I'm giving away a set of crochet roses featured in this post. See below to enter!
Little people are busy. And needy. And no matter how intently the two-year-old insists he can put on his shoes by himself, he will inevitably attach the velcro strap to the drawstring of his pants and cry, cry, cry because his shorts are stealing his shoes (or something). The kindergartner Simply Will Not Leave without the sparkly doggy purse no one has seen since last summer, and the nine-year-old has to catch the Pokemon hiding under the couch. Suddenly, the spare 15 minutes to get everyone in the car and buckled becomes a “We’re 20 minutes late!” drive of desperation.
Every day is like this for me, plus the added bonus of laundry that multiplies, dirty dishes that appear out of nowhere, bellies that always need feeding, and the husband who leaves his dirty socks on the stairwell (oh how I love you, you sock-shunning man).
I barely have time to get dressed in the morning before someone or something needs my attention. All of this leaves little room for dedicated prayer. My average lately is a minute in the shower, 30 seconds when asking for patience (don’t ever ask for that), a full minute when he gives me the chance to practice patience (really, don’t ever ask for that) and 30 seconds before drifting off for the night.
What a change from my college years! My friends and I would gather in the dorm common room to pray the rosary. I could volunteer in youth ministry and go on fantastic retreats. I could go to perpetual adoration and not worry about the sick or nursing child I was leaving behind. I didn’t notice the toll this shift had taken until recently when my temper started flaring. I began to make prayer a priority, as my family (and my sanity) needed a mother grounded in grace.
It started with the rosary, the prayer I dreaded in grade school because of its length. I credit my children for this transition, as it was in watching them that I began to contemplate Mary’s life as a mother. How did she handle teething? Did Jesus ever have tantrums? Was he a picky eater? Did he say things that made her laugh out loud? The challenge and joy of Mary’s young motherhood pulled me to the anguish of the crucifixion and ecstasy of his resurrection. It seemed fitting that I, a mother, should take part in a devotion so close to her heart.
The first challenge was finding time for the devotion, but prayerfully asking for the opportunity presented a variety of options. I share them here in the hope that they might facilitate your own family’s devotion to the rosary.
If you’d like to pray the rosary on your own:
Pray while exercising: The repetitive nature of the rosary is perfect for meditation, but also for interval training, too. As a runner, I alternate jogging and sprinting with each Hail Mary, followed by a short cool down as I recite the prayers between decades. A full rosary ends up being a half hour(ish) workout, and you can apply it to any sort of aerobic exercise. Check out Peggy Bowes’ The Rosary Workout for more information and ideas.
Pray while feeding the baby: Babies have ten fingers and ten toes - perfect for two decades of the rosary. Snuggle your babe in close and meditate on the Joyful mysteries.
Pray when you can’t sleep: Whether you are suffering insomnia or up with a sick child, the rosary is a prayerful way to pass the time. It’s also a powerful way to surrender your cares and lift your intentions.
Pray in the car: In traffic? Pray the rosary. Long drive? Pray the rosary. Can’t find a parking spot? Pray the rosary.
If you'd like to pray the rosary with your children:
Get them their own rosaries: Having a personal rosary promotes ownership of the devotion. We have two with large wooden beads, but you also can find rosaries with silicone beads, perfect for little hands that end up in mouths.
Use manipulatives: Longer prayers can be hard on short attention spans. Use a variety of manipulatives, such as blocks, pompoms, Cheerios or m&ms to keep track of your progress. Some online sellers craft crochet roses that are perfect for little hands during prayer time.
(Want to win a set of crochet roses? I'm running a giveaway through October 6!)
Make it active: Cut circles out of paper and tape a life size rosary to your wall. Add to a paper chain with every decade you say. Choose a person or intention and post a picture for each decade. Each activity leaves a physical reminder of your spiritual endeavor.
If you'd like to pray the rosary with your husband:
Make it a date: Mass with littles can be tough. Why not find a sitter and pray the rosary during Adoration, following it up with dinner or a movie. If the budget is tight, ask a neighbor to stay with the kids for half an hour while you walk around the block and pray.
During nap time: I know it’s sacred, valued time, but what better way to spend it? I even give you permission to park the non-nappers in front of a screen. It’s only half an hour.
After the kids go to bed: Our modus operandi used to be burying ourselves in our devices until our eyes closed. But now we turn them off and pray the rosary together, instead.
If you'd like to pray the rosary with friends:
Start a rosary club: It’s like a supper club, but with prayer! Get your families together for a potluck and rosary session, or make it a couples-only evening out.
Go on a pilgrimage: Take a mom’s afternoon out to a local shrine or prayer garden. Pray the rosary together as you walk the grounds. .
Find a group: Many parishes have prayer apostolates. Join one or start your own.
Praying the rosary has brought so many blessings to my house. I’m grateful that God moved me toward this devotion. What about you and your experience? Is your devotion to the rosary just beginning or well loved? How do you incorporate the rosary into your daily life?
If you'd like to win a set of crochet roses for your family, enter the giveaway here.
Copyright 2016 Ginny Kochis