The rosary has 20 meditations in all. They are usually prayed in groupings of five. 5 Joyful mysteries, 5 Sorrowful mysteries, 5 Luminous mysteries, and 5 Glorious mysteries (Hence the 5 groups of ten beads on your rosary). The custom is to pray a different group of the mysteries on each day of the week. Joyful on Monday, Sorrowful on Tuesday etc. Some tips that help us stay engaged and focused during our meditation:
1. To begin by reading or reflecting on the relevant scripture passage.
2. Use a picture or image of the event if possible.
3. Interject a thought or recollection about the mystery that comes to mind at the midpoint of the Hail Mary prayer when we say the name of Jesus. We also have a custom of bowing our head slightly when we say the Name of Jesus.
Each “decade” or group of ten “Ave’s” (Ave Maria = Hail Mary) begins by naming and reflecting on one of the “mysteries” or events in the life of Christ. It can be read briefly from the bible. Then the Lord’s Prayer is said. All this can be done either out loud or just in your mind. Then the ten “Hail Mary” prayers are said, all the while reflecting on that same mystery. And by using a bead for each prayer, over time you can say the prayer while meditating on the different events without being distracted by counting or having to remember the words. This is why we say that we are contemplating the life of Jesus, with Mary. We are having a little conversation with her about Jesus because she was there and knows what he said and did. Try looking at the event and see Jesus from her perspective. Here is a little video that demonstrates how it’s done.
I made this at the St Cecilia convent of the Nashville Dominicans several years ago: https://vimeo.com/179040561
In the Easter Season we pray this Marian antiphon:
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy!
Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To Thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To Thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate
Thine eyes of mercy towards us
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae; vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.