And how do you respond to how imagination can be dangerous and bad and that you shouldn't imagine when praying?
Does anyone know? I haven't found anything online yet that answers this question about imagination while praying the rosary.
Well, I'll jump in here and say that using the imagination in prayer is
dangerous rather than can be
But to get to the root of the question, I don't really know either. I've asked similar, if not the same, questions on other forums, only to get "shouted down" by Western Rite folks. In fact, they referred me to the works of St Theophan the Recluse, and books like "The Art of Prayer" by Archimandrite Cherubim - the very works that led me to question the Western practices!
But, I think there may be a key to understanding this in the history of the Rosary. I checked wikipedia (I know, a horrible source for info, but I use it mostly as a starting point!) and it seems to confirm that the Rosary has pre-Schism antecedents, but scholars are apparently unsure of their exact composition. But it does seem that the mysteries were added to the Rosary after it had been in use for a while.
So, it seems entirely legitimate to do the Rosary prayers without the mysteries, focusing your mind on the prayers, and nothing else, just as one does with the Jesus Prayer.
Then something struck me. Nothing in the old literature I could access said that you had to meditate on the mystery at the same time
as you were saying the prayers! It seems to make sense that the mysteries are/were intended as mental "speed bumps" during this prayer rule, in order to slow you down, so that you don't just rattle off prayers as fast as possible (which is a tendency a lot of people, including myself, have). So one could meditate on the mystery for few minutes (or seconds), then
say the Our Father, the Hail Mary's and the Glory. One would stop meditating for the prayers, just as one stops saying the prayers while they are meditating on a mystery.
That's just my opinion, of course. This may have no relevance whatsoever to the real practice of the Rosary in the Western Rite or anywhere else. I should also point out that I converted to Orthodoxy from an evangelical Protestant background, and have exactly no
experience as a Roman or Anglo Catholic. Therefore, my opinions above are purely congectural, and I welcome correction.