As an adult, the idea of praying the rosary every day seemed daunting. Forty-five minutes is a big chunk of time for parents especially after the kids are in bed and you finally have some silence. Sure, you can pray it all in 25 minutes — if you go fast. I’ve done it.
But to meditate on the mysteries, include your intercessions, and focus properly, it ends up being about 30-45 minutes — and that’s if you don’t fall asleep. For most of us, 45 minutes is nothing if we’re scrolling through our Facebook feeds; I’ve scrolled through Facebook for up to an hour or more on some nights. Even if I watch TV before bed, almost two hours will go by before I fall asleep.
So, this past Lent I decided I would replace my evening social-media-feed-scroll-fest and park my behind in the living room with a chair and a rosary every night. Here’s what happened:
I became more mindful of my actions.
I can examine my life as it applies to each mystery. For example, what in my life feels like a cross right now? Where in my life have I felt the way our Lord did in the garden? How can I also turn to our Heavenly Father for help? Have people hurt me? How do I forgive them? Have I hurt people? How can I ask for forgiveness? I can promise you nothing in my life comes close to what Jesus experienced in his final hours, but it helps me focus on areas where I need to ask for help, and areas where I need to change. If he can die for me, I can try to change for him.
I reserve time for the Lord every day.
Regardless of my day, I know that every evening I have carved out time and silence for the Lord. In a world that is so busy, chaotic, and noisy, it is, by far, my favorite thing that comes with praying the rosary every evening. Sometimes it’s just silence, other times, it’s insightful.
I am not as hard on myself.
I fall asleep. Sometimes I nod off and don’t even know how I moved through two full decades. For a while, I felt bad about this, but I saw this quote from Sr. Lucia about the rosary:
“Always start it, and if you don’t finish, Our Lady will finish it.”
This also applies to my every day. If I fail and recognize I’ve done so, I have the opportunity to start over. As long as I keep trying, I’m doing my best. Being hard on myself will only discourage me from trying again; rosary included.
I learned that the rosary is a Christ-centered prayer.
There is no better model for how I need to live my life than through the life of Christ. There is also no better model for showing me how far away I am from living my life the way Christ lived his. We aren’t called to be perfect (thanks be to God) but daily reminders of what we need to work on is invaluable.
I am more at peace now than when I didn’t pray it.
My days start better; they end better. It’s up to me to keep my balling rolling through the day, and sometimes I get through it with little issue. Other times I’m ready for an examination of conscious before noon, but I’m aware. I now know that I can start fresh at any given moment. The peace that comes with accepting your imperfections makes it a lot easier to mess up, correct, and move on.
I am able to come to face-to-face with things about myself that aren’t great.
With silence and mediation, I have clear focus to reflect. Examining my whole day allows me to pray for the right reasons and ask Our Lady for help with the right things. For example, do I need patience with my kids? Or, do I need to rearrange my priorities so that they have the attention they need and don’t act up enough for me to feel my patience slipping? For me, I find a pattern in my week of the same things I keep doing. By discovering this, I can eliminate whatever is tempting me to go down the same path every single day or week.
I sleep better.
Going to bed with a clear conscience and an understanding of where I need to change my day tomorrow is better than any book, late-night show, or sleep aid.
I learned that it works.
I read somewhere that the rosary is the most powerful prayer you can say. In my six months doing this, I’ve seen, felt, and experienced small miracles hidden in regular points of my day. It doesn’t work as fast as I’d like; with a culture of instant everything, it’s hard to wait. But God works in his time not ours.
Praying the rosary like going hiking. You walk for a long time and see much of the same things such as trees, bushes, maybe some hills. After walking on and on, you suddenly come to a clearing and see the most spectacular view and you see all of your walking was finally worth it. You continue to walk back on the path with the trees, and bushes and the same forest-like things, and wait for the next viewpoint.
It’s important to remember that we have also been asked to pray the rosary daily because it helps our world, it converts sinners (ourselves included), and answers prayers we have no idea even need answering for people we will never meet. It helps the souls in purgatory — those who have no one to pray for them —and it allows you to let God bring you closer to him.
The holy rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results. — St. Josemaría Escrivá
No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the rosary. — Bishop Hugh Doyle