Monday, June 18, 2012

"What Do You Think About When You Say The Rosary?"

On the evening of Corpus Christi, which was celebrated here in the US on Sunday June 10th, the children and I were saying our rosaries. At the end of our prayers I had an urge to ask them what they think about while they say the rosary.  I thought they might say nothing at all or what they were going to do when prayers were over. Instead my daughter said she thinks of Our Lady.  She thinks often of the visitation.  She said she saw a lovely picture of the visitation and she thinks about it when she prays.  My son, who just turned eight said that he thinks of the bread when we say the luminous mysteries, Jesus being born during the joyful, during the sorrowful he thinks of Jesus dying on the cross and during the glorious he likes to see Our Lady being crowned.  My daughter then jumped in that she loves to think of Our Lady being crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.  
Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth
I had never asked the children what they think about during the rosary.  As I am always asking the kids to sit still during prayers or to say the prayers aloud, I was completely surprised by their response.  I find my mind wandering often and thought that their mind was probably far off given they are only children. 
During the week I reflected often about their response.  This past Sunday I heard a line from the First Reading that struck me "for we walk by faith, not by sight"(2 Corinthians 5:7).  In the Gospel Jesus said, "God's kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time!"(Mark 2:26-29)
As parents we are called not to inhibit the spread of God’s Kingdom.  Christ is the sower.  Reading of scripture, family prayer and the Holy Sacraments water that seed but how it truly grows and what it will grow into is known to God alone.  My son at age 6 told our family he felt Jesus was calling us to say three rosaries a day.  At the time we had just begun saying one as a family.  As a parent I tried not to inhibit the work of Our Lord in our family and we began to say three rosaries a day and have continued this prayer ritual ever since. Sometimes I do not always understand all the steps or the exact path we will follow but I pray that I will be able to discern God's Will, have the strength of spirit and body to live it and the courage to follow it through.

Saturday night the children and I were again saying our evening rosaries.  They were almost falling asleep as they had spent a whole day working on my Mother’s 37 acre farm.  I stopped for a moment and asked them what was their favorite mystery.  Both children perked right up.  It was as if I asked them where do you want to go on vacation.  Our middle son Kostin jumped right in.  He started listing the mysteries.  He told me it is very difficult to pick just one. He mention all five of the joyful and said really his favorite is when Jesus is found in the temple.  He listed all of the sorrowful but said the agony in the garden is his favorite.  He listed all the glorious and again repeated his favorite is Mary being crowned.  When it came to the luminous he said he likes when the dove comes down and Jesus is baptized but also when He gives out the bread.  Although he also likes when Jesus lights up (Transfiguration). As we finished prayers Kostin got up and hobbled out of the room.  He was stiff from working all day and said as he left the room “I’m like an old man” with a little laugh. 

Working at Grandma's farm
We walk by faith not sight.  I do not know how a young child comes to love the mysteries of the rosary. But hearing my children speak of their love for Our Lady and the mysteries of the rosary I feel more and more like a child myself.  I look to Our Blessed Mother for help parenting. I know I don’t have the answers and frequently stumble as a parent.  However, I do not regret the time we spend in prayer because this is when our Lady makes up for all of my inadequacies as a parent.  She waters the seed planted by her Son.  My piece is to pray that I may recognize my role in helping them. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the effects of the rosary on May 3 2008, "With Mary the heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus. Christ is put at the centre of our life, of our time, of our city, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory". 

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