Reading – Matthew 6: 5-13
from Pope St. John Paul II – Novo Millennio Ineunte, par. 20
I know that sometimes a criticism of Catholicism is our supposed “vain repetition” of prayers, especially those that get repeated often in devotions like the Hail Mary. I don’t want to launch into an apologetical discussion about that, but praise God for the Church to have the authority and to have the zealous witnesses to form and pass on many methods and formulations of prayer.
Ever since I got bored of listening to the same stupid Lady Gaga song on the radio for the umpteenth time during my hour long commute, one way, to and from work, I decided to instead fill that time up with praying a Rosary. The nice thing about an hour commute is that is ample amount of time to pray a set of Mysteries. I’ve maintained this habit of praying a Rosary on the way home from work for about two years now, which is awesome.
I have to remember that the Rosary is very much a contemplative prayer because it walks me through the life of Christ through Mary’s eyes. Every Hail Mary invites Our Lady to help us understand her Son better.
But, sometimes as I’m praying the Rosary in the car, I get distracted, and I lose sight of that intentionality in my prayer. The Rosary then becomes empty words. It then begins to be a checklist of 50 Hail Mary’s and perhaps even a race to break a personal record in finishing praying a Rosary. This then becomes the type of prayer that Jesus doesn’t want me to pray for He teaches
And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Easily, the Rosary can be a heap of many words, but what is the point of a Rosary? Again, asking Our Lady to intercede for us as we contemplate the life of her Son. What makes a Rosary effective, or any sort of prayer effective, is really allowing God’s grace to work through that dialogue with Him in prayer with Our Lady’s help.
Prayer is important. It definitely helps me grow in spirituality, humility, and also knowledge about God and Who He is, especially regarding the mystery of His Incarnate self.
The nice thing about doing these nightly prayers in preparation for Total Consecration is that it has begun to reestablish a habit of nightly prayer for me. I used to do Compline (Night Prayer from Liturgy of the Hours) and have given that up in favor of getting to bed faster over the past several months. Not good as it has turned me lax and lazy in that particular way in my prayer life.
Going forward, I’ll keep doing this on a nightly basis, even if I don’t feel like it or even if I don’t have the time for it. I will make the time. I will fight my own humanity (ie. laziness) if need be.
In addition, my life is often noisy or constantly on the go. I need more silence in my life. More radio off during my commute to work.
We cannot come to the fullness of contemplation of the Lord’s face by our own efforts alone, but by allowing grace to take us by the hand. Only the experience of silence and prayer offers the proper setting for the growth and development of a true, faithful and consistent knowledge of that mystery which finds its culminating expression in the solemn proclamation by the Evangelist Saint John: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father” (1:14) (Novo Millenio Ineunte, par 20)
I’m using Fr. Brian McMaster’s Totus Tuus to prepare for Total Consecration. Get yours here on Amazon!