What Should I Focus On While Praying the Rosary?

The Rosary is a rich and beautiful prayer. Many saints prayed the Rosary every day, and shared the power this devotion had in their lives. But for those who are unfamiliar with the Rosary, it can seem like just a prayer marathon – repeating the same prayers over and over until you finally reach the end. But the Rosary is not simply a repetitive prayer, it is a meditative prayer. While praying the Hail Marys and Our Fathers, we meditate on different mysteries from the Gospels.

A listener recently called in to Go Ask Your Father™, and explained that he was in the process of entering the Catholic Church, and was learning to pray the Rosary. He asked Monsignor Stuart Swetland if it was alright to meditate on different Scripture passages or pieces of spiritual insight while praying the Rosary, or if our sole focus should be the designated mysteries for each decade.

Msgr. Swetland responded, saying, “That’s a beautiful thing about the Rosary. It can be prayed in many different settings, and can be prayed in many different ways, and be fruitful at many different stages of the spiritual life. And so it becomes for many people a very meditative and even, when God grants us the gift of contemplative prayer, it can even become a contemplative type of prayer.”

Msgr. Swetland pointed out that meditating on a certain Scripture verse or on a particular intercession doesn’t make the Rosary “not count.” He pointed out that, especially for beginners, having multiple points of meditation can be beneficial.

“We can start it as a very active meditative experience, and also as a way of doing intercessory prayer,” he said. “So having a Rosary where you pray it and each bead has a little bit of Scripture verse or a little bit of a a spiritual insight, that’s not a bad way to start.”

As a convert to Catholicism himself, Msgr. Swetland shared a bit of his own journey and experience in praying the Rosary, pointing out that his Protestant background actually helped him in meditating on the individual mysteries.

“I started with meditating on the mysteries,” he said. “I used it as a meditative prayer, where I was thinking about each mystery. And thinking about that in terms of how most of those stories have passages in the Bible that directly relate to those mysteries. So I would be pulling those passages, either in my mind or reading those and then meditating on that particular mystery.”

“I had already learned how to meditate on Scripture as a child. So that was normal to me. The Rosary beads just made me focus more and took me along the various mysteries, and made my prayer more centered.”

You can pray the Rosary along with Relevant Radio® anytime by going to our Rosary Page or the Pray tab on the Relevant Radio App. And you can listen to the full conversation with Msgr. Stuart Swetland below:

Go Ask Your Father airs weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.