Falling Into the Rosary--by Freddy
I can confess that I haven’t always been a big fan of the Rosary. This is a big deal, because I’m a cradle Catholic. For a convert, I can imagine that the Rosary might be a difficult devotion with which to come to terms – all those repetitive prayers and all, although I’ve known converts who were actually attracted to the Church because of the Rosary. But for the average cradle Catholic, actually admitting that you’re not crazy about the Rosary is almost heresy, or at least it seemed so to me. I mean, it’s the Rosary, you’re Catholic, it’s what you do, right? And it’s what I did. Doing dishes, folding laundry, riding in the car, in the dorm at college, rocking babies, listening to thunder, and before Mass we said the Rosary. And while I can’t say I hated it, I often felt guilty because I found it impossible to pray – really pray, instead of just say – the Rosary. It was kind of like driving stick shift; there were just too many things to concentrate on at once, and too many distractions. First there are the words of the prayer – you’ve got to think about what you are saying, then you’ve got to remember which mystery you’re praying and meditate on that, and then the intentions – are you offering up each decade separately or is the whole rosary for one biggie? Then there are the distractions – the inevitable toddlers, the whispered arguments, the one who loses his place. I’ll bet even a group of identical quintuplets couldn’t say the Rosary at the same pace!
Then I actually pledged to say the Rosary every day. There were mitigating circumstances. Someone very dear needed prayers, and a good friend made a card and asked everyone to give prayers as gifts, writing what we’d do on the card. Faced with so many beautiful devotions, I chose the old Catholic stand-by, the Rosary. And a strange thing happened. It took time, but what was nearly a grind and almost an onerous chore became by imperceptible degrees a draw, a comfort, even a need. I began to fall into the pattern of the mysteries, the cadence of the prayer. I began to see how the Rosary “worked,” for lack of a better term, and to understand what draws so many, saints and ordinary Catholics to this humble yet profound prayer. Part of this success came from taking time to pray alone, quietly. Too often as a Mom I tend more closely to my children’s spiritual gardens and let weeds grow in my own. I forgot that Mommy-prayer-time should be just more than begging our family’s Guardian Angels for help! Another factor was – let’s face it – a certain spiritual maturity. I needed to know more than just my “Hail Marys” I needed to grow in my faith, study the Bible, and learn from the saints in order to make the kind of prayer my heart longed for. (Not that children can’t derive great benefit from their rosaries, just that many children are wiser than I am!) Finally, I needed to learn to love the Rosary for its own sake, instead of just using it as a spiritual begging bowl. As our dear one’s health improved, my prayers became those of thanksgiving, then turned to other matters, and even turned back only to God, for His own.
I may never learn to drive stick shift, but by God’s grace, and His mother’s many prayers, maybe someday I will learn how to pray.