Rosary question - reflecting on the mysteries and saying the Hail Marys


Greetings. I prayed my first ever Rosary this evening. When I was at Mother Cabrini’s shrine near Denver, Co this past summer, I bought a Rosary booklet from the gift store. I have a beginner question. How does one reflect on the mysteries while at the same time reciting the Hail Mary prayer? :confused: My brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Tonight, I followed along the blooklet and it was easier for me to read the mysteries first. Then I said the Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and finished the decade off with the Glory Be. And I did that for each decade, reading the mystery first. Is that how you do it? I don’t want to do it incorrectly. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question!

Blessings to everyone!


you have it correct, empyt vessel… :slight_smile: now keep up the good work. a Rosary a day keeps the devil away…

as far as being able to meditate on the mystery while praying the Hail Marys… you will get better and better at that. As Saint Louis de Montfort (the Apostle of Mary) says: “no one gets good at what he does infrequently.” In other words, in order to get good at the Rosary you must pray it often (daily is ideal). The Holy Spirit and Mary will themselves teach you to pray it better and better as you go. Remember that the Rosary is meant to go together with daily Mass and Adoration (praying in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament). When you combine these three forms of prayer, you become nearly invincible. Without them, you dont stand much of a chance against temptation, nor can you do much for souls. God Bless and i will pray for your continued success with the Rosary. Jesus and Mary love you! :):):):slight_smile:


Yes, you prayed it correctly. It does take time to master meditating on the mystery while reciting the prayers. Think of it as multi-tasking. You can only get better with practice. Some recommend that you read the mystery while you are saying the prayers, rather than before, but go with your personal preference.

Don’t worry too much about the form. The Rosary is a private devotion so ‘following the rules’ is not strictly important. What is important is that you prayed. If you make a mistake, it does not invalidate your prayer.

A familiarity with scripture will help with your mediations. I find pictures also to be of help as they remind me of what occurred during each mystery without having to read anything.

There are a great many rosary mediation sites available online for assistance and a simple search will bring them up. I would recommend the scriptural rosary meditations first.


I think it’s great that you have found the rosary. The meditative aspect of the mysteries and saying the prayers will become easier with time and practice.

One hint that may help and it is what I found to be an easy way for my children to more easily focus on the meaning of each mystery is to find pictures (copy and paste from a site and put into an email to yourself or print them out or even I have found that some catholic stores sell the mysteries of rosary in pictures)
and as you pray look at the picture for the mystery you are praying and it will help keep it in your mind without to much difficulty.

Hope this helps and keep praying that rosary.:thumbsup:



I have a little booklet which has pictures of the mysteries. I also take a short pause in the middle of each Hail Mary (right after, “…and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…”) to meditate on the mystery.

I still find myself having moments where I’ll struggle with that part, but I haven’t been praying the rosary for very long, so I figure I’m still just learning.


Welcome! How wonderful that you prayed your first Rosary, congratulations!

It is hard to keep your mind in two places at once! Just do the best you can. I sometimes have trouble just concentrating on one thing!

I heard a priest the other day talk about distraction in prayer. Someone wanted to know how to keep their mind from wandering during prayer…he said he thought it would be easier to move mountains then keep your mind from wandering! Just do your best, Jesus loves you.

Take care and hope this helps.


Welcome to the forums, by the way! So great you’re praying the Rosary!

To answer your question in addition to the great advice you have already received…I sometimes say a prayer intention–something like this–before saying actualy prayers:

Mary, Mother of God, please pray for (intention) with and for me, as I lift it up to God, in the name of His Son Jesus.

I typically have a decade for thanksgiving and praise, and a decade for all who have died/and are in purgatory, and those who are suffering. I might add a decade for hurricane victims, or a timely event happening in the news. I offer that up before I pray the decade of prayers, and I really feel like I can focus more…and feel that Mary has prayed with me for all those intentions I’ve had swirling around in my mind.

Maybe give it a try?


I’m also relatively new to the rosary (a Protestant who has been praying and studying about Catholicism)- but in the last couple of months I"ve made it part of my daily ritual (habbit) each afternoon during the week (and at Church on Sunday am and at home on Saturday evening). The more you say these prayers and contemplate the mysteries, the easier it will be for you to keep the mysteries in mind as you recite the Hail Mary’s and yet, simultaneously, focus on the Hail Mary.

As I’m Protestant (although in RCIA), my wife at first looked at me awry when she realized what I was doing. But for the last couple of Saturdays, she has actually encouraged me to pray the rosary on Saturday night and this last Sunday, my wife and children joined me at the Catholic Church. I have been praying for this on the rosary every day - now that is the power of the rosary! While my wife and children remain far away from becoming Catholic or joining me in my study - I see the beginning of movement and support I couldn’t have dreamed of before beginning this practice.

Its a powerful prayer and I have come to crave it during the day - it is both comforting and fulfilling.




When I pray the Rosary, I conclude each Hail Mary with a little tack-on of what I ask she will pray, such as, “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, that we might be perfectly united with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.” Things like that.

The way I can keep focused to a significant extent during the Meditations is I bring back the end of the Hail Marys to the Meditation by praying something like, “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Pray for us that as you traveled about 80 miles of a long and hard journey to Elizabeth while you yourself were pregnant, and attended an elderly woman for three months, in such a way, I too may gain the grace, strength and will to devote myself to my neighbors. Amen.”

I conclude each of the Hail Marys with a prayer of my own, short or long, some devoted to my own life or the lives of people around me or the world, and many focused on the readings of the Meditations.

I pray the Our Fathers in the same way, and I pray all the prayers slowly so that the full meaning of each line sinks into me and becomes its own specific prayer about something in particular.

Unfortunately, taking so much time in my meditation makes praying the Rosary such a long process for me (2 hours) that I usually don’t get around to praying it in the first place :(. Each time I do pray it, though, it is incredibly meaningful. I wish I could be quicker and yet still experience the same level of meaning and spiritual impact that I do when I pray it the long way.


Welcome to the Church, Brian, and God bless you in your quest for deeper knowledge of His truth!


that is great
after a while you will see how it all comes together, but the thing is simply to pray your way, every day. for me, when I got back into the rosary, it was thru a little scriptural rosary book I picked up in a book store. Guess I never put “bible” and “rosary” together in my mind before (yes, cradle Catholic, but in my time the rosary was for old ladies in babushkas not modern intellectual Catholics).

So I started to announce the mystery, read the scripture, then say the prayers. After a while I did not have to do that anymore, as the scriptures simply come to mind–kind of like those video sites on the web where you just click to the next picture.


Thank you all for your input. I will keep at it, and hopefully will get better. I see some people before Mass and they’re praying the Rosary…without the help of the little booklet. I hope to aspire to that one day. I want to pray the Rosary before Mass starts, but will still need the little booklet to help guide me. Maybe soon…:slight_smile:

Again, thank you for your replies. I will definitely try several ideas that you all have mentioned.



Wow! I’m not the only one who’s taken a hour and a half to say a rosary?! I use to be so scrupulous as to how slow I said the prayers. I have sped it up a little bit, but it still takes me between 30-40 minutes. To the OP, if you have the time, you can pray the rosary reading short scriptures before each Hail Mary ( God bless and keep up your rosaries!


I’m new to praying the rosary myself as I just got into RCIA classes! :smiley:

It gets easier to reflect on the mysteries the more you pray it. I highly suggest Catholics for Dummies. It’s a very good jumping off point I’ve found for a lot of different topics. It’s pretty easy to comprehend the Rosary as they explain it. May not be a perfect explanation…but it helped me.

I’ve also found praying it with someone else also helps. I’ve been praying the Rosary every night for the past week with my boyfriend and it helps to have someone who knows what they’re doing! :smiley:

Also there is a great site a member here pointed out to me called which has a CD on the Rosary and several other topics. I know in the beginning it helped me to have the CD praying the Rosary while I meditated on the Mysteries and then over time I began saying the Rosary while meditating. My mind still has difficulties focusing at times, but the website is a great resource. You can get 8 CDs for $8 or completely free if you mail in your request! :slight_smile:


I think all of us, no matter how long we have been praying the Rosary find that this happens to us. One site I read suggested that we offer up those distractions in intention because it could very well be the Lord’s inspiration of something that needs to be prayed about. I find it much easier to return to the meditation when I do this.

Using a Rosary CD is also good, I find they allow for a deeper meditation. EWTN also occasionally broadcasts them so you can pray along with them.

The longest 5 decade rosary I have meditated lasted at least 2 hours. I didn’t realize when I started it that it would take that long. The particular aid I was using had a meditation, some of which were quite long, for every Hail Mary. I was tempted towards the end, (it was getting late, nearly 1am and I was tired) to skip over some of them. However, my touch of scrupulosity kicked in and I felt I had to finish it as I started. If I ever were to use that resource again, I think I would take just 5 of meditations and use one for each decade. Still, it was an extraordinarily productive prayer session and I got some answers for some things that had been troubling me for a long time.


I have two rosary books, both pre-Iluminous Mysteries but I like them a lot. One I had bought back in the 80’s and the other was given to me by a Catholic co-worker I used to talk to often. He knew me in my dabbling days and I used to ask him so many questions. I really hope to see him again. I never saw him mad, even with the occasional irate customer yelling at him, the most you’d see on him was his face would get red. That’s IT! Never rose his voice or said anything snippy. When you deal with customers 40 hours a week over the phone you can see why his way of handling everything really drew me. It would be awhile before I was back to being Catholic and yes, sadly had my little anti-Catholic bout but I thank God I’m back. I hope to meet more Catholics where I live, I know more ex or strayed Catholics right now. I need to keep praying for all them too.


praise God that you are back Roza! :slight_smile: And also nice that you have a prayer burden for fallen away Catholics around you. i will pray for them too and may God richly bless you in your desire to pray the Rosary. May i also suggestion daily Mass and a bit of Adoration? Anyways God Bless!



The Church near me that replaced the other one I had been going to, I don’t know if they have adoration there. I should try to start going to daily Mass, at least while I’m still jobless, don’t know if I could do it once I have a job. I watch on my computer a lot but I know that’s not the same. I got into that habit before I chose a church to go to back in 2003. I was never like that 20 yrs ago. Have to break bad habits I’ve started. I only really knew 1 Catholic here for years and that’s because we worked together. I did know two others on BBSs. One I did meet in person and the other I haven’t. It’s good being back, I’m just surprised I still feel so foreign to everything.

:cool: I wear dark tinted glasses outside & under bright lights, at home I have dimmer switches so I don’t need the tint. I printed this out; The Holy Mass because they don’t use the Missalettes like I remember. I still want to write into my copy where the gestures are, the making of the cross on the forehead, lips & chest & the other, I forget what to say and where. My priest did say the walk through was on target and he was surprised when I showed him it’s not in the book we have.


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