|Kids are actually pretty good at it, if you give them a chance.|
Does a Catholic have to take active part in the Rosary? Can it be that a rosary is being said and he is not reciting the prayers?
I think it depends on why you aren't participating. Some people are intimidated by the rosary, and this is understandable. When you pray it with a group of people, you never know what special prayers are going to be added by the group. If you don't have a rosary with you then you might worry about being able to follow along. You might worry about being asked to lead it. I think if a person is new to the rosary or still trying to get comfortable with it, then it's okay for that person to sit and listen until he is ready to participate.
Some people don't participate because they would rather be doing other things. For example, sometimes parents bring their children to a rosary group and the children are there begrudgingly. If they don't want to pray it, I think that's ok. They should definitely respect the other people who are praying by not being a distraction. But, they should not be forced to pray. If you force children to pray the rosary then they will only come to resent it. Of course, when a child would rather be doing something else, it is more excusable. We understand that their attention spans are short and they are easily distracted. But, when it is an adult then I think more is required.
Married couples confront this. Sometimes, the wife wants to pray with her husband, but he simply doesn't want to. He's not in the mood. He's tired. He'd rather watch what's on TV. In times like this, it's important to buck up and pray anyway. Prayer is always a good thing to do, and always better than what you'd rather be doing. Give it a chance. I don’t know anyone who ever regretted praying.
Others are caught not praying the rosary because their mind wondered or they lost their place or got distracted in some way. That's ok, it happens. But, you should fight the temptation to just give up on the rosary the moment you lose your concentration. I think the devil tempts us to abandon prayer by saying, "Oh, you messed up. Looks like you're hosed. Better give it a rest." The best thing to do is to banish that, refocus, and carry on.
Finally, some people will sit in on a rosary group but not actively pray the prayers with the group because they use the voices of the group as a way to enter into inner-peace and quiet and bring to God what’s on their heart. I think this is ok too. But, I would also reject the notion that one cannot meditate while he prays the rosary. Once you get really good at it, then it’s possible to pray the prayers and meditate on the mysteries of the rosary at the same time. This is when the rosary really becomes a powerful source of peace and consolation.
For more on the rosary and other sacramentals, see the following blog posts:
- Debate with "Turretinfan" on Holy Water and Commentary on the Debate
- "May the Force Be With You": On Wearing Scapulars and Burying Statues
- Stations of the Cross: Liturgy and Information
- Why Do Some People Kiss Their Thumb After Making the Sign of the Cross?
- Is the Divine Mercy Chaplet a Cop-Out?
- Children and Sacramentals
- Is the Scapular Just Another Catholic Superstition?
- Is the Rosary "Vain Repetition"? (on Mt 6:7)
- What Is the Divine Mercy? How Can We Honor It?