Catholic Phoenix


Coffee with Mary: The Rosary as A Welcome Element in the Morning Routine

The Morning Brew: It Sometimes Goes Well with Morning Prayer

Is it difficult for you to find the time to pray? I know it's hard for me to find—or make—the time to pray. If you're like me, you have a schedule that's jam-packed and that leaves you exhausted at the end of the day.

You know that spending at least a few minutes in prayer each day is vital. Why? Because you realize that communicating with God, recalling His Truth, and listening to His Word is at the heart of the spiritual life, which is a life more real than much of what is on our schedules and daily agendas and plans for the weekend. We know prayer's important, yet it's still difficult to carve out time for it each day.

What's worse: I find that I often make it more difficult by waiting for perfect conditions. If I'm going to pray, I want:

  • quiet in the house,
  • mental alertness,
  • freedom from pressing tasks needing my attention,
  • and a cheerful, eager spiritual disposition.

But I have a spouse and toddlers, a job and a mortgage, and a disposition very different from that of the cheerful Catholic cartoon father in My Catholic Family. If I, an over-extended curmudgeon involved in more projects than is good for him and who lives in a noisy house not distinguished by its spaciousness, were to wait for the-above-outlined conditions, I'd never pray at all. And that wouldn't be good.

So here's what I've started to do.

When I wake up, I pour a cup of coffee, grab my beads, pick up My Pocket Rosary, and find a seat in the living room. I crack open the little booklet to one of the Mysteries, and then I pray, I sip, and I pray some more.

This Little Book Helps This Catholic Dad Focus on Scriptural Truths Early in the Morning

The images in the booklet give my groggy mind something to focus on. The repetition of the words gives my sleepy soul something to keep it active. And the caffeine beginning to seep through my body helps the whole morning spiritual exercise move along quite effectively.

And if, instead of cloister-like silence reigning majestically over my prayer, there's a small, prone-to-pestering child awake with me, she can either sit with me and look at the pictures or play with her toys while I say my Ave Marias (when I'm praying out loud it seems to register with my kids that I'm actually doing something that they shouldn't interrupt; silent prayer or meditative reading strikes them as an invitation to ask dad what fun thing they're doing that day or what they'll get to eat that morning).

Usually I can get through two or three Mysteries before everyone is up and I need to start breakfast. Two or three Mysteries isn't five, but it's better than none. And I find that I'm more inclined to pray the Rosary at day's end if the day began with it and I need to finish it up. That's a good thing.

Is this the ideal way to pray the Rosary? No.

Is this one way of praying the Rosary? Yes.

Is it a way for you to pray the Rosary? Maybe.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Or let me know if you've found other ways to incorporate prayer into your schedule.

9 comments | Add one of your own.

  1. Mary Jo

    I’m with you that caffeine can kick-start that morning prayer. I agree that if you wait for the perfect time, it will never come. Early mornings are the best and my petition is that God forgives our imperfect prayers. After all, He blessed us with our families and our vocation is to serve them. Over the years of driving to school, I also find the car to be a time for group prayer with my children. They are captive and that’s always a good time for Mom to call the shots!


  2. Denys

    Father Z once said: It is a perfectly good idea to say a Hail Mary while drinking champagne. But it is NEVER acceptible to drink champagne while saying a Hail Mary.

    Mutatis mutandi…it’s good to say a rosary with your morning coffee, but downright impious to drink a coffee with your morning rosary. A distinction with a difference? Discuss.


    1. Cordelia

      Maybe Fr. Z means that your morning coffee should sit by your side beckoning yet patiently waiting for you to finish your rosary. :)


    2. Cyril

      Of course, it all depends on whether or not the coffee is produced by Mystic Monks, as I’m sure Fr. Z would agree.

      To drink the coffee during the rosary means you contemplate the coffee during prayer. To pray while drinking coffee means you admirably lift your thoughts from the mundane to the…trans-mundane.

      Maybe a similar logic applies to “road rosaries”?


    3. J. Hanson

      I first heard this distinction in the context of a joke: Fr. So-and-So is holy and he would never ever smoke during his Divine Office. But sometimes he would pray the Divine Office while having a cigarette…


  3. Reginaldus

    Mr. Hanson, as you are probably aware… even the Hero of the Rosary, St. Louis DeMontfort allowed for one to split up the mysteries of the Rosary (saying one here and one there) — though, it is true, he envisioned this being necessary only for the last 5 of the 15 decades which he wanted everyone to pray each day!
    Nevertheless, there is at least some allowance for your practice…

    I especially liked that you mentioned praying the Rosary out loud…St. Louis Marie and many others strongly advocate saying (or at least whispering) the prayers, whenever it is possible.

    In seminary, some of the guys would get together and pray “Coffice” — the Divine Office with a cup of Coffee…I never liked the idea for priests or religious, but it may be something which can be incorporated into the life of a lay person. But there is certainly more room for a sip of coffee during a devotion than during the Church’s Liturgy.


    1. Denys

      Years ago before my conversion I first started attending Mass at an Unfortunate Parish Which Shall Remain Nameless, and one of the “ministries” was a barrista’s cart at the door that routinely sold iced coffees and Italian sodas to people as they entered for Mass.


  4. D408

    Excellent real-life way to solve the parental time challenge! I think your little one will always remember dad praying his rosary aloud and without shooing her away or secluding himself away for the ‘perfect atmosphere,’ while also readying himself physically for the unrelieved hours of real-life duties in her regard ahead of him. Allowing her to look at the pictures of the mysteries is superb. I think her quietness is a child’s innocent recognition of something important happening.