The Rosary is one of the most popular prayers for Catholics, and saints for centuries have experienced the many benefits that come from its frequent recitation. But sometimes when praying the Rosary, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. Do I focus on the prayers themselves — most frequently the words of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be? Do I focus on asking God to hear the intention that I have entrusted to Mary through the Rosary? Do I focus on the mysteries themselves — and if so, the Scripture passages that relate to them or their individual fruits?
As long as our hearts are focused on Jesus while praying the Rosary, there really is no wrong answer. But still, knowing exactly where to dedicate our attention can make our time in prayer more fruitful.
So building on St. Louis de Montfort’s fruits of the Rosary, and with some help from OSV’s recent publication “Why the Rosary, Why Now?,” edited by Gretchen R. Crowe, OSV Newsweekly editor-in-chief, the following examination of conscience on the Rosary offers a helpful focal point for prayer.
(Prayed on Mondays and Saturdays)
Humility. Lord, help me to be selfless as you were.
◗ When do I let my pride control my actions?
◗ Do I talk more than I listen?
Love of neighbor. Lord, help us love one another as you have loved us.
◗ Do I go out of my way to be friendly and kind, even to strangers, or am I consumed in my own world?
◗ Do I look for opportunities to care for others?
Love of poverty and of the poor. Lord, help me care for the “least of these.”
◗ Have I donated any time, talent or treasure lately to helping those in need?
◗ Do I acknowledge the dignity of the homeless on the street by looking them in the eye and saying hello, or do I look the other way?
Wisdom and purity of heart and body. Lord, give me a clean heart.
◗ Do I avoid temptations of pornographic material and other media that objectify or denigrate human beings?
◗ Do I open my heart to the Church’s teachings on chastity and contraception?
The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
Conversion of sinners, piety. Lord, bring me closer to you.
◗ Do I regularly ask Jesus for a conversion of heart so that I may be more like him?
◗ How can I pray more often?
(Prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays)
For a lively faith. Lord, let all the nations proclaim you!
◗ Do I praise the Lord every day?
◗ Do I reach out to share the Faith with others?
For a firm hope and a great longing for heaven. Jesus, I trust in you.
◗ Do I strive every day to grow in virtue that I may one day be with God for all eternity in heaven?
◗ Am I a person of hope or despair?
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
For holy wisdom that we may know, taste, practice and share. Come, Holy Spirit.
◗ Do I judge others irrationally instead of treat them with mercy?
◗ What is a teaching of the Church that is challenging to me? How can I learn more about it?
The Assumption of Mary
For the gift of true devotion to her in order to live a good life and have a happy death. Lord, help me to love like you.
◗ Do I pray the Rosary often?
◗ Do I look to Mary as the model Christian, patterning my life after hers?
The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
For perseverance and an increase in virtue up to the moment of our death and thereafter the eternal crown that is prepared for us. God, we thank you for the example of our mother, Mary.
◗ Do I give praise to the Holy Trinity or do I honor instead the things of this world?
◗ Do I pray often enough for the sick, the dying and the dead?
(Prayed on Thursdays)
The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
For obedience and vocation. Lord, illuminate your will for me in my life.
◗ Is seeking the Lord’s will my delight and my joy?
◗ Am I continuously discerning where God is calling me in life?
The Wedding Feast at Cana
For a manifestation of God in the world through our actions, particularly in marriage and family life. Lord, protect the family.
◗ How can my marriage and/or family life become more Christ-centered?
◗ How can I teach others about the beauty of authentic family life?
The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
For an evangelistic spirit. Lord, help me to bring others to you.
◗ How can I better proclaim the Kingdom to others?
◗ How can I help in my parish’s mission of evangelization?
The Transfiguration of Jesus
For ongoing conversion to Christ. Transfigure me, Lord.
◗ Am I constantly learning more about my faith, or have I grown stagnant?
◗ How can I continue to develop my prayer life?
The Institution of the Eucharist
For a deeper love of and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Lord, help me love you better.
◗ Could I carve out time in my schedule to attend daily Mass once a week, or more?
◗ When I pray, do I only ask for what I need?
(Prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays)
The Agony in the Garden
Conformity to God’s will. Lord, not as I will, but as you will for me.
◗ Do I ask God to lead me where he wants me to go, or do I spend my time telling him what I want instead?
◗ When faced with difficulties in life, do I give into frustration and anger, or do I offer God a grateful, obedient heart?
The Scourging at the Pillar
Grace to mortify our senses (purity). Purify my heart, Lord.
◗ Do I desire only what is good, true and beautiful?
◗ Do my actions reflect my faith?
The Crowning with Thorns
Deep contempt of the world. Lord, help me stay focused on you.
◗ Do I let my life be informed by my faith or by the culture?
◗ Do I set aside technology and other forms of media in order to focus more on Christ?
The Carrying of the Cross
Patience in carrying our cross. Lord, help me persevere during times of trial.
◗ When faced with challenges in life, do I give into frustration or do I strive to live with joy?
◗ Do I embrace the crosses given to me in life, or do I wish them away instead?
Great horror of sin, love of the cross, grace for a holy death. Lord, give me the grace of your peace in my final moments.
◗ Do I understand what it means to sin and strive to avoid it in my life?
◗ Do I give thanks for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and attempt to align myself ever more with him?