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Struggle with the Rosary: Can You Help me?

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Difficulties, Fr. Bartunek, Mary, Prayer, Rosary, Videos

Struggle with the Rosary — How to Overcome It

Our Lady of Fatima and the Rosary

Editor’s Note: The Rosary is Our Blessed Mother’s powerful armament against evil. That’s why the devil hates it so much. When Our Lady of Fatima first appeared to the three children in Portugal, she told them to pray the rosary. In all her subsequent visits to them, the one thing she said to them every single time they saw her was “Pray the rosary.” Some are doing that, others are not. Perhaps you, or someone you know, struggles with this beautiful Marian devotion. If the rosary is not currently part of your daily prayer routine, we hope this video will help inspire you to take up this formidable weapon of prayer and meditation.

Oh yes, one more thing: at the end of the video, Dan references, our old address years ago. That has, of course, been replaced by, our current address.

Struggle with the Rosary? Can you help me?

Fr. John Bartunek and Dan Burke talk about struggles with prayers, specifically why some struggle with the rosary and how to overcome these struggles.

Father John Bartunek and Dan Burke discuss the rosary and how it comes from a devotion to the Blessed Mother.  Father John talks about the three aspects of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her role in our lives.  God chose Mary to bring Jesus into this world.  And so, she has a role because God wants it that way.  Father John explains the role Mary has and what growth in holiness is about.  They examine Mary's example, her presence in our lives and her intercession.  From these things Father explains how the rosary makes sense.  And, he offers an excellent image of what the rosary is.


Art for this post on Our Lady of Fatima and the Rosary: Our Lady of Fatima, Charles Bosseron Chambers, undated, Restored Traditions, used with permission. Video used with permission.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Dan, thank you so much for this discussion on the rosary. I just love the way Fr. explains it and how he puts it into such easy language to help us understand the power of the rosary.I just recently read a very beautiful  article by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, very well known throughout the church and chief Exorcist of the Vatican who also wrote about the powers of the Rosary.  I am so pleased that our priests are starting to speak more on the power of the roasry. The Blessed Mother is always telling us to pray for our priests. Definitely, the Lord is at work, working in union with Our Blessed Mother and the priests are playing a big role in bringing the goods news to us. God Bless you Dan and Fr.

    • $1650412

      To echo what Irishlass says here, I read Fr. Amorth’s book, Interview with an Exorcist and the first thing he mentions in any list of spiritual practices to keep the devil at bay, is praying the rosary! Great video! Thanks Dan!

  • AntonioM

    Thank you for the video. Our family has found also enriching the 
    ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE  Apostolic Letter that Blessed John Paul II wrote in 2002.  ( .. God bless,

  • ThirstforTruth

    There are two excellent books that have helped me with the Rosary. One is written
    by Fr Benedict Groeschel, THE ROSARY: Chain of Hope, with meditations on the mysteries of the rosary, including the Luminous decade given to us by Blessed Pope John Paul II, as well as 20 Renaissance paintings. Another is THE ROSARY IN TIME AND SPACE, written by Ruth Rees where the author says through prayer we transcend our own time and space and enter a new dimension that unites us with God. In the book she brings us into the time of Jesus and Mary on earth, giving us details of daily life in a Jewish family, helping us to form the basis of meditating on the mysteries. It is truly a delightful read and will help you as you meditate and comtemplate the life of Christ when he was here on earth and as He and Mary are now, in Heaven for all eternity. There is included also a forward written by the Jesuit Brother Guy Consomagno, connected with the Vatican Observatory. Finally, Romano Guardini has these words to say in his book, THE ROSARY OF OUR LADY: ..”the rosary has the character of a sojourn. Its essence is the sheltering security of a quiet holy world that envelopes the person who is praying…” .
    There are many inspirational books written on and about the rosary but these are afew of my favorites including one on the relatively new Luminous mysteries written by Tim Gray, familiar to EWTN audiences. You can also pray the rosary daily at EWTN with either the Sisters and Mother Angelica, or with Father Mitch Pacwa as he takes you to the various sites in the Holy Land where Christ was born, raised by Mary and Joseph, and completed His public ministry.

  • LizEst

    Beautiful! I love the image of sitting on Mary’s lap looking at the family album. Thank you.

  • Charlie Brown

    The Rosary compliments my prayer life and provides a feeling of deep love and peace. Charlie Brown

  • Sandy Gascoyne

    I don’t struggle with the things in the video, although I absolutely
    love the video, but I struggle with distraction. I know this must be a powerful
    prayer because it seems to be the only time I am tempted to abandon prayer, a
    true sign of its power.

    Praying it in my 20-30ies, though never to my satisfaction, I
    stopped when I stopped exercising; although I didn’t know it, it most likely
    brought me through those years. Praying it now again, I still have the same
    issues I had then, and this time I decided to pray it in complete peace without
    exercising. I still can’t focus, and just get angry with myself and feel the
    need to start over and over again, never satisfied in the end. I will continue
    to pray it though, and try not to be so excessive compulsive.

    I want to make it an everyday family prayer as well, but
    don’t want to force it on the family. Maybe once it becomes a conviction of the
    entire family to pray it daily and to commit ourselves to it through good times
    and bad, the devil will flee and we’ll really be able to contemplate without

    The beauty of that happening came once for me, so I know it
    is possible to deeply enter into the mysteries of the rosary. Is it too much to
    ask for that to happen every time? When it doesn’t, it is so easy to give up.
    This prayer is like the testing of Abraham for me, the forming of a covenant. It
    was a gift from God when that deep contemplation came so easily, and I hope He
    offers that gift again! It is difficult to stay on course when you have experienced
    something so beautiful and it doesn’t always happen that way. It feels as
    though my rosary is for nothing when it is not as peaceful and contemplative as
    I would like it to be, but this is selfish, I know. Am I praying it for myself
    or for the world? Do I believe my prayer works even though I don’t feel the
    connection I would like? Have mercy on my selfish ignorance, will my wants and needs
    ever balance my praise? Praise is all that is due! I am a little child
    expecting all from my parents, but not saying thank you in return. Perseverance
    is a perpetual work of art, may my rosary be as well!

    • Becky Ward


      From your comment – “The beauty of that happening came once for me, so I know itis possible to deeply enter into the mysteries of the rosary. Is it too much toask for that to happen every time?”

      It’s human to want that consolation every time…but God knows that if we DO receive gifts like this (all the time) at the beginning of our journey…we may not want to move forward in our relationship with Him. There is danger then in our prayer being done for the consolations, or gifts that God gives us, rather than because we love Him and want to know Him better.

      The spiritual masters all tell us that God is closest to us when He seems far away or absent. Your “nothing” rosary is likely more fruitful than the one(s) you are attached to.

      • Sandy Gascoyne

        This is good encouragement, thanks for your response.

        Do you know how to get the children involved in the daily rosary
        without forcing it on them? Maybe I’m being too nice and should just make it a
        mandatory thing and let God do the work from there??? It is so difficult to
        make them when you know they don’t really want to. My biggest fear is they
        abandon later because they were made to recite when young, but I think this
        line of thinking may be silly when I relate it to things I was forced to do
        when I was young. I haven’t abandoned mass.

        • LizEst

          Sandy – You are right not to force it. The best way to lead is by example.

          As to how to get the children involved, here is an idea. I read someplace that one starts with the Advent wreath. Children love candles. So, slowly incorporating the Advent candles with a mystery of the rosary has been successful for a number of people. After Advent is over, have some candles in front of your manger scene at home. Have the child that lights the candle, lead the Hail Marys of that decade of the rosary. Maybe say just one decade as a family. After the Christmas season is over continue lighting candles for each decade of the rosary. Just keep going with the candles all year long. After a while, it will be a natural part of the recitation of the rosary.

        • Becky Ward

          Know that fear is not of God….so who do you think is whispering these (lies) in your ear? 🙂

          Liz has some good ideas below. Your own example and devotion will speak louder than anything else to your children. Especially if you talk about God and Mary in the course of the day. Let them hear you asking for help with particular tasks and giving thanks when things turn out well.

          Here’s a link to another post on this site that is coming to mind as I write to you:

          While all the advice is good, look for a looooong post by Jo Flemmings – it has some of the best advice I have seen on this site about being a Catholic Mom.

          God Bless You!

          • Sandy Gascoyne

            You are right, this is good 🙂 God bless you and yours!

        • All you need to do to get the children  join you to pray the Rosary, Sandy, is to have a fixed time when you pray and keep to it.  They will eventually – on their own volition through the promptings of the Holy Spirit join you. And remember….”we do not know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit comes in to help us….” that was said somewhere in the Epistles

  • judeen

    one can not say mary with out talking about Jesus…

  • LeonieM

    I have found the Rosary to be a very powerful prayer in my life. I have a condition that includes great difficulty with focus. Sometimes I would say the Rosary only to realize a few decades had gone by. It was very tempting to give up, to think that I was “wasting my time and God’s.” But I have come to the conclusion, probably by the Holy Spirit, that, while I may never be able to focus on the Rosary like many others, God and Mary know that I give this time to prayer regardless. I don’t feel a need to repeat decades. God knows I do the best I can.

    • LizEst

      Good for you, Leonie! The devil would like you to believe that you need to repeat the decades. You are doing the right thing. Do the best you can and let God do the rest! God bless you.

      • LeonieM

         Thank you so much, LizEst. Your caring for others comes through on your posts, and you embody the compassion,support and hope we can give to others.

        • LizEst

          You’re welcome. You are most kind, Leonie. All the glory goes to the Lord, from whom all good things come.

          • LeonieM

             So true. God bless you.

    • Becky Ward

      I heard a talk by a very holy priest in reference to women in religious life – something close to this:  If you walk into the church and see all the sisters there…..and it looks like they are all so devoted and full of peace…..“Don’t you believe it!! He said! They are fighting off all the distractions the devil can throw at them!

      I remember this often when I have trouble focusing. 🙂

      • LeonieM

         Thank you for sharing this, Becky. I will try to remember this. It is very helpful to know.

  • A beautiful and so illuminative Video.  Thank you, Father John and Dan. Now reading the responses of our “Family Members” I feel really old-fashioned and ignorant… I have said before, being an Intellectual Midget is a handicap……..yet, never wishing for, or ever expecting any surprises from God, mine is the old Cradle Catholic blind Faith…..once I embark on prayer, not just the Rosary but all Prayers, I leave everything to the guidance of the Holy Spirit

  • $1650412

    I want to make the rosary a daily discipline, but I struggle with it too! I am wondering, does anyone here have any testimonies or experiences with the 54 day rosary novena? 

    • talby

      Hi Jo,
      Yes… the 54 day novena is miraculous! I learned about this novena about 2 years ago and have prayed it twice. Once for a friend and once for personal petition and I know that Our Lady continues her intercessory grace on those petitions! This novena rekindled my love of the Rosary and is something I treasure.  I am planning on beginning the novena again for Lent.  In the beginning, it was a challenge to stay on track, but even on days when I had a hard time concentrating and staying connected, I pushed through. It takes a little longer to pray with deeper meditations on each decade but so incredibly powerful. You will be moved. Your prayers will be answered (and possibly not in the way you anticipated…total blessing!).

      Our Lady loves us so much and the Rosary is a gift from her heart to ours.

      God Bless,

  • Patty1991

    I’d like to share an insight that helped me with the rosary. I was told that the best way to pray the rosary is to picture the Blessed Mother asking us to remember alongside her all the sacred moments in Her life with Christ. In other words, to let her draw us in at the beginning of a conversation. For example, Mary would be sitting next to us saying…..”do you remember when I was praying in my room and the magnificent angel appeared to me with a message?” “I only prayed to be a servant girl to the Chosen One,…”

    “Do you remember when I saw Our Lord after He was scouraged, and how I gasped because His beauty was so marred that I hardly recognized Him…” 

  • LizEst

    I was so graced to see a guy a few years younger than me praying the rosary after Mass today. He was using his First Communion rosary! What a beautiful blessing!

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