A few months ago, a friend suggested we pray a daily rosary. Actually, she suggested a 15-decade daily rosary. We were both tired, frustrated and stressed to the limit. We had exhausted all the typical remedies for this state of being.
Veterans of the 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 15-decade rosary every day. And she was pretty certain I was supposed to do the same. The 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, 20 for me.
I bought a CD so that I could turn driving time, walking time, and bed time into rosary time. Really, the Holy Spirit did the pointing and clicking this time. I bought Praying the Rosary with St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
This beautiful CD has it all. Lovely Gregorian chant in the background. Soothing voices of prayer. And every Hail Mary is preceded by a quote from the Little Flower. Those quotes have worked their way into my soul, they are becoming me…or I am becoming them. Either way, through the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother, that elusive peace is happening. I have carried the two-disc CD everywhere I could and listened and prayed in snatches throughout the day.
A side-effect of the omnipresent rosary CD is that my children are hearing the same prayers, the same meditations, when they are with me in the car. My daughter’s devotion to St. Thérèse and to the Blessed Mother has grown obviously since our rosary devotion began. Those quotes are touching her, too. I can only imagine what kind of fruit those seeds will bear when planted in a soul so young.
When it became a bit increasingly difficult (pregnancy brain?) to remember to bring the CD in from the van every time I came in, and when I grew weary of running outside in my pajamas to retrieve it before bedtime, I bought another CD. I was going to buy a copy of the same one, but decided instead to change things a bit. One of my favorite local priests, Father Francis Peffley, has teamed with Irish tenor Mark Forrest and his wife Muriel to make a lovely rosary CD dedicated to peace and life. Perfect. I need peace in my house that’s teeming with life! It’s called Through the Eyes of His Mother.
And there are times when I want or need to pray when a CD just isn’t practical. Those are the times to finger the 5-in-1 rosary memory bracelet. On one side of the crucifix are 10 tan-colored beads which stay fixed when I slide them. On the other side, are four red-and-blue beads to keep track of mysteries and decades. With this handy reminder tucked in a pocket or worn on a wrist, the rosary can become a continuous prayer all day long.
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 15 of hers for me and days when I reciprocate. There are nights when my husband is traveling and the rosary CD is my comfort and consolation at the end of a trying day. It’s the only way I can get to sleep.
My friend and I are both unable to complete the entire rosary in one “sitting” (perhaps because we rarely sit). 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.
Elizabeth Foss is a freelance writer from northern Virginia. To visit her blog click here.
(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)