Indeed there are two different ways of contemplating Jesus and his mysteries using our Rosary. One is very known but the other is much less known and understood. The reason we have two ways of saying the Rosary is because we have two types of contemplation.
Contemplation is a supernatural action of God where he gives himself to us as a nourishment.
Each type of contemplation nourishes principally (Lat. “principaliter”) a different area of our being. One nourishes essentially our soul (i.e. conscious mind and will) and the other nourishes essentially our spirit (or heart, i.e. supra-conscious part of our mind and will). These two types of food absoutely complement each other.
We have these two foods (or “breads”) in the Mass:
1- the first bread is Jesus’ words for us that are “Spirit and Life”, they nourish our soul (conscious mind and will).
2- the second bread Jesus offers us is his Body and Blood (and soul, spirit, divinity).
These two moments of manducation (process of eating) have, related to each one of them, two moments of digestion: Lectio Divina for the first bread and Prayer of the heart for the second one.
I guess, if you are familiar with the “School of Mary” teaching you would be familiar as well with these clarifications about Spiritual Life, Mass, Contemplation.
Now, back to the question about the Rosary. The Rosary initially was set up in order to help the poor who can’t read in the MiddleAge to have the possibility to access the Gospel. The Gospel was therefore divided into three sets of mysteries, each one with 5 moments of Jesus life. So, with Mary, the faithuful would be able to remain in contact with the Gospel, Jesus, his mysteries and benefit from them. So the rosary is not a “marian devotion”, it is a Gospel, Jesus, contemplation, listening to. We need to remember that. Of course Mary is fundamental, because she gives us her eyes and her heart in ordet to contemplate Jesus and listen in our conscience to his word for us.
Note: the majority of people today do read and hear about the lectio divina. So what? Would we then have to cancel the Rosary? I think that we need to learn to practice the lectio divina “with Mary”, this is fundamental. This means that we need Mary’s heart, mind, will, in order to listen to Jesus and put his word into practise.
Is that all about the Rosary? What about the second type of contemplation, of food? Would we just leave it without Mary?
I do deeply believe that there is a more silent/quiet way of saying the Rosary, closer in its form to the Prayer of the heart. In the Prayer of the heart you have a short prayer that accompanies our movement of lifting our heart. You remember that? I do deeply believe that we could use as a prayer the “Hail Mary”, holding our Rosary in our hands. Therefore, in this case we do not “meditate” (or better: contemplate) one of Jesus’ Mysteries, we are in Jesus, in THE mystery himself, and we do not need to see or hear anything, because God, in this type of contemplation pours himself in our heart, directly, and our mind should remain quiet, in peace.
Note: the Eastern catholic (and orthodox) churches have a different Rosary (chotki), and they use it for the Prayer of the heart (Jesus' prayer).
We can’t go to the Prayer of the heart without Mary. We need to repeat a prayer that has Jesus’ name and/or Mary’s one, so, why can’t we just hold our (western) rosary in our hands and just say it quietly, silently, having Mary in our heart, with us, that receives Jesus, and his Holy Spirit?!
So, conclusion: we do indeed have two ways of saying the Rosary, and they are coherent with the two “Breads” we receive in the Mass, and with the extension/prolongation of this manducation in digestion: Lectio divina and Prayer of the heart. The two ways are not oppposed, or exclusive, they absolutely complement each other. They are both necessary: we need Mary in order to listen to Jesus (contemplate his mysteries in the Gospel) and we need Mary as well in order to be immeresed in Jesus’ being and receive his Holy Spirit.
I hope that helps, sheds an important light and liberates many people who would like to say – as well – the Rosary with a type of “contemplation” identical to the type of contemplation involved in the Payer of the heart and in Communion.