There’s definitely room for improvement in my rosary-praying. Often, I get distracted at some point, or I lose count, or I don’t meditate well on the mystery. I agree that it’s better to pray one good decade than a hurried rosary. The thing is, I need the whole thing. It takes five decades of whatever I can give it to get me in a state of mind that makes life bearable.
I find that praying the rosary is a way of slow breathing my inner self to a state of calm. In going to Mary for her intercession, I think of how my daughter comes to me sometimes and just lays her head on my shoulder, for what seems to be no good reason. So many times, that’s what I’m doing with the rosary. I’m going to my Mother, and I’m laying my head on her shoulder. She does what I do: she reaches over and pats my back, and the effect of this is to give me strength and courage to face my day.
It’s not like I’m battling dragons or saving the world in my daily encounters. But, like everyone else, I am called to be Christ to all I meet, and that can be bad enough for me. I have to bite my tongue, or ponder long and hard before I shoot out a scathing email, or pray and reflect before making a decision. I have to step back from my first inclination to fly off the handle and remain calm in the heat of the moment.
So the rosary is really like a secret weapon I have to deal with the challenge of everyday life. In the repetition, I find the rhythm of life—and not just any life, but Christ’s own life! In the prayers themselves, I find the comfort of the words—I’m asking Mary, who is Up There, to pray for me, and if anyone has God’s ear, it’s Mary! In the discipline of praying a rosary, whether all at once, or scattered throughout my morning, a decade here and a decade there, I find a routine that points me to my purpose. In the mysteries, I am daily reminded of what that purpose is and who my model is supposed to be.