Many Catholics pray the Rosary every day. This is very good. They are meditating on the holy Mysteries. What I don't really get is the ten Hail Marys. I am not saying that it's vain repetition. That's not even an issue for me at all. This kind of repetition is very good according to me. I am only thinking about the purpose of the ten Hail Marys.

I myself have tried to pray the Rosary (and the Angelus) and always focused on the words of the Hail Mary and how it relates to the mysteries. The thing is: many people say that you should not even focus on the ten Hail Marys. It's hard to say prayers and trying not to focus on them. I am confused. There are books with added words to the Hail Marys which allow you to focus on the words of the prayer. It can take some time to learn how to say prayers and never focusing on them. THe Rosary can be difficult for a beginner. All kinds of prayer have things that make them difficult for beginners. The Rosary is bassically Lectio Divina with some added prayers.

What is the purpose of the ten Hail Marys in the Rosary if you should not focus on them?

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    Just because ”many people say that you should not even focus on the ten Hail Marys. It's hard to say prayers and trying not to focus on them’ does not mean you can not!
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


What is the purpose of the ten Hail Marys in the Rosary if you should not focus on them?

The basics of your question can be answered here: How to pray and meditate while saying the rosary?

Knowing that some people may have a short attention span, the meditation on the Most Holy Rosary in ten Ave Marias intervals keeps our time frame to just about 15 minutes each time we pray the rosary. This may vary according to the language employed and the speed in which one recites a particular mystery one is contemplating.

Another point is that it means a great way to consecrate about 1% of our day to prayer and meditation. The can help up also help us pass the time in a waiting room, when we know we have just over 15 minutes to kill (pardoning the expression).

Pondering the actual meaning of the words one is pronouncing as one prays the rosary, is a fine way to say the rosary, especially for novices getting into the practice. As one gets more comfortable in this practice, other ways of meditation while saying the rosary will open up.

To put it simply: Reciting 10 Hail Marys gives us a time frame to help meditate on a Sacred Mystery for some 15 minutes of the day!

A second manner of praying the Rosary is to meditate in one certain biblical passages associated with the particular mystery one is reciting. This is called a scriptural rosary.

As one recites a Hail Mary one meditates on the word of God revealed in Sacred Scripture.

A third way to meditate the Mysteries is definitely the the most profound and in-depth manner to do. The soul that is accustomed to pray and meditation delves into the rosary mysteries by placing himself into the mystery contemplated and getting totally absorbed into the sacred realities being pondered. Some (very few) find this way of meditation as being a sort of second nature!

Some Jesuits like to put this in the sense that we try to place ourself at the very scene that we are contemplating and in a sense become a participant in the mystery we are meditating.

I like to think of this as making myself a fly on the wall and watching the the Mysteries of the rosary unfold before me.

Sorry for the lack of more Catholic references, but if I find anything of value I will edit it in.

As a side note, one can obtain CDs of praying the rosary with the pope. They are great for praying the rosary in a car when it is good to have your hands free for driving and not worrying about counting.

  • If the goal is to not focus on the ten Hail Marys then why not just practise Lectio Divina (then you won't even have this issue at all)? I am confused. Why add a difficulty?
    – user51926
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 8:33
  • @andrewjohnsson It is a Marian Devotion. As such, one is free to do that.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 15:50

What is the purpose of the ten Hail Marys in the Rosary if you should not focus on them?

To give light on your question, let us first see the definition of prayer.

In the Catholic Church, prayer is "the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."[1] It is an act of the moral virtue of religion, which Catholic theologians identify as a part of the cardinal virtue of justice.[2]

Prayer may be expressed vocally or mentally. Vocal prayer may be spoken or sung. Mental prayer can be either meditation or contemplation. The basic forms of prayer are adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication, abbreviated as A.C.T.S. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_in_the_Catholic_Church#:~:text=In%20the%20Catholic%20Church%2C%20prayer,be%20expressed%20vocally%20or%20mentally.

We can see that there are two expression of prayer vocally or mentally. The key here is the word "expression". Some say their prayers without zeal and some expressed it more piously as if they feel the presence of God in their midst and they must show reverence and adoration to God. But arriving at this stage of prayer is not easy.

Going back to rosary, the Pope known us Totus Tuus defined praying the rosary as "contemplating the Face of Christ in the eyes of His Mother". If we want to contemplate the Face of Christ, we can do it much better with the help of His Mother who knew Jesus Christ from womb to tomb.

Prayer is like a conversation to God, it is not a monologue. But, it's hard to listen or hear the voice of God, and often times, we never practice listening to God after we say a prayer and after we said our prayer intentions. But, God as a loving Father looks at each one of us like a child growing up. We may not be conversant at first, and we might have difficulty saying things to God, but that's ok.

It's the same thing with the rosary. Our Lady like the loving and merciful Father will stoop down to our level in order to help us know Jesus Christ, She is our Mother too, and like all Mothers they know how to best teach and approach the different temparament of her children.

Praying the rosary even if you were not able to focus or expressed it piously is a good start, and the most important thing is, Satan can no longer claimed that you are his offspring.

We only have two choices in our Christian journey, either we belong to the Woman as her offspring or to the Old Serpent as his offspring. Genesis3:15.

Since one, is starting or making an effort to pray the rosary, it means that they acknowledge Mary the chosen Woman as their Mother, heeding the call of Jesus to Behold His Mother at the Foot of the Cross.

In closing, the benefits of praying the rosary even if one is finding it hard to focus on them, is the powerful words of the late Fr.Gabrielle Amort, the Chief Exorcist of Rome, that says;

"Anyone who goes to Mary and pray the rosary cannot be touch by Satan."

  • In vocal prayer the goal is that you should not focus on the words at all? Like when you recite or chant Psalm 50 (51)? I always focus on the words but maybe this is wrong?
    – user51926
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 8:35
  • We advance on prayer not by our own effort alone, we are always assisted by the Holy Spirit. It takes time to know the power of praying the rosary and how to pray it powerfully. I highly recommend to read St.Montfort books on the rosary for you to advance in prayer and experience the meditation & contemplation. God bless. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 23:16

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