Pray the Rosary Without Distractions: an Everyday Catholic Guide
It’s hard to pray the Rosary without losing focus.
Even St. Louis de Montfort, who was SUPER devoted to the Rosary, said it’s “the hardest prayer to say well and to persevere in, owing especially to the distractions which almost inevitably attend the constant repetition of the same words.”
You know how it goes. You sit down, get through a couple beads… then you start thinking of what to cook for dinner tomorrow… or what your coworker said today…
Your mind doesn't need much to hit the gas and drive a million miles away.
It’s frustrating, isn’t it? The Rosary is a beautiful, powerful prayer. And it can make such a difference in your life, if you can just keep your focus.
Steer your mind away from distractions with these three simple tips! We stand by them at Ave Rosary because they’ve worked so well for us. Put them into practice so you can get more joy and peace out of the Rosary too.
1. Use a visual aid.
Your mind is like a TV, constantly producing images in your head.
Just like in a restaurant when your eyes stray to the screen behind the person with you at the table, think of distraction during the Rosary as “looking at” the images in your mind instead of “looking at” the mysteries.
But just like that TV in the restaurant, your mind never turns off.
That means to stay distraction-free during the Rosary, you don’t have to try to shut down your mind, you just have to watch where you’re looking.
There are two ways to refocus your mind’s eye.
One, use physical images. Set up a picture of Mary or Jesus next to you, and look at it while you pray.
Two, use mental images. Get a book that describes specific details about each mystery of the Rosary. Imagine those details and hold them in your mind while you pray each Hail Mary. We recommend using “The Contemplative Rosary” by Dan Burke and Connie Rossini.
2. Stop forcing yourself.
When do you try to pray the Rosary? It could be the wrong time for you.
Lots of people mumble through the Rosary at the end of the day. But that’s when they’re drained and need sleep. No wonder they get distracted!
St. Josemaria Escriva said, “A sad way of not praying the Rosary is to leave it for the end of the day. If you say it when going to bed, it will be done at best badly and with no meditation on the mysteries.”
You know when you’re at your best. Is it first thing in the morning? During your lunch break? Whenever it is, that’s the time to spend a few minutes praying the Rosary. Even one decade, prayed without distraction, feels better than a whole Rosary recited all out of focus.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t force yourself to say the Rosary when it’s not a good time.3. Slow down and say it out loud.
When you rush a job, you don’t think about it much. But when it’s important to you, you slow down to give it your full attention.
The same goes for the Rosary. The slower you take it, the better you focus.
When you say the same words over and over, it’s tempting to start rushing them. But say each Hail Mary deliberately. Try saying them out loud too. Research shows that when you say things out loud, you focus better.
So there you have it! We encourage you to give these tips a try, and pray the Rosary like never before!
P.S. One last thing…
When you do get distracted, don’t fret.
It happens to the best of us, even the saints!
Just pause, recollect yourself, and put yourself back in the presence of Mary and Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus, and keep on praying.
St. Louis de Montfort said: “He who is faithful in rejecting the smallest distractions when he says even the smallest prayer, will also be faithful in great things. Nothing is more certain, since the Holy Spirit has told us so.”
You got this!
-The Ave Rosary Team