October is the month of the rosary. You may find yourself just learning how to pray it, unsure of why it’s such a cherished prayer, wanting to start but finding it difficult to fit into a busy day, already committed to a daily rosary, or even simply not feeling called to this particular devotion. Wherever you are, the rosary can serve as a model for the daily Christian effort to make our lives a prayer – threading ordinary activities together and lifting them to the Lord in love.
1. Ask Mom
A mom’s touch improves the imperfect and softens the difficult. Mary wants to guide our searching steps to Jesus. She desires to make our way easier, and help us present our best to the Lord. Her touch can work wonders with our half-patient responses to our kids, failed attempts to stay on top of things, and interrupted prayers.
Consecrate your day to Mary in the morning and ask her to present it to the Lord as you crawl into bed. Your life can be like the far-strung beads of a rosary, gathered by Mary, and taken to Christ.
2. Surrender the Rhythm
The rosary’s calming rhythm occupies our fingers and lips, freeing our minds for higher things: entrance into the sacred moments of the lives of Jesus and Mary. At times, these “higher things” may not come to our distracted minds, but the rhythm brings a certain peace as it leads us through the prayer anyway. We reach out to the Lord. We trust that He holds us.
Our own lives have a certain rhythm: daily routines, changing weather and seasons, “that time of the month,” good moments and bad ones. Our minds may or may not open to higher things in the daily march. Whenever conscious of it, reach out to the Lord by surrendering your “now” to him – exuberant or monotonous or challenging. Keep on living. Keep on loving. You are in the Lord’s hands.
3. Offer for Another
We can “offer a rosary” for a friend who’s down, a family member who’s out of work, a child who’s searching. We are moved by the understanding that reciting our prayers with Mary and lifting our minds to God can bring much needed help to others which we ourselves cannot provide. It’s called intercession.
Offer your day as an intercessory prayer for a specific person or situation. Name them in the morning and bring them to mind as you wash the dishes, wait for your digital device to turn on, or drive to the grocery store. Keep your eyes open to see the added motivation this brings to your life, and what graces it brings to those for whom you pray your day!
4. See your Life as “Mystery”
The Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries of the rosary are real occurrences in the lives of Jesus and Mary. When we pray, we ponder how God acted in these concrete moments of life, and how Jesus and Mary responded.
God acts in the concrete moments of our lives too. Are our hearts disposed to see His presence and action in the occurrences of our day? How do we respond? You are living your own Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries: see God there with you in all the day’s occurrences and follow Jesus and Mary’s lead in how you respond. Your daily life is a “mystery” to ponder, a Presence to discover. Who knew?! You can be a busy, ordinary, modern contemplative!
5. Invite the Unifying Factor
Looking at a physical rosary, you can see that it is the cord or chain that links the whole thing together. In the course of a day, or over a life-time, what is that cord that can order our varied activities, scattered thoughts, and conflicting feelings into a meaningful whole? A story comprehensible for ourselves and a powerful witness for those around us?
Invite the Holy Spirit to come and breathe through all the “beads” that make up your daily life. Let that Spirit be the unifying factor that holds you together. When you smell your morning coffee, when you have to bite your tongue to stop an unkind word, or when you just don’t know . . . “Come, Holy Spirit!” The Sanctifier will come and make your ordinary life a bouquet of roses, fragrant and pleasing to the Lord.
As we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7), let’s each ask her how she recommends we personally take a step closer to her Son this month. Perhaps one of the ideas above becomes your focus, or maybe she’ll bring something else to your attention. Whatever she tells your heart, live it as a child – simply, imperfectly, but oh-so-confidently in the love of the God who gave us such a mother!