In this America article from October 2017, Sean Salai SJ interviews Catholic theologian, speaker and author Edward Sri about his book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before, published by Servant Books for the Month of the Rosary (October) and the 100th anniversary of Fatima.
Edward Sri is professor of theology at the Augustine Institute, where he also hosts the film series Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained. A co-founder with Curtis Martin of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), he resides with his wife Elizabeth and their eight children in Littleton, Colo.
As you note in this book, the rosary is perhaps the most distinctive Roman Catholic prayer form, but it’s also one that many Catholics do rarely and find hard to get into. What makes it hard for people to pray the rosary?
We don’t talk enough about people’s struggles with the rosary. Many good people get so easily distracted during the rosary. They’re praying the first joyful mystery and get three beads into it when they start thinking about what’s for dinner, a problem at work, something someone said to them earlier that day… “Oh, wait! I’m supposed to be thinking about the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary!”
Others treat the rosary like a spiritual chore. They know it’s supposed to be good for them—like flossing your teeth—but their heart isn’t in it. Others are too intimidated to get started. In many people’s eyes, the rosary is the marathon of all Catholic devotions. “It takes way too long,” they say. “I’m too busy for that.” Having spoken to thousands of people—laity, religious, priests, bishops—about the rosary, I think everyone faces these kinds of struggles. What can we do to help them?
What are some tips you offer in the book to help people pray the rosary regularly in a more meaningful way?
Let’s take that last point about being “too busy.” One thing I like to tell people is that you don’t have to pray the rosary all at once. While it’s beautiful to pray a whole set of mysteries in one sitting, you also can break it up and pray parts at different times throughout the day and fit it into your ordinary routines. You can pray, for example, one decade in your car on the way to work. Another at lunch break. Another in between meetings. Another on the drive home and one before going to bed. That’s how many good people like Pope Benedict XVI prayed the rosary: doing just a couple decades at a time. In this way, all of us could work in a few decades amid the hectic schedule we keep.
Even if you are still unsure you could pray a whole set of mysteries with your busy life, here’s an easy way to start. Do you have two and a half minutes each day that you can give to God? That’s all one decade takes. Just start by praying one decade a day. Our Lady will rejoice and our Lord will bless you abundantly for this small, beautiful gift.
To continue reading this interview, click here.
Sean Salai, S.J., is a special contributor to America.
With thanks to America Magazine and Sean Salai SJ, where this article originally appeared.