Has this ever happened to you? You're midway through praying the Rosary when you realize that you've barely given a thought to the Gospel mysteries. It is reasuring to know that it happened to some of the greatest saints, among them St. Therese. Is that an excuse not to make an effort to do better? Of course not! But if prayer is a work-out for our souls, it's not impossible to think that sometimes, we have to shake things up a bit to gain some benefit. Listen to what St. Therese has to say about difficulty praying:
"Sometimes, when my mind is in such aridity that it is impossible for me to draw forth one single thought to unite me with God, I very slowly recite an "Our Father" and then the angelic salutation; then these prayers give me great delight; they nourish my soul much more than if I had recited them precipitately a hundred times."
-from a "Story of a Soul" p. 242
Recently, I a priest I know in passing said to me "Do you mind if I ask you a question? Do you and your famliy pray together." It just so happened that the previous night I had asked my husband, in vain, to pray part of a chaplet with me. Father paused for a moment and smiled and said "Has it occurred to you to start with something smaller, like the "Hail Mary" each night and see where it goes?" It was one of those "duh" moments of "now why didn't I think of that?" We're going to try to say one decade of the Rosary together each night after dinner. No one runs a marathon before they can run a mile, and the same is true for prayer. It's not how long we pray, but the effort we put into what we do pray that matters.