"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Motherhood and prayer: praying the rosary

Just chronicling my adventures in prayer…if you already faithfully pray the rosary every day you might want to skip over this one ;) and this is not an explanation of what the rosary is - there are way more qualified people to do that for you. This is just me, a tired mom, attempting to incorporate the rosary more into my daily life!

I just want to start by saying that if I read a post about someone who was praying the rosary everyday, I'd probably think, Man, that girl is HOLY. I don't know if I could do that while taking care of little kids all day. I'd probably think the same thing about someone saying they went to daily mass every morning with their kids. So let me just say...please don't think that! I've hesitated publishing this post for weeks because I didn't want to make it seem like I was this super holy mom that's got it all together. Because I don't. I've just really been convicted lately to focus on prayer (after slacking off for some time), and the rosary has played a big part in that. I do think that we all are capable of growing spiritually if we're willing to put forth effort - just like anything in life, hard work pays off! And in my experience, if my prayer life is where it should be, the daily trials of life just don't seem as terrible.

I should also mention that everyone goes through periods of dryness in prayer.not to be confused with lack of prayer. I've been there and it's not fun, but it really is only temporary! So don't be discouraged. 

Okay. Now for the real post!

My family occasionally prayed the rosary together throughout my childhood, but I didn't learn how to pray the rosary well until my college years - and by "well" I mean actually knowing how to pray without looking at a pamphlet to remind me of either the prayers or the mysteries. It was during a time where I prayed the rosary every single day - I have vivid memories of walking around campus with a rosary in my hand. (I feel like I was so much holier back then!)

Sadly, I have not devoted that much time to the rosary - well, prayer in general, if I'm being honest - since having kids. Excuses abound - there are diapers to change, mouths to feed, cleaning to do, and I need more sleep. 
"The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary." -Saint Francis de Sales
Until recently. I'm really trying to rekindle my love for the rosary (as part of my mission to pray more). But in order to not set myself up for failure, I was not all like, SAY A ROSARY EVERY DAY! BE HOLY! I started out just aiming for 3-5 times a week. Then once Lent started, I've been praying a daily rosary. [Full disclosure: Like I said earlier, please don't think I'm super holy because I'm most definitely not - I failed miserably and did not pray the rosary on Ash Wednesday…the very first day of Lent. Sigh.]

This is absolutely not a "how to pray the rosary" post but I definitely need to mention how important it is to know that the whole point of praying the rosary is to meditate on the mysteries….not just to mindlessly repeat the same prayers over and over. Which can be hard when you stay home by yourself with kids all day and may not necessarily have 20-30 minutes of silence to really, really focus on the mysteries. Heck, it's hard even when you have all the time in the world! I can't tell you how many times I'm halfway through a decade and instead of thinking about the Agony in the Garden or whichever mystery I'm on…I realize I'm thinking about what happened earlier that day or what I need to do once I finish the rosary. Oy vey. (That's not really praying the rosary)

This might sound bad, but…it didn't take me long to realize how many excuses I can make in my head to avoid saying the rosary. Oh, I need to fold the towels first….or wash the dishes…or or or.. But I fight fight fight that instinct to make an excuse and just pull out my rosary beads instead. And it doesn't take me long to realize that it was the best decision of my day! Graces abound when I pray the rosary.

And as time goes on and I delve deeper into the mysteries every day, my desire to pray the rosary grows. Because really, the rosary is a beautiful, beautiful thing…thinking about Christ while praying with Mary. Oh, how I love our Catholic faith!
"Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother."- St. Padre Pio
So, how do I pray the rosary with 2 little kids around? Especially since one usually doesn't nap and talks nonstop unless the TV is on? Does anybody care?

Well, for any curious minds
with a little creativity. And resisting the temptation to do something else that's less important. And jumping on an opportunity the minute it arises.

It's usually when I put on a movie for Landon and Chase is napping. But I've also prayed the rosary while Chase is awake (since he's still not mobile) and I've even resorted to throwing both kids in the double stroller and going for a walk - my rosary ring comes in handy for this!

I also have the option of praying the rosary once the boys are in bed if Logan is working the evening shift but I try not to wait until then because I have the tendency to doze off. Just being honest! And of course on days that Logan is not working we try to pray the rosary together. [Waking up before the kids can be an option toobut I'm not there yet and really would rather wait until later in the day when I know I won't be interrupted by kids waking up.]
You always leave the Rosary for later, and you end up not saying it at all because you are sleepy. If there is no other time, say it in the street without letting anybody notice it. It will, moreover, help you to have presence of God.” - St. Josemaria Escriva
Obviously, what works for me won't work for everyone else. Just having 2 kids makes it much easier to find half an hour of time (especially since one is not mobile yet)…but of course if your kids are old enough to pray with you, I think that's a great idea. We're not at that point just yet, though. (If you do try to pray the rosary with your kids I would totally start with one decade at first and progress from there.)

It's all about finding what works best for your family. And that will look different for each family - and it will also look different in different seasons of life. Just adding a second kid to the mix has drastically changed when and how I pray! 

The point I really want to make is that a daily rosary is possible, even when you're a stay-at-home mom and feel like you don't get 2 minutes to yourself. It just takes some effort but trust me, it will be so, so worth it.

A couple resources on the rosary (not being paid to endorse these, I just really recommend them!):
  • Dr. Brant Pitre's talk Contemplating the Face of Christ with Mary - he makes you want to pray the rosary!
  • St. Louis de Montfort's book The Secret of the Rosary - Kindle version is only 99 cents on Amazon! I'm just reading a couple pages at a time because it's one of those books where one page can kind of blow your mind (you know what I mean?)
Of course, there are countless books/talks/etc on the rosary but these are ones I've read/listened to recently. Feel free to share your favorite resources on the rosary with me! I really want to find another book with meditations on the mysteries, since I find that helps me focus on them more.

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