Today you will do it. You will get through it. You will pray the Rosary! Queen of the Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary…
Suddenly, the world intrudes. Your husband can’t find his socks. You start to compile your grocery list instead of meditating. When your toddler bumps is head and needs a kiss, you decide you will finish praying later. But later comes and goes, and suddenly it is 11:30pm and you have not finished the Rosary. Those hidden treasures of grace will have to wait for another time.
Sound familiar? No matter where you are in your Rosary devotion, novice or expert, I am sure that you have experienced some form of distractions or interruptions while praying and perhaps have even given up praying because of this. These stumbling blocks are scattered along everyone’s path, but with the grace of God they can be overcome. I present to you will open up new possibilities for you, to give you a way to find the time and inspiration throughout each day to pray an entire 15 Mysteries, and offer a simple, prayerful and gentle way of sanctifying your soul.
Prayer has commonly been compared to breathing and for a good reason. Prayer is as important to the soul as breathing is to the body. Yet, unlike breathing, you have to make a conscience effort to pray. And for busy homeschooling mothers, we are sometimes tempted to skip the Rosary and toss up a few quick prayers instead, forgetting how prayer gives life to our souls.
I myself was plagued with stumbling blocks and I actually stopped praying the Rosary for about a year. When I finally picked up my Rosary again, I went to St. Louis for advice. I read his book, The Secret of the Rosary and realized that it was a direct answer to my prayers. He tells souls who are unable to pray 15 decades all at once,
“I advise you to divide up your Rosary into three parts and to say each group of mysteries (five decades) at a different time of day. This is much better than saying the whole 15 decades all at once.
If you cannot find the time to say a third part of the Rosary all at one time, say it gradually, a decade here and there. I am sure you can manage this; so that, in spite of your work and all the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole Rosary before going to bed.”
I was so freed when I read this! With my priest’s blessing, I incorporated the Saint’s first method of praying the Rosary by asking for specific graces and virtues with each Mystery, and broke up the Rosary into manageable pieces. I was actually praying the Rosary again, and I was astounded at my rapid growth in virtues. At last those hidden treasures were being revealed to me!
I soon spent each day completely immersed in Our Lady and Our Lord’s life, living the Rosary and actively working on the sanctification of my soul as I went about my day. I learned to breathe the Rosary - to inhale the Mysteries and exhaled the grace.
Lets take a look at how easy and fruitful this method really is. Begin the Rosary in the morning, around 6:00am if you can. St. Louis announces the Mysteries with a little prayer, asking for the grace or virtue attached to each one. The Annunciation prayer is:
We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this first decade in honor of Thy incarnation and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy most Holy Mother, a profound humility.
Place yourself in the room with Mary as the Annunciation takes place. Inhale the scene, absorb the lesson, let it fill you. Ponder the perfect acts of humility unfolding before you. “Let it be done to me according to his will…” Pray the decade as reverently as possible, inhaling deeply the entire Mystery.
As you pray the Annunciation, try to picture the usual situations you run into in the morning and visualize an actual plan on how to handle them with humility. Ask Mary to obtain for you the humility you need to get through the next hour of the day. Just one hour.
After the Glory Be, stop and then go about your usual activities. For the next hour you are going to exhale the grace you just prayed for. Humility. In every interaction you have with others, whether it be your children, your husband, the garbage man or just yourself. Humility.
The Annunciation is a joyful moment, a challenge, and a heroic chance to say “Yes!” to whatever it is God is calling us to do at any moment. Talk to Mary. She will begin to show you pieces of the Annunciation that mirror your own situations during this hour in the most amazing ways. Live humbly from 6 to 7:00am. That is all.
So what happens at 7:00? If you are in the middle of changing a diaper or chasing the dog, don’t’ panic. Live humbly through the interruption and know that God is asking something else of you at the moment and you will return to your prayer in a minute. But right around 7:00am, return to your room or prayer space for a moment. Kneel down and review your hour. Where were you blessed with humility? Where did you fall? This is a mini examination of conscience for you. Make the Sign of the Cross and pray, the Fatima Prayer:
“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.” Then pray, “Grace of the mystery of the Incarnation, come down into my soul and make it truly humble.”
Have about 5 seconds of silence and then inhale the next Mystery: the Visitation, for perfect charity towards our neighbor.
The beauty of this method, for me, is that I can spend the whole day with Our Lady. I spend from 6 to 6:05 inhaling the Annunciation. From 6:05 to 7:00 I am exhaling the grace, trying to live in the example of humility Mary is showing me.
From 7 to 7:05 I make myself account for my failings, ask for forgiveness and then inhale the Visitation. From 7:05 to 8:00am I exhale, in my own imperfect way, charity towards my neighbors. My husband, the children, the person who just pulled out in front of me on the highway, and to myself. I relive the Visitation during that hour and try my hand at being charitable. I am reminded that the greatest act of charity is to bring Christ to others, just as Mary brought Christ to Elizabeth. At 8:00 I take another moment to recollect the past hour. How did I do? Can I gather strength in my successes, thanking Our Lady for showing me how to be humble? Can I find my failings and pray for guidance next time I am tempted to pride?
The following is a list of the 15 Mysteries and their “treasures” as St. Louis de Montfort presents them. Use this list as a basic framework for your day.
Annunciation - Humility
Visitation – charity towards our neighbor
Nativity – detachment from things of this world, love of poverty and love of the poor.
Presentation - the gift of wisdom and purity of heart and body.
Finding in the Temple - to convert us and help us amend our lives, and also to convert all sinners, heretics, schismatics and idolaters.
Agony in the Garden of Olives - perfect sorrow for our sins and the virtue of perfect obedience to Thy Holy Will.
Scourging - the grace to mortify our senses perfectly.
Crowning with thorns - a great contempt of the world.
Carrying Thy cross - give us great patience in carrying our cross in Thy footsteps every day of our life.
Crucifixion on Mount Calvary - a great horror of sin, a love of the Cross and the grace of a holy death for us and for those who are now in their last agony.
Resurrection - a lively faith.
Ascension - a firm hope and a great longing for Heaven.
Pentecost - Thy holy wisdom so that we may know, really love and practice Thy truth, and make all others share in it.
Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Thy Holy and Blessed Mother - the gift of true devotion to her to help us live and die holily.
Coronation - the grace of perseverance, an increase in virtue until death that we may receive our eternal crown. Ask the same grace for all the just and for all benefactors.
If you want to honor Our Lady and make an honest effort to try to overcome bad habits and develop a virtuous soul, this method keeps you right on track. Vigilent, in fact! Every person you come across, every situation, every moment of every day is an opportunity for sanctification. Do not try to go throughout day on empty lungs. Really take in Mystery when praying. But do not hold your breath too long, either. Exhale the graces that come to you from your prayers throughout day. You must exhale to practice the virtue!
When I die, I want to die somewhere between inhaling and exhaling, so that my last dying breath that leaves my body will be filled with an effort and attempt to practice and spread the grace. We are all called to sanctity and many paths to choose from on our way to Sainthood. I choose to take my path one breath at a time. Fifteen stairs and 15 breaths a day brings me closer to Our Lady and to Him. Progress. Success is not as important as the effort. The effort comes from what is in your heart. When you inhale these Mysteries and exhale the grace, it all passes through our hearts, doesn’t it? And that is what Our Lord will be looking for when we go to meet Him.
Put your hearts in Our Lady’s hands and breathe the Rosary to help us know God, so that we can love Him and find ways of serving Him, surely we will find the hidden treasures of grace she promises are there.
For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. Mtt.6:21