Let us not fool ourselves. The praying of the holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary is really the hardest prayer to pray for not only the words of it were one and the same, it is also far more different to other prayers who have "variety of words and expressions which keeps us alert, prevents our imagination from wandering, and so makes it easier for us to say them well." - The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort.
Now, let me share you a subjective, biased discovery and experience of mine while praying the holy Rosary (yes, subjective and biased for it's my personal experience and I do not want to impose this method to anyone. But you can do it also, if it is effective and fitting for you. But if not, pray that God, with the help of Mama Mary, show the most effective way of praying it).
Listening! Listening is the key in order to fight distractions and to still our lurking imagination when praying the holy Rosary!
What do I mean by this?
An inspiration (insight while praying) came into my mind that it is listening. And a thought also added in me : "How can you become a good spiritual director if you are not good in listening?"
Whoa! That's it! It is listening! In order for me to enjoy more fully and attentively the holy Rosary I must listen!
This is what I discovered also.
When I started to pray, I started with the sign of the cross, then next is the Rosary Confraternity prayer (which our "opening" prayer as members of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary), then next is what I want or desire to pray for (what we call "petitions"), and then I will begin the holy Rosary proper : kissing the crucifix then making the sign of the cross, then the Creed (Apostle's, sometimes Nicene), then as usual, passing the beads in my thumb and index finger with respect to the bead's corresponding prayer.
Then I listen to the words I pray - by the way, it starts on the beginning of your praying of course. I reiterate! It is listening! Listen to the words you say for those words are the Word of God and it's Jesus Christ Himself! The Word who became flesh!
The Our Father or the Lord's prayer came from Jesus Christ's own mouth. The Hail Mary or the Angelic Salutation came also from God and the messenger is just St. Gabriel. Savor every words of the holy Rosary. Savor it by listening! Just listen! And savor the words!
Now, listening and imagination must go hand in hand here. It is important to meditate (think over) about the sacred mysteries of the holy Rosary. As you listen to the Hail Mary's, imagine the sacred mysteries by, of course, your mind. My imagination has a very important role when praying. Here, I exercise the command of our Lord. "Love God...with all your mind."
The listening and imagining must get along with each other, making a harmonious exaltation of both mind and heart. The words are for listening, while the sacred mysteries are the word's soul and meaning.
While saying the Hail Mary, listen to the words. Then at the background, let the sacred events pass or play in your mind. Pay attention to everything - savor everything. Make an exercise now!
The holy Rosary is the second highest prayer next to the Holy Mass and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament of our Lord. Please remember that.
So the elements present in praying the holy Rosary are the following :
May you love the holy Rosary everyday just like me.
Go and set the world on fire!
Mary H. Distributist