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How YouTube has recharged my prayer life


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Sarah Robsdottir - published on 10/25/21

The time stamp in the corner is indisputable: The Rosary takes 15 minutes, 12 seconds; not a "million trillion years ..."

I sometimes imagine — with great confidence in God’s mercy — reaching heaven one day. I’ll chat with the heroes who have gone before me. 

St. Margaret will go first: “I prayed on my knees all through the night on a cold stone floor.” 

Joan of Arc will sigh, remembering those harsh days of pilgrimage on earth, “My devotion was the Rosary,” she’ll say, “especially when I was shackled to the wall in a prison’s dungeon!”  

That’s when I’ll sink down in my chair, embarrassed to admit that the only way I could stick to any sort of formal prayer time was to … well, let’s just say my contribution will go something like this: 

I couldn’t say the rosary without watching YouTube — the way the graphics and the leader’s voice engaged my senses of sight and of sound. Also, to have someone else lead me; it was such a relief to simply respond …

Because — you see — I’m a prayer weakling. But if St. Paul could revel in his weakness, if he was able to find God’s strength where his own fell short, so can I! (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I talk with Jesus all the time, and find it as simple as breathing. But this type of continuous, walking with Our Lord type of prayer is not enough for me, because it’s constantly interrupted — especially in this season of mothering and homeschooling my seven sons. 

I yearn for something deeper, a concrete time set apart to commune with God in a more meaningful way. And I always gravitate back to the Rosary, the prayer of the saints that allows us to (as I’ve come to experience it) step outside of time with Mary, our constant Mother; to trust her to take all of our needs to her Son, as we meditate on His life together. 

But as a modern gal with a touch of ADHD who wasn’t raised Catholic, there’s been a steep learning curve to acquiring a Rosary habit. I’ll pick up the beads for a few weeks at a time; grow bored, discouraged, and try something new, always telling myself that I don’t have to say the Rosary (which is true — there’s nothing in Scripture or tradition that requires it).

Then I’ll come across quotes like these ones from folks I admire greatly, holy heroes who found strength and comfort in the discipline, and I know I’m missing out: 

The Rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the Rosary is beyond description. ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen


The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results. ~St. Josemaria Escriva


 The Rosary is the Bible on a string. ~Fr. Ronan Murphy

But I think my favorite quote came from my 10-year-old son Henry the other night. He wandered in the room as I was finishing up praying with the Catholic Crusade, my favorite YouTube channel because the leaders have the most awesome Philadelphia accents (reminding me of my parents who live in the area). 

“I liked the Rosary better that time,” Henry said quietly, “The pictures were good and it didn’t take a million trillion years.” Amen, Henry. I couldn’t agree more. 

***A few other favorite YouTube hacks: The Rosary with Scripture is pretty awesome (it takes only 6 minutes longer than a traditional Rosary). And if you’re pressed for time The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is super quick, but an awesome way to open yourself up to more grace! 

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