I’m an auxiliary member of the Legion of Mary, which is a serious commitment. When you join, you promise to pray prescribed prayers every day, which include a daily rosary. Not something to just jump into. As I did. Completely by accident. At the wrong parish.
Here’s what happened: I was praying to God for help with my prayer life. Which stunk. One day my mother-in-law was watching the kids for me, and I dropped in at her church to spend a few minutes before the Blessed Sacrament for this intention. When I rose to leave, the groundskeeper stopped me in the aisle, said a few kind words, and asked, “Would you like to join the Legion of Mary?”
No. Very sorry, but I have four young children, no time for another activity.
“Will you pray for us then?”
Sure. Be glad too.
“Great. I’ll go get the forms.”
I’d never even heard of the Legion of Mary. But this lady was fast. She had my name on those forms in an instant. There’s the x for your signature, here’s a copy of your prayers to say every day, and don’t worry, it’s not a mortal sin if you miss a day, but do keep up with it.
“But I don’t go to this parish,” I told her.
They weren’t picky.
I signed. And then I had to go home and explain this to my poor husband, a protestant who believed in neither the Blessed Sacrament nor prayers to Mary. Oops. Luckily he recognized the swift hand of God in answering my prayers for a better prayer life, and if it made no sense to him personally, who was he to argue with God?
And who am I to argue either? Here are three things I’ve learned about myself as a result:
I need to get over my intellectual pretensions. The rosary is for normal people. You don’t have to be smart or trendy or oh-so-educated to pray the rosary. Apparently God doesn’t need me to show off how sophisticated I am.
Same prayer. Every day. I’m all about the next new thing. I tried the liturgy of the hours one week, the chaplet of divine mercy the next, some Jesuit meditative thing another time. What I really needed? To be bored. Because then my prayer life would be about me and God, not about me and my latest idea.
Just go pray. I never would have settled into a daily rosary on my own. I would have waffled, always trying to find the perfect prayer. Now I can quit agonizing and start praying.
Show up. Do the work. It was what I needed, and what I still need. I do experience answered prayers, moments of enlightenment, feelings of love. But mysticism is simpler than that: Am I willing to do what God asks of me? If yes, pick up those beads and get started.
image credit: Trendy Traditions