follow the link to see several more Madonnas by this Polish artist
Before beginning a decade, pause for a moment or two, depending on how much time you have, and contemplate the mystery that you are about to honour in that decade. Always be sure to ask, by this mystery and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for one of the virtues that shines forth most in this mystery or one of which you are in particular need.When I first started saying the Rosary soon after I converted, I memorized the intentions that went with each mystery. You find slightly different versions of the intentions from different sources, but here are two examples:
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 if some good 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 or virtue, or strength to overcome some sin. -- St Louis Marie de Montfort
For some reason I got away from associating the intentions with the mysteries, though. I think it was because it became an occasion for distractions as I was constantly trying to puzzle over why this particular grace was associated with that particular mystery.
Now that I am back in the habit of daily Rosaries, I am trying once again to associate intentions with each decade. In order to stop my slightly obsessive distraction, I have been trying to tailor the intention to some particular issue of mine and thus ask more fervently and specifically for those graces (which I SURELY need!)
For example, the mystery of the Nativity in the Joyful Mysteries is associated with asking for the grace of "poverty of spirit" or as the second link above says:
Love of poverty and the grace to despise riches. Confidence in God.Well, this may sound a bit silly, but I am not used to being in a town where there are several thrift stores dotted around the community, and I love thrift stores. I have been getting into a habit of browsing through them and picking up this and that. Items of clothing, books and office supplies are my weaknesses. I may not spend much, but retail therapy even on a tiny scale can become a distraction from facing loneliness, sadness or worry honestly. So I can pray that God helps me rely on him alone rather than on things to fill the empty spaces.
The Mystery of the Finding in the Temple is associated with Piety. I've always sort of associated it with praying for my children and their vocations, but now I have some particular issues in mind that I am praying hard for.
You get the picture. Of course, then, there are also the Big Picture intentions with which I began the Miracle Novena. We are in the second half now, where we pray in gratitude for the answering of our prayers, so that reminds me not just to ask but also to meditate on all the ways God has answered my former prayers (or the prayers I was too clueless to actually make).
In case you are curious about the second pitfall St Louis Marie de Montfort mentions, here it is:
I guess my solution to that one is to pretend I am in a royal court and saying the Rosary along with the angels, who do not hurry because they have a LOT of time to praise their King and their Holy Queen.The second fault commonly committed in saying the Rosary is to have no intention other than that of getting it over with as quickly as possible. ....It is sad to see how most people say the Rosary. They say it astonishingly fast, slipping over part of the words. We could not possibly expect anyone, even the most important person, to think that a slipshod address of this kind was a compliment, and yet we imagine that Jesus and Mary will be honoured by it!
Another thing I sometimes think about is that it a common mistake for beginning weightlifters to pump up and down hurriedly. This loses the benefits of strength training and also risks injury. You are supposed to warm up, breathe, and use your full range of motion. In a similar way, the Rosary said in a rush can lose its value and even risk irreverence. If I am in a hurry, I am probably not taking time to remain in the Presence of God, breathe, and meditate.
I do forget and start rushing again, but I believe that as with distractions, it is the VOLUNTARY rushing that is the problem, not when you simply lose focus inadvertently or happen to be a fast talker naturally. In this way it is different from strength training because God sees our hearts.
Saying prayers for the intentions of all our blog readers! I have seen and heard about some wonderful answers to prayers recently.
Yours in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,