A “Boring” Prayer
Sometimes people complain that “the Rosary is boring.” And yeah, sometimes I would have to agree. The scripted words. The stanzas of prayer. The repetition. The seeming lack of personal involvement. It doesn’t always win the prize as the most dynamic prayer.
But I’d like to suggest that part of its power is in the fact that it’s, well, boring. The Rosary is boring in the eyes of an age that craves novelty, that constantly changes, that centers on the self. Instead, the Rosary offers a script, a rhythm, repetition, and it’s separation from me. These may seem to “dull it down,” but I’ve found that they actually give the Rosary part of its strength
I’m late on a work project, and another task is coming in. The baby woke up early from her nap, angry. My husband is gone on another work trip.
I’m alone, incapable, juggling more than I can handle once again.
The headache begins to throb in my temples. Color begins to flood my cheeks. Thoughts run slower, more jumbled. Anxiety. Frustration. Anger.
I know I should pray about it. But it’s definitely something I know in my head without feeling in my heart. My emotions want to do anything but pray.
And in the flurry of all of these emotions, what would I even say in prayer? I definitely don’t have anything nice to say (and, as my father would remind me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”)
Maybe the Rosary is boring in its script. But this script enables us to pray when we don’t know how. It is simple and easy to say when we don’t have the mind to think of words.
Have you ever noticed that there’s a rhythm to the Rosary? Next time you say the rosary, actually say it. Out loud. Maybe just try it out with a decade if it feels weird saying it out loud for the whole thing.
When I say it out loud, I find that the words fall into patterns. There’s a poetry to the Rosary that lends itself to breathing.
I find that it works something like this:
Inhale: Hail Mary, full of grace.
Exhale: The Lord is with thee.
Or maybe, even slower:
Inhale: Hail Mary
Exhale: Full of Grace
Inhale: The Lord is With Thee.
Intentional breathing is so important. It helps us to center ourselves, to focus better, to calm ourselves.
Maybe the Rosary is boring because the rhythm may seem to lull us to sleep at times. But this “boringness” helps us be mindful of our physical selves during prayer. With the poetry of the Rosary, we can enter the calm.
When my water broke, my darling baby girl decided she was staying put. 36 hours of labor and I’d only dilated 6 centimeters. Yikes.
Throughout that process, mantras were insanely important. A mantra is a short, powerful, motivational phrase, often repeated. During my labor, my husband and my mother would hold my hands and repeat these powerful phrases with me, slowly. I wasn’t capable of thinking (who is at hour 24 of labor?), but these phrases were short and to the point.
We’d come back frequently to “I’m OK, my baby’s OK.” Over and over again. Instead of being bored by the repetition, I was strengthen by it. The positivity and the calm of this phrase washed over me. It reminded me that even in the worst contraction that I was OK, and my beautiful baby was OK.
Maybe the Rosary is boring because it repeats. But in this repetition is an incredible collection of mantras. By repeating them, we can let their power wash over us. Just think of:
“Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
She prays for us. She is with us always, even at our darkest moment. Repeat that, over and over, and we know our mother is with us.
The Separation from Me
Advertising and Social Media encourages us to consider: “How does this apply to me? What does this have to do with me? What are my thoughts on the matter?”
The Rosary is an invitation for a unique form of peace: detachment from self. When I’m overwhelmed, or anxious, or angry, the Rosary invites me to consider Christ, His Story, His mother’s story.
It reminds me that the story is bigger than me. God’s Will is bigger than me.
I still have a calling, I still have a vocation. God still calls me.
Maybe the rosary is boring because it’s not “about me.” But it gives me so much peace to know that when I mess up, when I sin, when I’m not perfect, the story goes on.
As many of you know, October is the Month of the Rosary. It is an incredible invitation to be intentional about the Rosary. The Rosary might not be your prayer for every season, but in the last week or so of October, I invite you to say the Rosary at least once. Or maybe say a decade of the Rosary for a few days. Let it’s “boringness” give you peace.