If you asked me just a few short years ago how I liked to pray, I would name everything from a holy hour in Eucharistic adoration to novenas or the Mass, but not the Rosary. Simply put, I was not naturally drawn to the Rosary. I felt like it took too much time to pray, and I was embarrassed that I needed to have a guidebook to pray each of the Mysteries correctly, even though I had been an active Catholic from childhood. I struggled to connect meditations on each mystery to my own life. However, after my daughter was born three years ago, a close friend noted her birthday was on the feast day as Our Lady of the Rosary, I took this as God’s way to inspire me to finally make a commitment to the prayer I’d been avoiding.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the 15 – 20 minutes to pray the Rosary was not that long, and with daily practice using a Catholic prayer app, Laudate, the prayers began to take root in my heart, so I didn’t need a “how to” guide to pray the Rosary anymore. But, I still felt stuck on how to meditate on each mystery — Jesus simply felt too far away from me in my present time. Every mystery felt like a piece of history and not someone working in the world here and now.
Just a few months into my new devotion, I hit a really rough time. My baby was in a sleep regression, I felt lonely, and people I loved were going through illnesses and other personal challenges. One day in particular, too many things were going wrong and I was overwhelmed by… everything. I sat in the middle of my living room with the kids’ toys strewn all over the floor, laundry half folded, a pile of dishes from breakfast and lunch waiting to be cleaned, and hearing the baby that I had just put down for a nap wake up crying. Feeling incredibly lonely, vulnerable, and sad I began to pray and cry out to God. “I know that this is part of being a mom, Lord, but couldn’t you make this just a bit easier?”
As it so happened, it was a day that the Sorrowful Mysteries are typically prayed. As I sat down with my Rosary and approached each mystery, I kept finding myself distracted by my earlier lamenting. Then, it hit me — I had been in my own personal agony in the garden earlier with Christ. It was a type of suffering I was currently living and breathing with his presence, albeit a tiny fraction of what he actually endured. Christ continued to illuminate that each of the five Sorrowful Mysteries were not something distant from the past, but real opportunities in my life right now to be with him.
I experience an image of Christ’s scourging at the pillar and crowning with thorns when unkind words are said to me or I feel the humiliation of being the butt of someone’s joke. I walk with Christ carrying his cross when I choose each morning to lovingly accept the difficult tasks of the day such as having that hard conversation at work or taking care of my children even when tired or worn out. Lastly, when meditating on the fifth Sorrowful Mystery of the crucifixion, I was taken to all those little moments of the day where my husband sacrificed something for me or our kids — an act of self-giving love like staying up later to clean the dishes or taking the early morning feeding so I can get an extra bit of sleep. There was not a moment that Christ’s presence was missing or hidden — he was there in it all.
After that Rosary, I realized just how powerful and valuable this form of prayer can be. Every Rosary, we pray we have that opportunity to view our ordinary pieces of the day through the extraordinary life of Christ. We are able to live each day and be with Christ in each of the Mysteries of the Rosary — in our sorrows, joys, frustrations, and the ordinary moments of daily life.