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Anni Ink Slingers Prayer Rosary

Five Ways we Benefit from the Most Holy Rosary

FiveWaysweBenefitfromtheMostHolyRosary

I recently made a meal for new parents, pouring attention, prayers for the new baby, and love into all of the dishes. As I was preparing the meal, I was listening to Christian music, soothed with being able to cook and bake only being interrupted occasionally by the toddler, rather than the two older kids who were at their respective schools. Cook times meant I had plenty of time in the kitchen with my music, and at one point, I briefly considered praying a Rosary with one of my apps. But, I was enjoying the lack of spoken word, and basking in the joy of song and the random groove to the music, and didn’t recite the Rosary that day.

As we fought through traffic to deliver the meal post-school pick-up, my oldest asked why we “always” make a meal for a new family. In a subtle way, he was trying to figure out why the baby didn’t get a new toy. His question made me think of the mystery of The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, and I reminded him that, in the same way that Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, I find it very good to visit new parents and drop off a meal so that they only have to focus on eating and the baby, rather than preparing a meal.

Yet, as the days slipped by, I began to consider the Rosary in a new light. I began to see how the Rosary, as a devotion, brings us close to Christ – and, in an equally amazing manner, radically transforms us into doing what He desires. And, while I can’t say I picked up the Rosary and began praying it immediately in the aftermath of the conversation with my oldest, I can share some of the reasons the ways we have an opportunity to benefit from frequent, if not regular, recitation of the Holy Rosary.

We find ourselves transformed to be more Christ-like. When we sit with the Rosary and contemplate the mysteries and the fruits of the mysteries, we begin to see the Rosary change our own outlook. We stop living in our own world and start seeing those around us in a new light. We have a tendency to begin to look for and recognize the little ways we live out the mysteries in our daily lives. This challenges and encourages us to extend ourselves, even when we doubt our own abilities. We begin to make life about others, rather than about ourselves.

We are brought closer to Christ. The monotony of the memorized verses of the Our Father and Hail Mary affords us the opportunity to get to know the mysteries and the fruits of the mystery a little better. When we pray the Rosary, we are meditating on the life of Christ – significant milestones in His life, from conception through Assumption. While meditating on those, we are able to see parallels in our own lives, that show us the splendor of Christ’s fully human and fully Divine nature. We recognize the frailty of our own humanity, as we meet the perfect nature of love and sacrifice through Christ.

Christ and His life come alive. Sure, we all know the story of the angel appearing to Mary, but how frequently have we contemplated that unique, historic, glorious occasion? We have all read about Anna and Simeon approaching and honoring the baby Jesus in the Temple, but how often have we contemplated the fidelity and faith they held in order to wait year after year for the Savior? We all know the Stations of the Cross, but how often do we have the courage to rest with the events of that fateful, yet necessary for our salvation, day? When we pray the Rosary, we begin to view the events of Christ and His life in a different light. We begin to be active participants in the bible stories we either read as children, or heard aloud read at Mass. In any case, we begin to experience the “stories” of Christ’s life in an altogether different way.

Our relationship with God becomes deeper and richer. As the events of Christ’s life begin to truly unfold, we find ourselves brought deeper into a relationship with a Father Who loves us so much, He sent His only Son to ensure a salvation for our souls. Those who have hardened hearts will slowly start to see them soften, as they begin to recognize the magnanimous love that God holds for each of us. Our souls begin to take refuge in knowing God and loving God, and our actions begin to orient toward God and His will.

We become more confident and courageous. Have you ever noticed small children have confidence that makes them act quickly, surely, and without excuse? As our hearts soften and our relationship with God deepens, we begin to display the confidence we see in little children. We become confident in our role as beloved children of God, and as our faith life becomes richer, we find ourselves leaning more on God’s will, rather than our own. With that comes the confidence to seek, know, and do God’s will, without excuses or remorse.

Praying the Rosary will lead to the most aggressive spiritual attacks, as we begin to find ourselves bombarded with self-doubt, with self-criticism, and even with attacks against our character by other people. The goal of these attacks will be to derail us from reciting the Rosary. It is important that we recognize these attacks for what they are – a mission to drive us further from God.

Yet, even hidden within the first Joyful Mystery, we find the antidote to the attacks that will inevitably come. We will find our source of strength from the humongous fiat uttered by a “small” human girl. If Mary could help us defeat Satan by agreeing to carry our Savior in her womb, then she can certainly help us defeat Satan every time we are tempted to put aside the Rosary for any length of time.

Change is absolutely scary. Praying the Rosary will change us. It will transform each of us, and this transformation in turn transforms the world. In the end, a world transformed for love of God is beautiful.

So, if it has been a day, a week, or even a decade since you last picked up the Rosary, I invite you to join me in picking it up again today. If you can’t commit to praying a daily Rosary, I invite you to join me in starting small. Pray a Rosary once a week – specifically this Month of the Holy Rosary (October), with your goal to truly, radically transform into being the most loving Christian you are able to achieve. Call upon your prayer partners, your Guardian Angel, your patron saints, and more to help you dedicate a greater portion of your prayer life to unfolding the deep mysteries and treasure contained in the Rosary.

As you present a rose to the Blessed Mother with each Hail Mary, and your life begins to radically transform, know that your reward will be great in Heaven. No matter where you are beginning, join me in having faith and trust that with God, all things are possible – especially when we grow with Him through the Most Holy Rosary.

 

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Anni Apologetics Faith Formation Ink Slingers Prayer

A Recipe for Catholicism

Being Christian is tough at times. Being Catholic? Even harder most times!

Sometimes, as Catholics, it can be difficult to explain our Faith, let alone convince others about our beliefs. As I have explained to my husband (who is Methodist), as a Catholic, there are more things I am called to pay attention to – not because I think we are better than anybody else, but rather, because I have firm belief that my Catholic Faith and Traditions will open my soul to be truly transformed by Christ!

To use a cooking analogy – I believe the Catholic Faith has the complete recipe, with generations of those who have gone before having filled in the recipe card with handwritten notes of love, encouragement, and tried-‘n-true tweaks.

When we look at the recipe of Catholicism, the (arguably) Six Precepts of the Catholic Church are outlined on the Vatican website, and are the pen on the recipe card:

1.) Participate in the Eucharistic Celebration (a.k.a. the Mass) on Sundays and all other Holy Days of Obligation;

2.) Participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. Confession) once a year;

3.) At a minimum, receive the Eucharist once a year, during the Easter season, making the second precept annual to ensure reception of Christ’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity is received under a state of grace;

4.) Keep holy ALL Holy Days of Obligation by attending Mass;

5.) Fast and abstain on all Church designated days;

6.) According to ability, contribute to the support of the Church.

The other penned ingredients include the belief found in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Bible.

Further down on the recipe card are instructions, in which we find the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, the Theological and Cardinal Virtues, and the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

But, written in the margins?

The writing left from those who have come before us, and traveled the rocky, hilly terrain to God?

In the margins, tucked between the ingredients and steps of the recipe, we are given the devotions promoted by the Catholic Church!

Just like our generational recipes for cooking and baking, things will still turn out okay if we just stick to the black and white print… if we just stick to the basics. However, without the devotions, we may miss out on that extra sweetness, fuller depth, richer relationship with God!

Nowhere is the uniqueness of the Catholic Faith more acutely felt, than when one considers the vast devotions applicable to living and being transformed by one’s Catholic Faith.

Whether it is a special devotion to the Rosary, to the First Fridays or First Saturdays, Divine Mercy, or Brown Scapular, there is no right or wrong! Sometimes, devotions can begin to weigh you down, literally, as you add the Miraculous Medal to the one worn by the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, to the St. Christopher Medal, or medals for other special causes or saints.

Each of us have our own call to particular devotions – one person may feel drawn to the Immaculate Heart devotion, while another may feel drawn toward the Divine Mercy devotion. The beauty is that we don’t have to adhere to every special devotion, but we can learn from each other, and share those treasures – those notes in the margins – with each other!

The point of this is to not discount the handwriting in the margins.

Instead, keeping the ingredients written in pen, read the extra handwriting, take note of added ingredients, and tinker with your own recipe!

Devotions serve to enhance our transformation into followers of Christ. They are present to allow us into a deeper relationship with Him! 

Through our Catholic Faith, we see a transformation in our lives as we seek, find, and get to know God. Through that transformation that occurs, we are challenged to be Christ’s hands and feet, bringing Him to others through our thoughts, our words, and our actions. 

Devotions serve as a (mostly) daily reminder of the added benefit of knowing Christ, and being Christ-like to others. They serve as a way to recognize Christ in our neighbors, and become a representation for us, of the reward of knowing and keeping Christ close.

When was the last time you researched a new devotion?

When was the last time you considered adding a new devotion to your faith life?

Do you have a special devotion?

I’d love to hear your devotions in the comments below!