Because sometimes you've gotta "think outside the beads"!
“Maybe we should say a novena for them!” I chimed, because I’m the biggest Catholic faker in the world.
I was pushing my kid on a swing on a beautiful fall day as a friend filled me in on a local family in crisis. I made the suggestion not knowing that October is the Month of the Rosary. I had no clue, probably because I’m Rosary impaired. Seriously, I find it HARD; so long and repetitive and the whole part about sitting still … but what if there’s a way to make it easier? I’ll tell you about the hacks my kids and I have come up with in just a second.
First, let me back up – since the novena (which was my idea) turned into a 54-day novena (which was TOTALLY not my idea), I was bound and determined to give it my all. I wish my intentions were pure – to see a happy resolution to my friend’s crisis. But to be honest, I was a little more into the challenge of finally figuring out what this Rosary is all about.
While now and again I’ve “clacked the beads” of this scriptural prayer that dates back to the 13th century, I always fall back on the extempore prayers of my Evangelical upbringing. And even though I love the personal style of my childhood, I often yearn for a deeper, more meditative experience.
Little did I know it would come over a sink full of dishes.
“Help me out, Henry,” I begged my 9-year-old the other night in the kitchen. My rosary started off on the counter but fell on the floor and got carried away by the baby. So we counted out loud while I cleaned up dinner, “The Visitation – One: Hail Mary full of grace … Two: Hail Mary full of grace … ” and so on, praying together while we worked.
Henry smiled, enjoying the time alone with me. We finished a few decades like this and as I dried my hands, I realized it was incredibly pleasant to meditate on the life of Christ rather than the things I usually stew about while I’m washing dishes (finances, family drama, how my crusty countertops make it look like we have an infestation of squirrels).
Seriously, it’s only been about a week, but I’m loving the “thought direction” the daily Rosary is giving my life. Since I’m rotten at sitting still, my seven sons and I are breaking it up throughout the day and praying while putting away laundry or making beds; sometimes we end up shouting the Hail Marys aloud in the van, as seven boys don’t do things quietly. We finished a decade this way on the way home from soccer and I thought, “Hey – that kept them from fighting!”
No wonder so many saints love this prayer! Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said: “The Rosary is the best therapy for those distraught, unhappy, fearful and frustrated souls precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal and the spiritual.”
He also said, “The Rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known.”
That’s exactly the “deep and meditative” I’d been looking for. Still, I’m not even half-way through this mega-novena, so say a prayer for me!