Sunday, May 06, 2007

Turning to Mary During the Month of May

Today at Mass we crowned the Mary statue to begin May as the month of Mary. I have made several blog posts on Mary since I began blogging. All of them are at your disposal as you devote this month towards growth in knowledge and love of the Mother of God (they are in order from least to most recent): As you can see, I've probably written more about Mary than about any other subject. I'm happy about this. It shows that people are asking questions about her, and it shows that, as a faithful son, I have always come to her defense. I love her, and I wish that I was devoted to her more.

My girlfriend Amy has been having some intense prayer experiences with Mary recently. Mary is slowly transforming her life and healing some of her wounds. Today in Mass, Amy received, through prayer, the distinct impression that her and I should "consecrate ourselves to Mary." I asked her if she thought this was to be a formal consecration, or just a general devoting ourselves more to Mary. She said she didn't really know, but "consecrate" was a word that she heard.

Amy has also come to the conclusion, again through prayer, that her and I should pray the rosary together. I want to do this....or rather, I want to want to do this. But, for some reason I am hesitant. Why? The hesitancy bothers me. I think I'm afraid that there will be days when I simply do not want to pray the rosary. What will we do then? "Sorry Amy, I don't feel like praying with you today." For all of my theological musing about Mary (see the links above), I simply do not pray to her as much as I ought.

I know the answer to all of this. Pray anyway. Push through it. There's merit in praying when you don't want to. It's just hard....especially whenever I pray a repetitive prayer like the Rosary.

Have you ever done that exercise where someone gives you an "I am" statement and you fill in the blank?

I am _____

I fill it in like this: I am anxious

So, I kneel there, and after about 5 minutes my neck starts getting stiff, which becomes a distraction while I'm trying to pray. Then, because I want the anxiety from this to go away, I start becoming increasingly aware of how many Hail Mary's I've prayed and how many I have left to pray. Then I become more and more anxious as I get closer to the finish line. By the time I'm finally done, my head is about to fall off because the muscles in my neck are pulling as hard as they can with all of their collective might. It's a freakin ordeal.

When I sit or lay down and pray, that helps a little. But, something about the repetitiveness of it and the fact that there is a very particular number of prayers to be prayed makes me really anxious. I'm still such a rookie when it comes to prayer. Please pray for me that I can lead my relationship with Amy into a greater dependance upon the patronage of Mary, especially during this month devoted to her. I want to be better, I really do, and I feel like my relationship depends on it.

Pax Christi,


Jason said...

It's cool to see your honesty about this. Refreshing to know that even the "good Catholics" feel the same anxiousness and impatience that I'm sure distracts everyone at times during the Rosary and other devotions.

Have you and Amy every considered doing a walking Rosary? Or while running (if you run)? Sometimes I pray one in the car using my fingers, but often that's more to pass the time than a positive desire to pray... but what better way to fend off boredom that prayer, right?

Somehow I usually zone out the verbal prayers by focusing on some aspect of the mystery, trying to dive into the scene and find some bit of application or insight. My mind will wander, but I just bring it back and keep going. But looking back, my first Rosary was the funniest, when I still had some trepidations about Catholicism, so before starting I first asked God to forgive me if I was about to sin by praying to Mary :)

phatcatholic said...

A walking rosary is a great idea. I'll pass that along to Amy and see what she thinks.

jmjtina said...

Nick, take heart!!!! You are SOOOO not alone in that!!! Even the saints struggled!!!!! So fear not! You'll get through it! Pray! Pray to be able to pray!!!! You'll find that your anxious thoughts will be replaced with peace!!!!!!!!!

A novice was grieving about her numerous distractions during prayer: "I too, have many," replied St. Therese of the Child Jesus, "but I accept all for love of the good God, even the most extravagent thoughts that come into my head."

Amy said...

Walking rosary sounds good :-)

Sister Mary Martha said...

Goofball, it's 'she and I', not 'her and I'. The easy rule of thumb is to leave off the "I' and use the word you would use without it. Then you'll be using the right word.

As to the rosary....buck up! You seem to be missing the point of the rosary, which is not saying a bunch of Hail Mary's. No wonder you hate it! You're supposed to be meditating on the mysteries while you say the Hail Mary's. So you fill your head with thoughts about the life of Mary, which you seem to enjoy!

Walking is good. The rosary originated from the monks walking in circles saying 150 Our Father's. They kept 150 rocks in their pockets and dropped a rock on the ground as they walked until their pockets were empty. It's not rocket science to string them together instead of counting out a new pile every day. Somewhere in there the Our Father's changed over to Hail Mary's and we're off to the races.

sister mary martha

phatcatholic said...

Thanks everyone :)

Seven77 said...

thanks for posting this!

Antonia said...

I remember saying all the 4 sets of mysteries while running a 10km race, and when that was done (with a few more kilometers to go), continued with the Via Crucis... :)

It took awhile before rosary became a powerful means of contemplation for me; like all prayer, sometimes it feels dry because we receive no inspiration from Him, and on other days, it could be the sweetest thirst quencher ever.

Count on my prayers, and persevere!

Matt1618 said...

hey Nicker,

I hear ya man. Just briefly, my advice would be to do what you can to get to know her better. I know that before my re/con-version the Mass was always so dry to me. But after reading Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper and other books and articles I knew the Mass better and it changed my appreciation and participation in it. I think we can say the same thing about the Rosary. Get to know her better and her prayer will come easier. Read JPII on Mary or St. Louis de Montfort's Secret of the Rosary or True Devotion to Mary. St. Louis de Montfort is very helpful on distractions, attention, anxiety when praying the rosary. One thing he suggests is to imagine your guardian angel sitting beside you and the Blessed Mother in front of you. After each Hail Mary said with devotion and attention he weaves a rose into a crown for you. Then when you're done he will have weaved an entire crown of roses to give to Our Lady.

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