Growing up Catholic, I remember disliking the great task that was praying the rosary.
In my grade school days, every day of October was increasingly tiresome as each year my class would daily pray a rosary during this month dedicated to it. My mind would wander, my mouth would yawn, my attention span was totally shot.
As I grew older, I was able to conceal my dislike for the task, but my impatience would increase with each decade we would go through – and it was not helped by the occasional slow pray-er who would take their sweet time during each Hail Mary and Our Father.
Praying the rosary was rarely something I would do on my own, and the thought of doing it regularly was just plain ridiculous. Even though this devotion can take as little as 20 minutes – a tiny drop in the bucket of time – I was convinced that I had far more pressing things to fill my hours with.
It wasn’t until two years ago that I changed my mind. For Lent, I had decided to increase my prayer time by praying not one, but three rosaries daily. It was a pretty big jump from my typical 0 rosaries per day, but I was determined to be successful in this Lenten promise. In order to reach this daily dose of rosaries, I figured out that if I prayed from the minute I left my house to go to work each morning and from the minute I left work to return home, I could fit all three rosaries during my commute.
Those 40 days spent praying the rosary bore a lot of fruit. Not only was I welcoming Our Lady more intentionally into my life, but I was also choosing Her intercession and time over the noise of the world. By immersing myself in good, I was filtering out the bad. My days were filled with more contemplation and peace, and I could more easily discern the goodness that the Lord was offering me each day. Things seemed to jump out at me more readily in the daily readings, and I felt filled with more understanding and direction in my prayer life. Celebrating Mass became a living and breathing experience, where I felt more immersed in the Sacrifice that happened with each Sunday.
Today I only offer up one daily rosary, but I can see how Our Lady used those three rosaries a day to further fill my spiritual life. As she promises, Mary doesn’t desire for us to become closer to her for her glory, but for the glory of her Son and the ultimate good of her children. By growing closer to our Mother, we are allowing ourselves to be ushered closer to her Son, the sole desire of the Lord who wants us more than anything.
A rosary prayed is not prayed in vain. It can be a daunting task for those, who like me, found it long and monotonous. But like any habit, it grows in ease and enjoyment, and the world it opens for its devotees is a reward well worth praying for.