“Okay, kids, let’s pray the Rosary!” I call to the back seat, as we settle in for a long drive. Anytime we are in the car for more than 20 minutes, I figure it’s the perfect time to pray a Rosary together.
My kids moan and groan. They would rather listen to music or an audiobook or just stare out the window. I understand how they feel, because I felt the same way as a child.
“I know you guys don’t want to pray with me,” I say with a smile. “I know because I felt the same way when I was little. My mom and dad would always pray the Rosary with us on long car rides, too. I never wanted to pray with them. I used to pretend I was asleep just so I wouldn’t have to join in!”
My kids laugh at that. Then one of them pipes up, “Then why are you making us pray? We don’t want to either!”
I have an answer for that too. “It’s because I know some things now that I’m an adult that I didn’t understand when I was your age,” I explain. “I know what the Rosary will mean to you, someday.”
The Rosary is a gift
There will come a day in your life, I tell them, when it feels like your entire world is crashing down around you. I wish I could prevent it from happening, but I can’t. And I don’t know what it is that will happen to make you feel that way. All I know is that suffering and sorrow are totally unavoidable realities in this mortal world, and one day, you will face them for yourself.
When that day comes, I may not be there to help you and support you. But somebody else will be there, somebody who loves you even more than I do.
Our mother in Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, will be there with you. It has never been known that anyone who fled to her protection was left unaided. Her Rosary is a sign of that protection.
When that day comes, you may be left so shaken that you cannot even find the words to voice a prayer to God. Your heart may cry out in agony, but your mind cannot give form to the words. The pain is too great to be voiced.
Then what a gift it will be to have the words of the Rosary, memorized, written forever on your heart. When your own words fail, the words of Scripture that make up the Our Fathers and Hail Marys will still be there and accessible to you.
“That’s why I teach you these prayers,” I say, “so you will always have them with you when you need them.”
A lifeline to Heaven
“In that dark moment, when the words of the Rosary are all that you can think to voice, the Rosary will be your lifeline. When the gales of life beat you back and forth, and you feel as though you are drowning, cling tightly to the Rosary. It will be the rope that connects you from the raging sea to the ship, the Ark of Salvation,” I explain. “I want to give you this gift. I want you to have this life preserver in life’s storms.”
I know that the Rosary is a lifeline between heaven and earth, and that connection is one I hope they will hold tightly all their lives.
My kids stop grumbling and agree to pray with me, and I promise we can play their music when we’re done.
“Besides, there’s one other reason I’m making you pray the Rosary,” I say. “I know you’re going to thank me for it someday.”
“How do you know that?” one of them asks, suspiciously.
“Because I’m glad my mom and dad made me pray the Rosary, even when I didn’t want to,” I say. “I’m thankful for it every day. And I know someday you will be, too.”