AnneMarie Miller discusses the impact of praying the Rosary, even when it’s tough.
The Rosary is a big deal for Roman Catholics. October is the month dedicated to the Rosary, and Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated each year on October 7. I’ve learned about the importance of praying the Rosary from priests and religious sisters, Marian apparitions, and numerous books and speakers. I’ve watched — and been inspired by — the documentary on Venerable Patrick Peyton, PRAY, which highlights the value of the Rosary. I’ve written about the importance of the Rosary, and I’ve knotted more cord Rosaries than I can count. When we embarked on a weeklong retreat with our kids in 2020, my husband and I became convinced that we needed to pray the Rosary as a family each day.
Yet, when we began this daily prayer together, I discovered that I didn’t feel like praying the Rosary.
Each day, as we began the Creed and the slew of Our Fathers and Hail Marys that followed, I would inwardly grumble. I’d glance at the clock, thinking of how many things I still wanted (or needed) to get done. With my husband, I’d wrangle rowdy children and wonder why we kept doing this. Carving out this regular time of prayer was hard for me, so my first impulse was simply to stop. I didn’t want to stop praying the Rosary so we could fill in that time with another type of prayer; I wanted to stop praying the Rosary so I could have those 20-30 minutes back each day to fill with vague “stuff.” Praying the Rosary wasn’t fun for me, so I didn’t want to do it (childish, I know).
Thankfully, my husband is very wise and determined, and when I told him that I wanted to stop the Rosary, his response was to keep praying it — and to talk about ways that we could make it easier to handle with our energetic crew of children. So, we brainstormed and tried different ideas — letting the kids take breaks to run around in their bedroom while we continued to pray in the living room, praying the Rosary in our backyard — and we kept at it. On days with lots of time on the road, we’d pray in the minivan, but otherwise we continued to gather each evening to pray the Rosary.
As the weeks slipped by, I was shocked to discover that praying the Rosary was slowly becoming easier. Instead of being focused on the clock or my “to do” list, I began to ponder the life of Christ more. Instead of thinking about how I didn’t feel like praying, I started to see this time as an oasis of prayer and rest. I found that I even began looking forward to our daily Rosary as a family.
There are still days when I struggle to focus on God, and there are many days when I simply don’t feel like praying the Rosary. However, this experience is a great gift, because it’s helping me see the importance of persevering in prayer. It reminds me that being in conversation with God, and meditating on the life of Christ, is essential — even if I don’t feel any upbeat emotions or experience any particular fruits.
If any of you, like me, struggle with a regular practice of prayer, I want to encourage you to keep praying. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes: “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Let’s hold these words close and push through obstacles and challenges so that we may grow deeper in our life of prayer and relationship with God.
Copyright 2021 AnneMarie Miller
Images copyright 2017 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved.
About the Author
A bibliophile, wife, mother of young children, and lover of the Liturgy, AnneMarie Miller enjoys exploring the manifold—and quirky—ways in which God speaks. She can often be found reading books to her kids, burrowing her toes in the red Oklahoma dirt, or sipping black coffee. Her reflections on Catholicism, literature, and hope can be found on her blog, Sacrifice of Love.