Method of Praying the Holy Rosary
“Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”
Saint Louis de Montfort
It is not so much the length of a prayer, but the fervor with which it is said which pleases Almighty God and touches His Heart. One single Hail Mary that is said properly is worth more than one hundred and fifty that a badly said. Most Catholics say the Rosary, the whole fifteen mysteries or five of them anyway or, at least a few decades. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? Surely it must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy.
To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin. This we know because all our theology teaches us that good works and prayers are only dead works if they are done in a state of mortal sin. Therefore they can neither be pleasing to God nor help us gain eternal life. This is why Ecclesiasticus says: "Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner." (Ecclus. 15:9). Praise of God and the salutation of the angel and the very Prayer of Jesus Christ are not pleasing to God when they are said by unrepentant sinners.
Our Lord said: "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." (Mark 7:6). It is as though He was saying: "Those who join My Confraternity and say their Rosary every day (even perhaps the fifteen decades), but without being sorry for their sins offer Me lip service only and their hearts are far from Me."
I have just said that to say the Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace "or at least be fully determined to give up mortal sin;" first of all, because, if it were true that God only heard the prayers of those in a state of grace it would follow that people in a state of mortal sin should not pray at all. This is an erroneous teaching which has been condemned by Holy Mother Church, because of course sinners need to pray far more than good people do. Were this horrible doctrine true it would then be useless and futile to tell a sinner to say all, or even part of his Rosary, because it would never help him.
Secondly, because if they join one of Our Lady's confraternities and recite the Rosary or some other prayer, but without having the slightest intention of giving up sin, they join the ranks of her false devotees. These presumptuous and impenitent devotees, hiding under her mantle, wearing the scapular and with rosary in hand, cry out: "Blessed Virgin, good Mother-Hail Mary!..." And yet at the same time, by their sins, they are crucifying Our Lord Jesus Christ and tearing His flesh anew. It is a great tragedy, but from the very ranks of Our Lady's most holy Confraternities souls are falling into the fires of Hell.
We earnestly beg everyone to say the Holy Rosary: the just that they may persevere and grow in God's grace; the sinners that they may rise from their sins. But God forbid that we should ever encourage a sinner to think that Our Lady will protect him with Her mantle if he continues to love sin, for then it will only turn into a mantle of damnation which will hide his sins from the public eye. The Rosary, which is a cure for all our ills, would then be turned into deadly poison. "A corruption of what is best is worst."
The learned Cardinal Hugues says: "One should really be as pure as an angel to approach the Blessed Virgin and to say the Angelic Salutation." One day Our Lady appeared to an immoral man who used to always say hi Rosary every day. She showed him a bowl of beautiful fruit, but the bowl itself was covered with filth. The man was horrified to see this and Our Lady said: "This is the way you are honoring me! You are giving me beautiful roses in a filthy bowl. Do you think I can accept presents of this kind?"
A Good Method
When you have asked the Holy Spirit to help you pray well, put yourself for a moment in the presence of God and offer up the decades in the way that I am going to show you later.
Before beginning a decade, pause for a moment or two - depending upon how much time you have - and contemplate the mystery that you are about to honor in that decade. Always be sure to ask of Almighty God, by this mystery and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, one of the virtues that sines forth most in this mystery or one of which you stand in particular need.
Take great care to avoid the two pitfalls that most people fall into during the Rosary. The first is the danger of not asking for any graces at all, so that is some people were asked their Rosary intention they would not know what to say. So, whenever you say your Rosary, be sure to ask for some special grace. Ask God's help in cultivating on of the great Christian virtues or in overcoming one of your sins.
The second big fault a lot of people make when saying the Holy Rosary is to have no intention other than that of getting it over as quickly as possible! This is because so many of us look upon the Rosary as a burden which is always heavier when we have not said it - especially if it is weighing on our conscience because we have promised to say it regularly or have been told to say it as a penance more or less against our will.
It is really pathetic to see how most people say the Holy Rosary - they say it astonishingly fast and mumble so that the words are not properly pronounced at all. We could not possible expect anyone, even the most unimportant person, to think that a slipshod address of this kind was a compliment and yet we expect Jesus and Mary to be pleased with it! Small wonder then that the most sacred prayers of our holy religion seem to bear no fruit, and that, after saying thousands of Rosaries, we are still no better off than we were before! Dear Confraternity members, I beg of you to temper the speed which comes all too easily to you and pause briefly several times as you say the Our Father and Hail Mary. I have placed a cross at each pause, as you will see:
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, + hallowed be Thy name, + Thy kingdom come, + Thy will be done + on earth as it is in Heaven. + Give us this day + our daily bread + and forgive us our trespasses + as we forgive those who trespass against us, + and lead us not into temptation + but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, + the Lord is with thee, + blessed art thou among women + and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. + Holy Mary, Mother of God, + pray for us sinners, now + and at the hour of our death. Amen.
[Source: The Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louis de Montfort]