October 27, 2017

Sometimes we do things and we don’t really know why.

Several years ago I had an extended illness and I knew that I needed to pray the rosary.  Every afternoon about 2:00 I reached the point of exhaustion and retreated to my room to lie down for a nap – that was my rosary time for 7 long years.   

The rosary is a prayer that is difficult for many people and I struggled with it constantly.  I could not stay focused on the five Mysteries and the life of Christ.  The Hail Mary is so ingrained that I can mindlessly rattle off the words and think about something entirely different.  I asked myself again and again why I persisted in praying the rosary, every day, without being able to concentrate, every day.  Was I doing any good or getting anything fruitful out of it? 

A couple weeks ago in the “Meditation of the Day” for October 7 in the Magnificat, the words of †Msgr Romano Guardini set off bells and whistles in my head.  Oh my gosh!  He gets it – and now I get it!  I can’t read the entire reflection, but I’ve copied the lines that explain so beautifully why I persisted in the praying the rosary; he describes those elusive feelings that come from “be[ing] secure in the peace of this union with God …”

“To linger in the domain of Mary is a divinely great thing …”

Mary’s domain is with God and she takes us to God, to a holy place where God is present.  Something deep down inside told me that, though my prayer was so imperfect, I was benefitting in some way.  I couldn’t explain it – could barely grasp the significance of it – but I knew it was a peace that I looked forward to, that helped me finish the day and begin the next until I could rest once again in the arms of Our Blessed Mother.

“Man needs a place of holy tranquility that the breath of God pervades and where he meets great figures of the faith … a place to find the core of things, to become calm and confident once more.”

With the help of the rosary, not only was my health finally restored but my faith was renewed and magnified and my life was set in a new direction to walk with Mary and the saints with Christ as my goal.

“[the person who prays the rosary] steps into a well-ordered world, meets familiar images, and finds roads that lead him to the essential.”

We often look for immediate and dramatic answers to prayer, which frequently happens.  But sometimes the effects of prayer are so subtle – almost imperceptible; then someone who has comprehended mysteries and translated them to human speech finally explains it to us.


Joan Walker