This is not a helpful essay on how to better pray the Rosary. This is not a fascinating essay on the history of the Rosary. This is not even really an essay about the great beauty and value of the Rosary. This is just an article to encourage you to pray the Rosary sometimes. Not a very rousing thesis statement I know! In my experience there are many families with a deep devotion to the Rosary. They pray it every night and make a point to join public recitations before or after Mass. Then there are other families who don’t. And somehow it seems like you have to choose one or the other: Say the Rosary every night or not at all except extraordinary occasions. This seems a bit odd.
Perhaps the issue is that most people really admire the every day Rosary prayers. They’d like to do that. Then somehow at the end of the day they didn’t say it so they decide they just can’t. It’s not for them. So they don’t say it at all, which is a real shame.
My husband comes from a family that prays the Rosary together every night. When we married we planned to continue this pious and spiritually beneficial tradition. It is a fond memory of mine: lying on our mattress on the floor when we did not have a stick of furniture or a bed frame, counting off the Hail Marys on our fingers because we didn’t have our own rosaries. We would stare at the crucifix on the otherwise bare walls, the one thing that made that first house in those early days a home, and pray the Rosary. Every night.
Nine months later, the baby was born. Somewhere around a year later we woke up and noticed we had barely prayed family prayers beyond God blesses since his arrival. I think this is where many people in the “not Rosary people” camp find themselves. It’s just not happening! Don’t give up. Pray the Rosary, at least sometimes.
Say it on Fridays. Say it in Advent. Say it for Lent. Say it on first Saturdays. Say it when randomly you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and in need of prayers. Say one or two decades a night if you can’t manage five. Maybe it isn’t every night. Maybe it isn’t every week, but it’s so so much more than nothing. The graces that will flow from just one Rosary are amazing! Give Our Lady a foothold in your family.
We continue to struggle towards being an Every Night family again. Each time we recommit things look a little different at Rosary time. We’ve had times where everyone kneels, times where toddlers wander off and play while parents pray, or the current version with candles lit, and rosaries handed out. The older children lead decades and there are long discussions at the beginning of each decade about the mystery we are on. At the end we sing a hymn and the baby does interpretive liturgical dance, sometimes joined by her slightly older sister. Her favorite is Immaculate Mary. We’ll go months and months doing well and then something will throw us off. Not even a big thing. One or two late nights out in a row are enough to start the slide and suddenly it’s been half a year! That’s not a good thing. But it doesn’t have to be the end.
In this month of the Holy Rosary give it a try. Every night for a month if you can! Or less. Kneeling or sitting, with kids or without. There is probably a best way to pray. There are definitely ways that are better than others but there are many many ways that will strengthen and nourish your soul and your family more than no way at all. Be a family that prays the Rosary, at least sometimes.