Rosary Hack: The Importance of Breathing

Zoom! That’s what many of us do now right? Zoom through everything? After all, we have to make every second count. Why waste time reading the full book when you can listen to the condensed audio version at 3x speed? Why watch a series over the course of months when you can binge watch it in a weekend? Waiting in line at the market for a few minutes? Might as well pull out the smartphone to read a few posts.

Everything in our lives seems to revolve around processing as much information and entertainment as quickly as possible. And who can blame us? There is a lot of information to take in. We live in an age where the entire history of human knowledge is available at our fingertips 24 hours a day. And new discoveries and media content are produced faster than we can possibly consume it. So we implement all these life hacks to just try to keep up.

This mindset of racing through information can also creep into our spiritual life. We may explore what hack can we apply to finish Rosary prayer in 15 minutes instead of 30 and still get all its benefits. To channel my inner Han Solo from The Force Awakens, that’s not how the Rosary works! There isn’t any way to hack the Rosary to race through it and still receive its many benefits. In fact, just the opposite is true. Any Rosary hack is intended to slow it down to receive maximum benefit. At its core, the Rosary is a meditative prayer. You can’t speed up meditation.

That's not how the force works  | THAT'S NOT HOW THE ROSARY WORKS | image tagged in that's not how the force works | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

In an article on Catholic Exchange titled Interceding for Others by Praying the Rosary, Father Edward Looney talks about a great Rosary hack to make it a more meditative experience — praying a Rosary litany. A litany is the practice of inserting a small phrase or intention after you say the fruit of thy womb Jesus in the Hail Mary. A litany was a practice proposed by Saint Louis de Montfort, an authority on the practicalities of Rosary prayer. It helps keep us focused on the mysteries by breaking us out of the autopilot mode we can sometimes get into when we repeat the same phrase. Fr. Looney goes on to suggest many different intentions we can offer up to God while praying the Rosary. Of course, I’ve written entire books with that very purpose — to provide intentions and prayers for those who pray the Rosary.

I like the idea of a Rosary litany as a means of slowing down Rosary prayer. If you don’t have a litany, here’s another hack you can employ– pause and take a deep breath after saying the fruit of thy womb Jesus. We so often forget that the Hail Mary is two sentences (angelic salutation and call for intercession) and tend to just merge them together. By taking a pause, even a small one, it helps us remain focused on the prayer.

Why is the pause so important and helps increase the value of Rosary prayer? Like knocking over a domino, it starts a chain reaction of events that deepens our relationship with Jesus. Let’s look at the chain of events that follow a pause.

  • You pause because you know you shouldn’t rush through Rosary prayers.
  • You remember that you shouldn’t rush Rosary prayers because the Rosary is a meditative prayer.
  • What do you meditate on? The life and teachings of Jesus Christ and ask Mary to intercede for us.
  • Why is the life of Jesus so important? Oh yeah! He is God made Man who came into this world so that we can have a closer relationship with Him.
  • How do we forge a closer relationship with Jesus? By knowing and following His teachings reflected in the Rosary.

That whole chain of contemplation and meditation stems from taking one small breath. Now that’s what I consider a great prayer hack!