Most of us are convinced it is extremely efficacious to pray a daily rosary, but at the same time we experience numerous obstacles to forming the solid habit! Besides packed schedules and life throwing its curve balls, the devil, whose head is crushed under the heel of the woman honored by this devotion, will do everything God allows in order to sabotage our efforts and discourage our resolution. Here are some tips on establishing and maintaining a rosary routine:
Start out small
The first step in starting a routine is consistency. However, it can be hard to consistently fit in an entire rosary when you're starting off. Borrowing from the proven success of the "Couch to 5K" movement, perhaps pray a daily decade at first and add on another each week! Tune in on the web or in the car every day at 10 am for our daily rosary.
If you have days where you don't feel you can even do a decade, still take a minute to meditate on one mystery to keep the consistency going.
Attach it to something you do each day
There is no shame in praying the rosary while getting ready for the day, waiting in the carpool line, washing dishes, or at the gym! St. Teresa of Avila reminds us that "God walks among the pots and pans!"
Keep it fresh
Many of us would benefit by changing things up to keep our prayer fresh and focused. Here are some methods for praying the rosary to consider:
- Scriptural Rosary - read one scripture verse related to the mystery before each Hail Mary
- Focus on an image of the mystery
- Imagine yourself present at the scene of the mystery
- add a related phrase after the first half of each Hail Mary, for instance, "who changed water into wine" or "who was born in a stable"
- Meditate on the fruit of the mystery (listed with a meditation on our printable pamphlets)
- Listen to an Audio Rosary to keep things moving in the midst of distractions
The Rosary of Saint John Paul II by Tom Hoopes is a great "one-stop-shop" for many of these methods.
Some of us may benefit from a self-imposed delayed gratification to motivate us to keep our routine going when the going gets tough. Perhaps don't pour a second cup of coffee, check social media, or watch that show until after your daily rosary is complete.
The Elusive Family Rosary
If starting our own daily rosary routine has its challenges, they can seem slight compared to the thought of creating a family rosary routine! Between competing schedules, tantruming toddlers and varying levels of cooperation, the temptation to give it up can be overwhelming. A few thoughts on this...
- Even if a teen can only stay for a few Hail Mary's before heading off to work or a game, persevere.
- Even if a toddler is wailing face down on the floor and you can't even hear if anyone else is praying along, persevere.
- Even if your daughter needs to be reeled in from daydreaming every Hail Mary, persevere.
- Even if your son is using his rosary as a lasso though you correct him every night, persevere.
- Even if your spouse is out of town and you're exhausted at the thought of gathering everyone, persevere.
- Even if you feel like you didn't really pray with much attention yourself, persevere.
Like every good mother, Mary sees the love and dedication behind the hot mess of a rosary we give her. A daily family rosary lays a firm foundation for our children who are growing up in a culture that will huff and puff all day long to blow their faith down. Persevere.
When we feel our resolve start to slip, let us turn to springs of motivation like Mary's call for a daily rosary at Fatima, the 15 Promises, and many great books on the rosary like Champions of the Rosary by Fr. Donald H. Calloway or Praying the Rosary Like Never Before by Edward Sri.
Not motivated enough? Listen to what these saints had to say!
"One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world."
"The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary."
~Pope Saint Pius X
"The Rosary is a prayer both so humble and simple and theologically rich in Biblical content. I beg you to pray it."
~St. John Paul II
"If you wish to convert anyone to the fullness of the knowledge of Our Lord and of His Mystical Body, then teach him the Rosary. One of two things will happen. Either he will stop saying the Rosary — or he will get the gift of faith."
~Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
"The Rosary is the 'weapon' for these times."
~Saint Padre Pio
"You always leave the Rosary for later, and you end up not saying it at all because you are sleepy. If there is no other time, say it in the street without letting anybody notice it. It will, moreover, help you to have presence of God."
~St. Josemaria Escriva
"The rosary is the scourge of the devil."
~Pope Adrian VI
“You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.”
~Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche