~revising an old piece because it is so worth reminding myself today. And because I miss this friend and am ever grateful for this devotion to prayer...
Lent is about giving up, about surrendering ourselves to the will of God and being drawn into a deeper relationship with Him. It's about becoming more and more like Him. It's about allowing God to perfect His will in our very being. We talk about "giving things up" for Lent, about relinquishing those things in hopes that we will notice that we need God.
Often--hopefully--we find that when we've given something up, God shines a light on that cleared space in our soul. We find, when we give something up, that there is room for something more. Might I suggest something old and proven? Something Biblical? Something so close to God that with every prayer inhaled and exhaled, we walk with him through Scripture and hold His hand through the moments of His life?
A few months ago, a friend suggested we pray a daily rosary. Actually, she suggested a fifteen decade daily rosary. We were both tired, frustrated and stressed to the limits. We had exhausted all the typical remedies for this state of being. Veterans of this Catholic home education large-family lifestyle, we tweaked our diets, our exercise plans, our chore systems, our sleeping (well, we tried), our school plans. We both changed parishes (we live two time zones apart but somehow we both were in the wrong church). All the tried and true remedies for burnout and frustration were failing us. As our families grew and our children got bigger, the stakes went up. We recognized that nothing on earth was "working" to gain for us that much needed peace. Our souls were restless indeed.
All of this we shared with each other. We hashed out all the usual solutions, we swapped meal plans and chore plans and lesson plans. Independently, we took it to prayer. That's when she came back with the absolute certainty that she was supposed to pray a fifteen decade rosary every day. And she was pretty certain I was supposed to do the same. Only glitch was that she had this revelation while I was reading Rosarium Virginis Mariae. I was increasingly sure that I was supposed to shower my soul with the light of those five Luminous decades as well. Fifteen for her, twenty for me.
Our prayers are gathered as roses, whispered quietly or said internally, as we reflect on the moments of the Lord's life--the words He said, the miracles He performed, the joys, the suffering, the ultimate sacrifice, and the hope we live as Easter people.
I bought a CD so that I could turn driving time, walking time, bed time into rosary time. Really, the Holy Spirit did the pointing and clicking this time. I bought Praying the Rosary with St. Therese of Lisieux. Now, there are several other options in the same series: Praying the Rosary with St. Maria Faustina, Praying the Rosary with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Praying the Rosary with St. Padre Pio. I admit we have quite a collection.
My daughter, always looking over my shoulder as I blog, objects to the "Just for Mom" category. She reminds me that she hears the CD all the time, too. And she is increasingly devoted to both the Blessed Mother and the Little Flower. Those quotes are touching her.
My friend and I exchange emails, coveting each other's decades. All is not peace and green pastures. Life is still happening. And it is really, really hard sometimes. There are days when I beg her to offer all fifteen of hers to me and days when I reciprocate. We rarely pray the whole thing at the same time; instead we snatch decades throughout the day. And maybe that is better, kind of like booster shots for the soul. We've shared some pretty amazing success stories. And we're both pretty sold on the power of ALL those decades.
Now for the Something Extra: are you ready to add a rosary to your daily round? All the images in this post are taken from Loreto Rosaries--beautiful, beautiful works of art to aid your prayer. Ruth, the artist behind these masterpieces, is graciously offering a rosary bracelet to one of you.
Please go to Loreto Rosaries and look around. Come back and tell us what inspired you. And if you have your own story of rosary graces, please share those too. You will be entered to win the rosary bracelet.
Remember, as always, Proceeds from every sale will be donated to Mary's Shelter. Mary’s Shelter provides housing and support to women facing a crisis pregnancy. For more information, please go to http://www.marysshelterva.org/