Years ago, I began adopting the notion of praying the Rosary every day for Lent. I would get one to two days in, and then something would happen, and I would falter and skip, “oh, just one day!” One day would turn into the next, which would turn into the next, and before I knew it, we had landed at Easter morning, and I was saying, “oops.”
Actually, I get four days in to praying the Rosary, and then I stop. It’s four days for the Rosary, and I make it four days into a Novena. After the fourth day, for whatever reason, I struggle to complete the set number of days. The “four day slump,” has been a part of my history for years. I always just revert to, “off the cuff,” impromptu prayer, rather than continuing the recitation of pre-written prayers.
Given my track record of not being able to complete my mission of saying the Rosary daily, I was skeptical when I wanted to try it again this year. I figured it would be like years past, where I might make it four days, but after that fourth day, I wouldn’t be saying the specific prayer anymore. And, for me, the key is not my having wanted to say the Rosary – there have been several years where I have ardently wished to complete Lent, or Advent, having prayed the Rosary daily, as my personal devotion to the Blessed Virgin. I want to make her happy, because in my mind’s eye, “a happy Mom is a happy home!”
That said, at the time of writing this, Lent isn’t fully complete. So, I can’t give an update as to how this Lent will finish – what I do know, is that I have gone more than four days in a row praying the Rosary.
Okay, moment of truth: I have fallen asleep praying the Rosary three times. I maintain that, on the days I have fallen asleep, I have known going into the Rosary that it is, “more than likely going to happen.” So, before I start the Rosary, I have said a little prayer of apology, and also banked on the saying out there that says, “if you fall asleep during the Rosary, the angels finish it for you.” I don’t know if that saying is “true,” per se, or if that is just something that is told to a child. But, I like that idea, so I’m sticking with it! I know some people would recommend I say the Rosary when I am driving, or sitting in an uncomfortable position, but I am fully convinced in the relaxation and meditative qualities of the Rosary – it is not safe for me, personally, to operate a motor vehicle while praying the Rosary, nor am I still able to stay awake while sitting upright in an uncomfortable chair, if I am tired enough and beginning to pray the Rosary.
I have decided it gets a little lonely saying the Rosary by myself – I like not having to say the entirety of the prayers out loud, and instead enjoy only having to say the “refrain,” for lack of a better word, when it is time for the community to join the leader reciting the Rosary. This was a concept I was introduced to when I was in college – when saying the Rosary as a group, you don’t have to pray the entirety of every prayer out loud. Instead, you let the leader say the first part, and then the community joins in the second part of most of the prayers. There are some outstanding books that can guide you on “when to pray out loud,” if you are wondering what to say, when.
Given that new realization, I have invested in utilizing some of my “pray aloud” resources – I have learned to avail myself of my apps on my phone, and have even used YouTube. So far, my favorite oral recitation of the Rosary has been from my app, simply entitled, “Mary”. It is put out by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception; unlike my other Rosary apps (i.e. Laudate and Scriptural Rosary), this one also seems to automatically update the mysteries upon which to reflect daily during Lent. Daily during Lent, one is encouraged to meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries (Jesus’ Agony in the Garden, Jesus’ Scourging at the Pillar, Jesus Being Crowned with Thorns, Jesus Picking up – and Carrying – His Cross, Jesus Dying On the Cross).
If I want to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I turn to YouTube for the complete song (blogged about in a previous blog), or I now turn to my Laudate app. The speaker is British, and maybe that is why I enjoy saying that devotion, since I am a bit of an Anglophile. Or, perhaps it is because it is a clear, concise recording which is extremely beneficial.
The other component that has aided my ability to continue saying the Rosary is my friend’s family. I have eaten dinner with them twice, and they are striving to pray the Rosary daily as a family. I have no doubt I would have fallen asleep more than twice, praying the Rosary, had I not joined them for their family Rosary time on those days that I spent over at their house. It is nice to pray in community with a group, although sometimes with two toddlers, things get a little dicey when it comes to “meditating” on the mysteries. I find comfort in the belief, though, that Mary doesn’t mind – she also had to multitask in her life!
Another aid I have found is that I take each decade to dedicate it as a new prayer intention. For example, I will pray for global issues (and, usually I specify what they are) on the first decade, local issues the second one, my marriage and my husband the third decade, our son and future children on the fourth, and then whatever is weighing most on my heart on the fifth decade. I have found by doing that, I am also able to focus more intently on the mystery – it’s as though I have an immediate goal, which helps keep my mind oriented to my task.
The Rosary is a beautiful meditative prayer aid and a beautiful devotion! I am enjoying this Lenten challenge and journey, and hope that I continue to be successful in my efforts to keep this a daily component of my prayer life.