Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. (St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 3,24:PG 94,1089C).While prayer may not change our circumstances, it always changes our heart. It brings us closer to God in a way that allows him in to comfort us, guide us, and occasionally, reveal his plan for us. At the very least, communication with God always brings peace. The Catholic faith offers many beautiful devotions, each able to reach the faithful, who come to prayer with many different communication styles. God created each of us to be unique and unrepeatable; therefore, it stands to reason that he would then provide a multitude of ways to communicate with him.
The Rosary Offers Something For EveryoneThe Rosary checks off so many prayer experience boxes for me. The Rosary gives me something to fidget with, think about, hear if I am praying aloud, and when I use my rose-scented beads, it also provides me something to smell. This devotion, which I struggled to incorporate into my prayers for much of my life, has become such a beautiful gift. The Rosary allows me to (literally) hold onto something, especially when I'm in the midst of a struggle. There have been times in my life where the words would not come, yet merely holding this beautiful sacramental brought me comfort and hope. The prayers of the Rosary have been referred to by St. John Paul II as the School of Mary. Meditating upon the Mysteries of the Rosary, we learn so much about who Jesus is and how he wants to be a part of our lives. Furthermore, meditating upon the life of Jesus with Mary, we learn that she had many adversities, yet she never lost her joy and her hope. Praying with her to Our Lord provides us this opportunity to grow in faith guided by a loving mother.
"The Rosary ends wars."A priest spoke these profound words during a retreat on family and faith; maybe these words struck a deeper chord because I was sitting in a military base at the time. Venerable Patrick Peyton, one of my favorites within my saint posse, surely understood this when he coined, "A world at prayer is a world at peace." "The Rosary helps end wars," he went on to say, "not only wars in our world, as with Fatima and World War I, but the many wars in our lives. Those wars that rage within our hearts, our bodies, our families."
What Battles in Your Life Need a Brigade?Praying the Rosary has helped me battle those wars raging within, invisible to others. In my case, the wars of acute anxiety, AD/HD, and insecurity. Physically, I battle chronic inflammation and disfiguring dishydrotic eczema, which leaves me feeling itchy, embarrassed, and uncomfortable. Some days, praying is difficult. Some days, I do not want to pray. Some days, when I am particularly beaten down by my internal conflicts, prayer seems like a futile task. There are days, all I can muster is to hold onto my Rosary like a lifeline, waiting for the Blessed Mother to reel me under the protection and care of her mantle. I grasp my Rosary, comforted by the feel of the beads, even when the words fail to come. Someone once told me holding those beads was like holding Mary's hand. Who, she added, doesn't love holding their momma's hand? St Lucia, one of the Fatima seers, said, "There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary." I love that expression. It is clear the world is filled with a myriad of problems, but none of them are above the reach of God.
Copyright 2019 Allison Gingras
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.