Friday, October 22, 2010

Praying the Rosary

For whatever reason, I started praying the Rosary every day months before I decided to return to the Church. I still can't recall exactly what prompted me to look in top drawer for the Rosary my late maternal grandmother gave me. In fact, when I first started praying it again, I didn't recite it correctly. Fortunately, I picked up a helpful pamphlet in the back of a church and learned to pray it "by the book."

Also for reasons unknown to me, I found it much easier to meditate on the sacred mysteries of the Rosary at first. Today, I must confess, my mind often wanders and I am continually catching myself as I contemplate more worldly matters. It is definitely more easy for me to keep my mind and heart focused when I pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. However, it's not always possible for me to do this, and there are times when I pray the Rosary while I'm walking to or from work. I do the best I can and I have an agreement with Our Lady that whenever I pass an undesirable or obnoxious person on the street or some poor soul who appears lost, I offer the Rosary prayers for them.

St. Therese once lamented how difficult she found it to pray the Rosary alone, when not in the company of her sisters, saying that at times, she "found it more difficult than wearing an instrument of torture." Still, she did not stop praying it. Knowing how ardently the Blessed Virgin Mary urged the visionaries of Lourdes and Fatima to pray the Rosary, it is a wonder to me that any faithful Catholic might still not feel compelled to oblige her. There are just a few days left in October, the month dedicated to both the sanctity of life and the Rosary. What will you do to increase this devotion to Mary, which she called a weapon against sin and vice? What will you do to strengthen your own Rosary prayer?

Sometimes, when I pray the Rosary while walking, I'm ashamed at how far my mind can drift from the Gospel mysteries. I think of how easily the words of the angelic salutation and the Our Father can roll off my lips, but how seldom they flow from my heart. I need to do something about that, but I also take encouragement from St. Therese, who admitted to her own struggles. "I think that the Queen of Heaven, since she is also my mother, must see my goodwill and she is satisfied with it."

Yes, because she is our mother, Mary understands our shortcomings. But just as we would not hand our mother a wilted bouquet, so must we try to offer Mary prayer as free as possible of worldly distraction and mindless lip-service.

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