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The Obstacle… the Desire… the Rosary

 

The Obstacle...The Desire...The Rosary

Devotions are amazing, personal, and prayerful ways of deepening each individual’s relationship with God. There are more devotions promoted by the Catholic Church than I would care to sit and count, and I previously explored some in a prior post. This month is considered the Month of the Holy Rosary, and as such, the Rosary is something discussed in many Catholic circles.

I love the Rosary. Many a Catholic saint has praised the Rosary, explaining how it is not only beneficial for building our holiness, but will also aid us in vanquishing sin and evil around us. With victories attributed to the recitation of the Holy Rosary, such as the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571, it’s hard to negate the amazing attention the Rosary elicits from God. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is credited with saying, “The power of the Rosary is beyond description.”

But, if I am perfectly honest, I stink at reciting the Rosary. I know how to pray the Rosary, and I know why to pray the Rosary. I just stink at reciting the Rosary. I find myself putting the recitation off until the end of the day, deluding myself into thinking I will pay special attention to the recitation when the kids are asleep. Yet, all too often, life gets in the way. The kids don’t go to bed on time, or when they do fall asleep at the precise moment, I then also fall asleep – sometimes with the Hail Mary prayers on my lips, but too often, without even attempting the Rosary.

As I contemplated the Month of the Holy Rosary, I began trying to dig deeper. What is it about the Rosary that makes me love it so ardently and passionately? And, perhaps more perplexing, what is it about the Rosary that makes me put off the prayers?

Growing up, I didn’t learn much about the Rosary, aside from when we pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be prayers. It wasn’t until I was returning to the Faith as an adult, that I found the beauty in the recitation of the Rosary. Learning to contemplate the activities and scenarios of Jesus’ life has made the Rosary come to life. Meditating on Christ’s experiences, and the depth of His love for us has made me more appreciative of Jesus’ sacrifice. Considering the particular instances of Mary’s motherhood, as it pertained to watching her Son live, learn, and love throughout His life, has given the Rosary a depth I can’t describe as I parent my own children.

Simply put, I love the Rosary. I love everything about the Rosary. I am passionate about the Rosary, not just advocating for it, but expressing the beauty and calming nature of the meditative aspects. I have been inspired by videos of more articulate speakers and writers about this devotion. And, I have personally seen the spiritually growth that matures when I devoutly recite the Rosary.

Yet, as I sat to write this particular post on this beautiful devotion, the words would not come. I have spent over a month contemplating writing about the Rosary, and the words are stuck. The words are stuck on the internal voice I hear, telling me I should not encourage the Rosary, simply because I am a hypocrite. 

How can I passionately discuss this devotion, when I can’t even pray it on a daily basis myself? How can I lead others to this devotion, and emphasize the importance of the Rosary, when I don’t make the seemingly small shift in my life to ensure I have prayed it devoutly every day? How can I describe the beauty of the Mysteries of the Rosary, when I fail to recite and contemplate them daily, weekly, or sometimes even monthly?

And, the more I struggled with the words for this piece, and the answers to my questions, I began to realize there is something greater at play.

Satan does not want me to write about the Rosary. He doesn’t want me to promote it in any way, shape, or form. In fact, he doesn’t want me to pray the Rosary. He doesn’t want any of us to do anything of the kind.

And, in this piece, as I allow the words to freely fall to the page, I am declaring war on, “Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl around this world, seeking the ruin of souls.” You see, I firmly believe the words of St. Padre Pio, “Satan always tries to destroy this prayer [the Rosary], but he will never succeed. It is the prayer of her who triumphs over everything and everyone.” St. Padre Pio would routinely refer to his Rosary as his weapon – the weapon which would defeat Satan. 

 

The Obstacle...The Desire...The RosaryBecause of its power, the devil does not want anyone to write about the Rosary. He wants me to feel inferior about my own path toward holiness, by reminding me of my failures to recite this beautiful devotion. He wants me to get stuck in feeling like a lesser Catholic when the day has gone, the night has come, and I am sleepily nodding off, remembering I have “yet again” failed to recite the Rosary. He wants me bleed green with envy, as I read about those who not only have the desire like mine, but actually have the ability to do more than desire to pray the Rosary. The devil wants me to second guess my devotion – not just to the Rosary, but to the Faith which draws me closer to Christ. 

The Rosary has an awe-some, and amazing power to radically change people. When we live as authentic Catholics, we are charged with changing the world around us in a positive manner. And, Satan doesn’t want the world to change for the better; he would rather we get stuck on the failings of others, and in times where we don’t do that, he would rather we dwell on our personal failings.

The Month of the Holy Rosary is an entire month devoted to praying, contemplating, meditating, and loving the Rosary. As I sit here, struggling to get these words out onto the screen, a week past my deadline, I am deciding I have had enough of listening to the internal voice trying to further discourage me.

I am not going to give in to the discouragement. Rather, I am going to reach out for encouragement.

I am going to spend this month asking God to, at a minimum, grant me the desire to pick up my beads and pray the Rosary daily. I am going to spend more time soaking in the zeal of those who have promoted, and still promote, the Rosary. I am going to spend October asking my Guardian Angel to protect my love of the Rosary. I am going to pray this beautiful devotion, with full focus on the life of Christ, the fruits of the Mysteries, and watching the world I can change, transform from my own personal journey with the Rosary.

And, I am going to submit this piece for publication.

The Rosary devotion is powerful. It has the power to change the world… it has the power to change each of us. Ultimately, it has the power to lead us into a more intimate union with God. And, I can’t argue with those desires of the heart – to change the world, and to be brought into a closer relationship with God.

So, I am asking – will you join me? Will you pick your Rosary up this month and pray it along with me? Will you join me in contemplating the life of Christ, as it is revealed in the deep prayers of the Rosary?

I will be praying for you, dear reader, and simply ask that you also pray for me.

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My New Purple Rosary

rosary3I recently purchased a purple rosary from a fellow CF Mom, purple being the “awareness color” for cystic fibrosis. Its centerpiece is a rose on one side with a tiny image of Mary and Bernadette at Lourdes on the other. Roses are a special symbol for CF (“cystic fibrosis” sounds like “sixty-five roses”). Not much about CF makes me cry anymore; I’ve steeled myself because I’ve had to grit my teeth and hand over my children too many times. I don’t get too excited over stories of healing or sainthood or miracles. But when I opened my package from Maine and the shiny purple beads fell into my lap, I fought tears and swallowed hope.

I read about the rosary; I love the idea of the rosary; I agree with the wonderfulness of the rosary; I just don’t actually do it. But I want to.

I want to sit with Mary and have her point to pictures in the photo album, “Here’s when I visited Elizabeth and her John leaped; here’s when He was born and the shepherds came; here He is telling stories of God’s kingdom…” I want to hold her hand as she remembers with me His crucifixion. I want to smile with her as she is reunited with her Son in heaven.

I understand that my body reflects my soul and that as my body absorbs the rhythmic motion within a set structure of sweet words, my soul can imagine, contemplate, and learn the great stories of our Lord. I understand that using such a sacramental is not a good luck charm but can help me focus my attention and inspire me to greater devotion. My soul can be brought closer to Jesus and in turn, my body can do better things.

The ex-protestant in me sees that it is not the repetition that is condemned by Jesus but the vanity (Matthew 6:7), that He Himself repeated prayers (Matthew 26:36-46), told His followers to pray in a certain way (Matthew 6:9-13), told a parable about persistence in prayer (Luke 18:1-8), and that the angels in heaven repeat prayers (Revelation 4:8). I see that the first half of the Hail Mary is Gabriel’s and Elizabeth’s words and that the second half reflects theology handed to us in the first few centuries of Christianity (“Mother of God” was defined and approved at the council of Ephesus in AD 431 in response to the roiling Nestorian heresy that Jesus was not fully God and fully human.).

And so I shall begin. I ask you, my Sistas that pray rosaries, to think of me when you pray your own- just one thought for this little child as I try something new in my walk with Christ, sitting with His mother, remembering Him and praying for my children with my new purple-rosed rosary.