Thursday, February 18, 2010

What? Not the Rosary! Noooooooooo ...........

Let me put that remark in a little context.

Following my Lenten "add on" plan of attending daily Mass I went and it was like old home week. Many friends were among the little group of adults around the edges of the school children who had Mass that morning.

I felt light, thinking of what God might do during Lent to change me, but not expecting anything big. More of looking down the highway thing, if that makes sense.

Afterward I turned from a brief chat with a friend, about being left handed which is a funny thing to have a conversation about now that I think of it. And there was my friend Kim. Beaming, waiting for me. Well, nothing wrong with that. Kim and I have a connection (ok, Kim connects with tons of people). She's kind of like a spiritual beacon in some ways, in others she's solid prayer support.

Then she said those fatal words, "Do you have five minutes? We're saying the rosary back there. Do you want to come say the rosary with us?"


I have nothing against the rosary in theory or even as an occasional practice when it seems called for in my prayer life. But not with that group who whips through it so fast that you wonder how anyone can get those words out. And, hey I have lots of other things to do with my time ... you know, like going to work.

"You don't have to," she said, still beaming widely at me, "but I just thought I'd ask ..."

But I knew what it meant. She and I both knew why she was smiling. This was no ordinary request. Going to daily Mass is a good start to Lent but here was God's personal invitation sent via Kim ... to. pray. that. rosary. with. that. group.

Can you feel my foot-dragging reluctance? Can you see me shaking my head, kneeling, praying along? Can you hear me laughing? Especially right after "know well the plans I have in mind for you ..." popped into my head for no particular reason during Mass.

No angels sang. No revelations came. That's not the point. This race is to the slow, steady, and faithful. And I know where I am called to be during Lent. Right after daily Mass. For I know the plan He has for me ... saying the rosary with that little group.

For a conversation about whether God really answers prayers and how one knows, pop over to John Shore's place where there is an interesting discussion going on. Not that this was exactly an answer. More like an invitation I couldn't refuse, but enough about that ...


  1. So did ya pray the Rosary with the group?

    I pray it alone (very few Catholics here anyway), a habit I was granted late in life, and now I can't imagine a day without the Rosary.

  2. Natch. :-)

    I go in and out of occasionally saying a decade or two. I like the meditations but it just isn't something I'm devoted to.

    Plus they way they speed through it there is precious little time for meditation. However, there is no telling what may come of it. Or nothing that I may see but there still may be inestimable benefit unseen. :-)

  3. Tante Leonie2/18/10, 3:46 PM

    That would, indeed, be a penance for me!

    I feel ashamed and guilty to admit it, but I do not have a devotion to the rosary; I just don't grok how to do the meditations and say the prayers at the same time (and I'm a cradle Catholic!)

    Occasionally, I do say a few decades in Latin. Somehow, that does resonate with me, but not enough to make it a habit or devotion.

    I feel like some kind of freak or at least a very bad person for not loving or even liking the rosary. Most likely it stems from my complicated relationship with my own mother.

    I do pray to Mary and Jesus to forgive my cold heart, and ask for the gift of love and devotion to Mary, but I haven't been given it yet.

  4. I am still happy for you that you were able to recognize where this opportunity really and truly came from... I have these often and ususally miss them unless I am very aware (which I try to be albeit in not very successfully).


    What's up with all these speed faith things?

    Thru a quirk of my schedule I have been able to attend Mass once or twice during the work week in addition to Sunday. Last Friday, at a parish I don't regularly attend, the Fr celebrating the mass talked SO fast that I could barely understand the words. He talked so fast I was stressed. 20 min Mass from start to finish. I came out of that Mass not feeling so good...

  5. Tante Leonie2/18/10, 3:57 PM

    Julie -- I'm not sure where I should post this comment, but I *loved* today's horoscope.

    I am shocked, shocked, however, by these monkeys. Have they nothing to say about Edward de Vere?!!!

  6. Tante - yes, I have always defended my lackluster approach by mentioning that there are MANY sorts of prayer, including during reading (as my priest always reminds me ... he knows me well). Not being a cradle Catholic I do not feel embarrassed or guilty about it (usually - ha!).

    newguy - we are blessed by a pastor who is a brilliant homilist and he does one for every single daily Mass. Spoken with natural pacing and humor. When it is one of our less inspired homilists I have to remind myself over and over that it's not about the homily, it's not about the homily ... so I understand!

    About the horoscope ... Tante, you made ME laugh. Thank you for returning the favor! :-D

  7. Paula in Canada2/18/10, 4:49 PM

    I've had some great experiences with the rosary in an Opus Dei retreat... definite time for reflection and meditation there. I also remember once driving in the car with my daughter I almost felt like I was "there" during the sorrowful mysteries (my favourite).
    We have an hour long drive to Church every Sunday so we say it as a family in the car but I must confess, it doesn't resonate very deeply with me during these times.
    We also have the same issue at Church- the speed Rosary. I went to my first pre-meeting rosary at my first CWL meeting last week and it will be my last.
    Tante Leonie, I have a similar struggle with Mary. I have mum issues too and I am a convert from Evangelical Protestantland where I'm sure you know all about our Mary issues. I am slowly getting to know her. Some days I do feel a closeness; other days I wonder how in the world a perfect mother with a perfect child could possibly understand my very imperfect mothering skills.
    Julie, this is a wonderful blog and I am enjoying it very much. I just happened across you by "accident" this week.
    God bless you sister!

  8. You folks are certainly a blessing to me, and I am so grateful to you.

    To rephrase an old saying, anything worth doing is worth doing badly. I can't imagine any prays the Rosary perfectly, so don't burden yourself or the prayer with any sort of expectations. With practice / habit / custom God and His Mother resolve all issues for you through the gift of the Rosary.

    As for devotion to Mary, I'm a convert too, raised a Methodist in the rural South. Again, just allow Mary into your life over the years; she takes care of...oops -- must go to work.

  9. Paula, welcome and thank you!

    And, as Mack says, y'all are a true blessing to me! Thank you for speaking up and sharing. :-)

  10. Lunchtime!

    Sorry for the interruption; I have a government job and really do feel that I should actually, well, do my job.

    Tante Leonie, the last thing that anyone could say of you is to accuse you of a cold heart. A hurting heart is by definition not a cold one. I'll throw in a few Aves for ya!

  11. Oh the Rosary Race! Yes, I have heard it before Mass. I managed to avoid the Rosary at my own grandmother's funeral. All it took was ducking into the kitchen at the church for 15 minutes. Those little old Catholic ladies are FAST.

  12. Tante Leonie2/19/10, 1:03 PM


    Many, many thanks for your prayers and kind words. I appreciate it more than I can tell you.

  13. I'm a cradle Catholic and I can't pray and meditate on the Rosary at the same time, either. I pray it out of obligation, but I can't say that it does much for me. I've always felt rather defective in that respect...

  14. Tante Leonie2/19/10, 1:35 PM

    Thanks for that testimony, Ouiz; it helps to hear from others who struggle with it.

    I also take consolation from St. Therese of Lisieux who said, "It's a terrible thing to admit,but saying the Rosary takes it out of me more than any hair shirt…Try as I will, I cannot meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary. I just cannot fix my mind on them."

  15. I am able to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary but I must say that, for me, Theresa of Avila pegs it when she said that she often could not pray without a book in her hands. So we all have our problems ... :-)

  16. I am trying to start attending the daily Mass. In fact, I've changed my work schedule just so that I can! When I do go to daily Mass, I usually stay after and pray the Rosary with "the group." But you are right about how they speed through it, for all love! That's a peeve of mine. But I just offer it up.

    And now that I know you are doing daily Mass and the Rosary, I will try even harder to join in! You are my little nudge from God! :D

  17. PS: I often pray the Rosary with a book in hand. Sometimes I just can't meditate on my own.

  18. Julie,
    I have returned to the Catholic Church after having been away for about 30 years and I feel like I have been "catching up".
    Like you, I have been attending daily Mass and decided to join the ladies after Mass and say the rosary. Now when I remember saying the rosary, it was five decades. I got in the Chapel and they were adding other prayers and such and then continued to do 15 more decades! They prayed all the mysteries. I didn't even remember mysteries! Being rather ADD, I left that day. But I have since gotten used to the time constraint and realize that it is little time compared to what He did for me. :o)

  19. Neither can I meditate on the mysteries.

    One thing that has really helped with the rosary, though, is simply spending time in her presence, reciting the Hail Marys like a mantra, with my hand grasping the rosary as if I were holding her hand.

  20. Something I just remembered. When I was a very new Catholic, before I knew about meditating on the mysteries, I used to simply meditate on the prayer itself. It is so very rich in and of itself, guiding thoughts about Mary (and then discipleship) and of Jesus, the fruit of her womb, who is the center of the prayer and of all we hope to be ... I found it very rewarding that way also.

    Heather, I didn't think of offering it up. However, I did figure that next time I'm not going to recite along verbally, but just meditate while they whip through it. Hope to see you there soon! :-)

  21. I do not care for saying the Rosary in a group, but I do say Hail Marys to myself when I am doing pushups or the plank in my exercise class. It distracts me from what I am doing and maybe does me some spiritual good. :)

  22. Tante Leonie2/22/10, 10:20 AM

    Lee, that is a beautiful image!

    Funny enough, I did pretty much this thing right before I read your comment.

    This is what happened:
    I've just come off of an 18 hour migraine, where the only thing I could do was lie in a dark room with ice on my head.

    My migraine rescue meds having failed,unable to fall asleep, and going out of my mind, I remembered this post (thanks, Julie and the Holy Spirit, for the inspiration!). I couldn't blow my brains out (although I wanted to), but I could maybe pray something simple.

    So I forced myself to say the words over and over again, hanging on to them like a life-line. It surprised me how much it helped to keep me calm and rooted in the midst of the maelstrom.

    I'm forced to wonder now, if the purpose of the migraine crisis was to teach me this.

    I really love the image of holding Mary's hand, and wish I had known about it when I was migraining. I will definitely do that in the future.

    Thanks again, Lee, for posting that comment!

  23. Mother Angelica on EWTN says the rosary with her posse every day and they go very very....let's just say they are unhurried.

    The rosary is a lovely meditative prayer, but it's true power comes from saying it in a group. That's what Fatima and Lourdes were all about.

  24. Sister MM, I believe I'd have to have a bit more explanation than that before I just jumped in and began gabbling the rosary as a group ... because what you are saying sounds like a sort of multiplicative "magic" concept. Just say the words and it is so .. kind of thing. And that ain't what prayer is. Not in our faith anyway.

    So please do elaborate ... :-)