There is no ‘should’
The first thing to realise is that there is no ‘should’. You don’t have to pray the Rosary at all. The holy Catholic and apostolic Church gives no obligation to Catholics to do this.
So you can pray no rosaries you’re entire Catholic life, and still be a good Catholic, and still become holy, and still go straight to heaven when you die, and still get canonised.
If the Rosary were essential to becoming a saint, the Church would command us to pray it. But she doesn’t.
A Recommended Practice
That said, the Rosary has been used by many, many saints, and it has played a critical role in turning Catholics into saints.
So it’s one of those extremely powerful ways to become a saint. Like St John XIII said: ‘The Rosary is a school in which true Christian perfection is learned.’
Some saints have even claimed the Rosary is the greatest of all prayers, and that no-one can be lost who prays it regularly.
Mary tells us in her promises that those who are devoted to the Rosary will attain a high degree of glory in heaven, see here.
So, even though you don’t have to pray the Rosary, it is a very good idea to at least consider praying it.
But you don’t have to.
How often is it a good idea to pray the Rosary?
I would suggest everyday.
That tends to be the recommended answer from the saints and from the appearances of the holy Virgin, such as at Fatima. In recent times, when Mary has appeared to Catholics, she often tells them to pray the Rosary everyday.
If you want to pray the Rosary everyday, I have a post that can help you with that, click here.
That doesn’t mean we have to do this. Really, it’s completely up to you how often you choose to pray the most holy Rosary, if at all.
It’s certainly a good idea to pray it daily, just 5 decades, one set of mysteries. This way, your spiritual life is remaining stable and consistent, and consistency is the key to heaven.
It’s an even better idea to pray the entire Rosary daily, that is, all 15 mysteries (or 20, if you are including the Luminous mysteries). This is an exceptional way to grow very fast in holiness, wisdom and grace.
But the best answer to this question is: as often as you feel is best for your spiritual life. As often as you feel God is calling you to do it.
I heard one priest say during his homily that the Rosary was something he stepped in and out of during his life. Sometimes he prays it, and other times he doesn’t.
This is absolutely fine. In fact, it’s better than fine. That priest was merely being consistent with who God made him to be. God had not called him to pray the Rosary daily, and that priest had realised this and wasn’t trying to ‘force’ or ‘pretend’ anything. He was just trying to be natural, consistent with himself and who he is.
This is one of the great secrets to becoming a saint: to be comfortable with who you are, to be natural to who you are in Christ, and not to try to be someone you aren’t.
Confraternity of the Rosary
You may also be very interested to hear that there is a Confraternity of the Rosary.
There is merely one obligation for joining: that you choose to pray the 15 mysteries throughout the course of a week. 3 Rosaries every week.
Yep, that’s all that’s required. Super easy. That’s one Rosary of 5 decades over the course of 2-3 days.
And if you fail to meet this obligation, you have not sinned at all. This is not an obligation on pain of sin.
And by choosing to commit to this, you get loads of indulgences, including plenary ones.
And you get the prayers and spiritual fellowship of the Dominican Order all over the world.
And you get the prayers of all the members of the Confraternity all over the world.
And when you die, the Confraternity continues to pray for your soul.
So that’s as close an ‘official’ answer as you’re ever likely to get: if you do commit to praying the Rosary, the minimal ‘requirement’ (we use this word lightly) is at least one Rosary every 2 or 3 days, or all 15 mysteries in one week.
Not very much, is it?
Of course, the more you do, the more you step into the blessings of this Confraternity and the more you will experience Mary in your life.
Mary tells us that the more devoted we are to her Rosary, the more devoted she will be to us. You can see this here in this link.
So, my best advice here is still: pray the Rosary as much as you wish, as often as you feel you need to.
Be consistent with yourself and who God made you to be.
The Church offers much besides the Rosary
Let us not forget that the Church offers many other paths of devotion.
For instance, an extremely good practice would be the path of reciting the Divine Office daily, even if it be just the Morning and Evening prayers. You can find these prayers here.
If I wasn’t so devoted to the most holy Rosary, this would be my spiritual devotion. It’s packed full of Scripture and I just love the way the prayers are broken down.
As it happens, and I wasn’t in control of this, Mary chose another path for me. My path was full consecration to Mary and the daily recitation of her entire Rosary, all 15 mysteries.
I didn’t ask for this, nor did I expect it. It’s just what ended up happening in God’s wonderful providence and love to me a sinner.
Give your devotions to God and see what he does
So it’s really important to let God guide you in your spiritual devotions. Your path to holiness may turn out to be something you never, ever expected.
I never, ever expected to become a Catholic! Not in a million years. Never did the thought once enter my mind whilst I was a Protestant. But God had other plans.
Never did I expect to be so in love with and in close communion with Mary, my Mother. But God chose this path for me. I didn’t choose it.
Offer God your devotional and spiritual life. Say: ‘Lord, I give you my devotional life and ask you to do with it as you please. I’m open. Lead me where you want, to practice the devotions best for me. And give me the grace to carry them out.’
I’m interested to hear what God does as a result! Please let me know, if possible, in the comments or via my email (see About Matthew page).
And of course, if you want to get hold of a Rosary, I always recommend these lovely ones.
God bless you greatly, in Christ, through Mary immaculate.