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Monica Portogallo considers how Satan takes advantage of our distraction in prayer, tempting us to stop praying.

Lately, when I sit down in the morning to pray the Rosary, at least five things I need to do pop into my head. If you could read my thoughts, they would go something like this:

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with -- *Oh, I forgot to respond to my supervisor’s email* -- thee. Blessed art thou among -- *Did I pay the electric bill last week?* -- women, and blessed is the Fruit-- *I need to get my nephew a birthday present* --of Thy womb ...

I know part of this phenomenon is that in daily life, I distract myself too much. When I quietly focus on meditating on the Rosary, things I have forgotten can come out of hiding more easily. Still, part of me wonders if Satan takes advantage of the situation to tempt me to stop praying or cut my Rosary short.

I do have a tendency toward perfectionism and fear forgetting the things I need to do. It makes sense that a great way to tempt me to end my Rosary after just one decade is to remind me of things I need to do. After all, none of the things on my to-do list are evil. In fact, in doing them, I am usually being a responsible adult, a loving mother, or a good friend.

Ending prayer to do tasks that are good, but not urgent, however, would be an obstacle for me on my spiritual journey. The tasks themselves are not sinful, but making them a priority at the expense of prayer certainly could be.

Just as Peter not wanting Jesus to suffer was not in itself evil, putting the avoidance of suffering above God’s will certainly was. As is often the case, evil is the distortion of a good. 

I need to prioritize seeking holiness over seeking productivity. #catholicmom

So while it seems a little dramatic to say, “Get behind me, Satan!” to my mental to-do list, I see that I need to prioritize seeking holiness over seeking productivity. Now I have another intention to add to my Rosary: Help me to keep my priorities straight and remember what I need to do when it is time to do it.


Copyright 2020 Monica Portogallo
Images (top to bottom): Pixabay (2017); Pixabay (2016)