My Rosary Love Affair – Part II

Okay, this is gonna be quick because I get to go to the Celebrate Life dinner tonight and I need to leave in 10 9 minutes.

I realized yesterday that calling this my Rosary “love affair” is probably not accurate, because the term “love affair” sounds like something torrid and fleeting. Obviously, this particular love affair is neither of those!

Instead, it’s long term, and firmly committed. Oh, there are days of my life where I manage to pray a full Rosary, and there have been seasons in the last seven years where I haven’t come anywhere near a daily Rosary. But I keep coming back to it, and I miss it in the days and seasons where I don’t pray it as much.

rosary-1244875-1598x1062Once, when Bear was an infant, I was very concerned about a surgery that he had scheduled the following morning. I went to our parish’s Blessed Sacrament chapel and prayed a Rosary. Once I was done, as I knew I would, I felt a calm reassurance.

But, honestly, that reassurance wasn’t rooted in a knowledge that the surgery would go well and Bear was going to be fine. Instead, it was nestled in the knowledge that, whatever happened, God would bring us through.

I’ve heard of many Rosary miracles. There were priests who prayed the Rosary daily whose home was unscathed after the Hiroshima bombing (I’ll double check that and add a link later!), there was a girl I heard of on the radio who was skyjumping and her parachute didn’t deploy. There happened to be a group of men in a nearby field who saw her falling. They immediately started praying the Rosary, and miraculously, she landed in trees or on some soft surface that left her with only minor cuts and bruises (I’ll see if I can find that one too!)

I heard a woman on the weather channel one time who was hiding with her husband in their basement shower during a tornado. She got her rosary beads out just as she felt the wind beginning to suck them out of the basement. She began praying and the force of the wind instantly let them both go. Their house was destroyed, but they were completely fine.

I’ve never experienced a miracle like any of those, but I don’t need one. I’m perfectly the-heart-of-jesus-1442437content with the changes I can recognize in myself, as my responses to the events of life become a little more Christ- and Mary-like as a result of spending so much time thinking about how they handled situations. I’m content with the peace I feel in the midst of turbulence.

I’m content with knowing that, one day, when I before Christ, he will say, “Yes, I know you,” and I will smile and say, “Oh, my Love, I know you too. Please welcome me in so I may know more.”

I’m sure this post is riddled with typos. Forgive me! But I’m off to celebrate some life!!

My Rosary Love Affair – Part I

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary will be here in nine short days’ time. This feast has had recurring significance for me, so to do something special to mark the occasion I’ve decided to write a novena of blog posts. Over the next nine days, by the grace of God, I intend to write nine posts about the Rosary or Our Lady. I figure a good place to start is how the rosary has impacted my own life.

 

When I was a new Catholic, the Rosary seemed weird, repetitive, and overwhelming. But, I figured that, if I was going to be a Catholic, I was going to have to at least give it a shot. Thus, with the aid of a pamphlet that I had been given during RCIA, I tried praying it a few times, and was shocked to find that the prayer was nowhere near as difficult, time consuming, or boring as I’d expected .rosary-1244875-1598x1062

In fact, I actually rather enjoyed it.

I never really got into the habit of praying the Rosary, though, until a few years later. I was pregnant, in chronic pain, tired, my hormones were raging, my feelings were hurt, and I was angry. I knew that I had to face a situation with a family member, but I felt that the solution rested with her. She should admit how wrong and horrible she had been, and beg for my forgiveness.

One of the many beautiful things about the Rosary is that, whatever problems we’re facing, we can place those troubles in the hands of our Mother in Heaven, and say:

Here, Mom. Here’s what’s bothering me. Here’s what I think I need. I know that no amount of worrying about it will help. I know that no advice from an earthly friend will offer a magical solution. And I also know that, if my request is in keeping with God’s Will, you will take it and lay it at your son’s feet, adding your beautiful prayers to my own humble ones.

And then we can just leave our worries in her sweet hands – hands so much more capable than ours– and proceed to meditate, not on our own trials, tribulations, wants and needs (though inevitably those will creep into our meditation,) but instead on Christ, his great gift, his trials and tribulations, and those of his mother. As we meditate on these things, our problems are put into perspective, and we know that God will provide, as he always does.

IMG_0124.JPGThat day, feeling hurt, angry, and confused, I instinctively turned to the Rosary. When I finished praying, having meditated on Christ’s humility and mercy, I knew what I needed to do. I realized that, while my family member’s actions may not have been perfect, neither were my own. I needed to forgive her, and, moreover, I needed to swallow my pride, apologize, and seek her forgiveness.

It wasn’t easy, but my prayer had helped me to see my shortcomings, and encouraged me to follow Christ and his example.

With my Rosary love affair thus begun, I would begin to pray this beautiful prayer every day. Through this prayer, I would find healing, guidance, comfort, and so much more.

I’ll share more of the story of my love affair tomorrow.

Seven Quick Takes: Crazy, Gross, Priceless

seven-quick-takes-friday-2Here are some highlights from the past week, in which I provide new definitions for a few common words.

— 1 —

Crazy: The guy that side swipes your mirror when you’re sitting at a stop light but just keeps on driving, and then when you finally chase him down acts like you’re the nut.

— 2 —

Gross: The moment you finish folding a week’s worth of clothing and realize you’ve only folded one pair of underwear for one of your children.

(I always thought parental concern about ambulance drivers finding you in clean underwear was totally misplaced. I now realize that some kids really do run around in week-old underwear. And one of them is my own.)

— 3 —

Mary Lise eating sandwichPriceless: When your five year old has been struggling for ages to understand why we’re never in tomorrow, and then, one day, you tell her that she gets to play soccer tomorrow, and she finally yells in frustration, “But dare’s nevuh a tomowoh!”

— 4 —

Trouble: When you get an email from the vice principle stating that your children have been tardy too many times. And it’s only the sixth week of school.

— 5 —

True love: When you’ve gone slightly crazy trying to get the kids off to school ten minutes earlier than usual (see #4) while working around last night’s dinner dishes, your hubby steps in to clean up the mess, and is still washing dishes when you get home fifteen minutes later.

— 6 —

Excitement: Seeing the cover of your book for the first time, and loving it.

— 7 —


Great reading: The Rosary: The Prayer That Saved My Life by Imaculee Ilibigaza.

(A survivor of the Rwandan genocide, the story she shares of the graces and miracles she experienced through praying the Rosary during three months of confinement, hiding from blood thirsty maniacs. If you’re not already a Rosary person, you will be after reading this. If you are a Rosary person, you’ll be more committed to it than ever.)

(The link above is an affiliate link. If you click on it, you’ll be linked to Amazon. Then, if you add any item to your cart and purchase it, I’ll receive a tiny commission. I appreciate it your support!)

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

 

The Seven Sorrows Devotion

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. In recognizing this day, we remember and reflect upon the sufferings Mary endured because she was the mother of Christ. We unite our suffering with hers, and with Christ’s, and we recognize the value of her intercession, especially as she understands and empathizes with our own sorrows and sufferings.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are:Our_Lady_of_Sorrows2

  1. The prophecy of Simeon
  2. The flight into Egypt
  3. Losing the child Jesus at the temple
  4. Meeting Jesus as he carried his cross
  5. The crucifixion
  6. The removal of the body of Jesus from the cross
  7. The burial of Jesus

By meditating upon these sorrows daily, the devout are given seven promises, among them a peaceful home and visible help at the moment of their death. Our Lady also promises to console them in their pains and accompany them in their work.

The Church has so many beautiful devotions, I find myself flowing from one to the other as seasons of my life change. While the Rosary remains the foundation for all my devotions, the Seven Sorrows devotion is one I find particularly beautiful and reasonably easy to work into my days. It takes only a few minutes, and yet gives me valuable time to reflect on Christ’s suffering and death, and the toll that those events must have taken on his mother. I reflect on her Godly response, and how I can respond to suffering in my own life in a manner more like hers. It reminds me to recognize the difficulties in my life as opportunities to unite myself more thoroughly to Christ, to truly take up my cross and follow him.

We are all broken, we are all sinners, and we all face trials and tragedies. There have been countless times when I have responded to those challenges in graceless ways, and there have been some – comparatively, a sad few – where I have responded with love, grace, hope, and even joy. Those times are the result of time spent meditating upon the Rosary and other devotions, such as the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.

Whether you are facing trials today or not, I hope you will experience this devotion for yourself. As Christians, we are assured of joy, yet we are also most certainly assured of crosses. Without proper preparation, our hearts will not be able to experience the joys hidden in those crosses.

For more information about the Seven Sorrows Devotion, click here.

For a beautiful Bible study on the Seven Sorrows, by my friend, author Beth Leonard, click here.

**This post includes Amazon affiliate links. If you click on those links, and add anything to your cart, I will receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!**

Roses for Mary

Today is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. As if they were keeping track of the calendar, my otherwise fallow rose bushes, which appear to have been planted twenty years ago and remained untended for the last ten, have produced two beautiful roses in celebration.

IMG_9986.JPGBonita’s religion teacher assigned a project over the weekend to give the Blessed Mother a birthday present of seven prayers, seven charitable acts, and seven acts of mortification. This probably would have been simple, had Bonita been thinking of it all weekend. But, alas, being her mother’s daughter (as in my daughter, not the Blessed Mother’s, in this case!), she put it off till five o’clock last night, at which point in time she began frantically searching for opportunities to fulfill the assignment. This made for quite a lovely evening for me, since she helped make dinner, set the table, and cleaned up afterwards.

IMG_9989.JPGWhile Bonita’s intentions may not have been the most pure and holy (completing an assignment, rather than seeking to please God through Mary), I think it was a very worthy exercise to get the children thinking along those lines of how we can show our love for God. It certainly has me thinking of things I can do to offer Our Lady small birthday gifts throughout the day – things such as going to Mass, spending extra time in prayer, performing acts of kindness such as holding a door or smiling when Bear spills juice all over my freshly mopped floor, and acts of mortification like foregoing that second third cup of coffee…

The possibilities are endless, really, and each one adds up to become a beautiful bouquet of roses, offered to Our Lady. In offering our thoughts, words, and deeds to her, she packages them more perfectly, more beautifully, more fragrantly than we ever could and delivers them at the feet of her son, a wonderful offering made out of love for her. We love her because she loves the Son. We honor her because she, above all created beings, honors the Son. We follow her because she will always lead us to the Son.

May her words become our words:

“I am the handmaid of the Lord,” and “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

In honoring her, may we more perfectly follow her directive:

“Do whatever he tells you to do.”