Attention in Prayer
It may be taken for granted as a rule that the chief benefit which we derive from any private prayer will be in proportion to the attention and fervor which we bring to it when saying it. Without attention to what we are saying or doing, our prayers are apt to become a mere mechanical, parrotlike prattle, and so, largely, if not totally, devoid of value and merit. In fact, even sin may be involved, if our distraction is willful.
Sustained attention to some prayers may be difficult, especially if they are long and often repeated. But this is hardly true of the Rosary, wherein is so much change and variety of thought in both the vocal and the mental prayers. Here the picture and the scene are constantly changing for us, and each one is so attractive and absorbing that we cannot take in its complete beauty and benefit before it is followed by another. And the prayers and mysteries are not repeated so often as to lose their objective freshness and interest.
Much, of course, will depend on our personal interest and liking. It is not hard or wearisome to fix our attention on what we like and in what we have a personal interest. For example, if we really love a person, we want to know all we can about that person—his or her country, place of birth, home, circumstances, youth, maturity, life, activities, fortune, and the rest. It is a matter of common experience that we never tire recalling and thinking of these things when there is question of those we really love.
All this should apply pre-eminently to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. This is why the Rosary and its mysteries should have an ever-fresh interest and attraction for us. Moreover, thoughts and knowledge about holy people, places, and things tend to excite in us holy feelings and sentiments, and these in turn tend to express themselves in external holy actions and deeds.
Spiritual Riches of the Rosary, pp. 11-12
Charles J. Callan, OP & John F. McConnell, MM