - ‘they think they will be heard by their many words’. If you prayed a Rosary because you thought God would hear a long prayer better than a short one, that would be wrong.


One can be repetitive and not mechanical at the same time. I can say to my wife “I love her” countless times and really mean it. That I can never get over with.

Being struck with the thought of why you love them or something similar is not a distraction since these are directly related to the content of your statement or action or whatever.

Besides which, the praying is so much MORE than just the words - the Spirit, as Paul reminds us, can pray for us without words when they fail us!

No argument there.

Prayer is words combined with meditation. Which is exactly what we do in the Rosary!

Which is why we should meditate on the content of the words, or as close as possible.

See, my problem is not that I want to eliminate the meditation or the repetitive prayers. It seems to me that I should meditate on a mystery first and then recite the repetitive prayers, meditating on what these prayers actually say.

Well, thinking about it much closely now, I supposed I prefer meditation of the mystery to be in the background and meditation on the actual content of the repetitive prayers be in the foreground once you recite such.

As to what amount of emphasis we give to the words and how much to the meditation - doesn’t matter!

I beg to differ but I think it does.

Thank you.


P.S. I have to admit that maybe I just don’t understand what it means when they teach that the repetitive prayers should be in the background as you meditate on the mysteries. Maybe there’s something more to this teaching of how to pray the Most Holy Rosary. I hope anyone could enlighten me on this.


Remember that Our Lady gave us this Devotion :slight_smile:

From The Secret Of The Rosary, by St. Louis De Montfort

First Rose
The prayers of the Rosary

The rosary is made up of two things: mental prayer and vocal prayer. In the Holy Rosary mental prayer is none other than meditation of the chief mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Vocal prayer consists in saying fifteen decades of the Hail Mary, each decade headed by an Our Father, while at the same time meditating on and contemplating the fifteen principal virtues which Jesus and Mary practised in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

In the first five decades we must honor the five Joyous Mysteries and meditate on them; in the second five decades the Sorrowful Mysteries and in the third group of five, the Glorious Mysteries. So the Rosary is a blessed blending of mental and vocal prayer by which we honor and learn to imitate the mysteries and virtues of the life, death, passion and glory of Jesus and Mary.

And later…

The Twenty-First Rose
… Our Lady taught Saint Dominic this excellent method of praying and ordered him to preach it far and wide so as to reawaken the fervor of Christians and to revive in their hearts a love for Our Blessed Lord.

She also taught it to Blessed Alan de la Roche and said to him in a vision: “When people say one hundred and fifty Angelic Salutations this prayer is very helpful to them and is a very pleasing tribute to me. But they will do better still and will please me even more if they say these salutations while meditating on the life, death and passion of Jesus Christ - for this meditation is the soul of the prayer.”

For, in reality, the Rosary said without meditating on the sacred mysteries of our salvation would be almost like a body without a soul: excellent matter but without the form which is meditation — this latter being that which sets it apart from all other devotions. …


Blowing a cyber kiss across the seas to Lily.( on the cheek of course) :wink:


Thank you for the references.

I supposed my problem is I prefer to meditate on the actual content of the repetitive prayers once I speak these, which is why I meditate on the mystery either before or after the repetitive prayers.

I do both, I just don’t do these at the same time. Is that wrong?



I see. Well, when praying the Rosary in private, I announce the Mystery silently, then meditate on it a short while before I say the Our Father. As I say the Aves, I’ll keep a visualization in my mind of the particular “scene” of the Mystery. For example, the Nativity. I simply “see”, in my mind, a Nativity scene. Sometimes the 3 kings appear, sometimes I’ll zoom in and see the love in Mary’s face as she adores the Infant Jesus. It’s not rigid, nor does it follow the same pattern each day. It just happens to flow from one image to another.

It’s harder to do when praying the Rosary with others before Mass, because of distractions, but as one makes it a part of their daily prayer life, it gets easier. :slight_smile:

Hope this helped.


I’ll add that keeping my eyes closed helps, though I will sometimes gaze at the crucifix while meditaing on the Crucifixion.


I have just joined the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary and have started a new blog all about it this prayer group and the Rosary in general:



:slight_smile: :blush: :flowers:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit