taking a break for prayer

shell rosary

Here’s a lovely prayer to

accompany me on my rosary walks:

Ave Maris Stella:

Hail, bright star of ocean, 

God’s own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva’s name.

Break the captives’ fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus,
Joy forevermore.

Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

it’s been ages since I make a rosary


I found this loop of twine and dug around and found a crucifix, so I made a rosary today. I’m way out of practice because I had to untie the knot for the crucifix three times before I finally got it right.

Ok, I didn’t so much get it right as get it to a place that didn’t make me want to untie the whole thing again.

I used to make rosaries all the time, and then an extraordinary thing happened and I started praying rosaries all the time. I still make the random rosary, but a touch of arthritis is making pulling the twine a little difficult. The prayer, however, is as comfortable in my hands as ever.

I wonder, do you have a favorite prayer or devotion?

praying the rosary one checkmark at a time

There was a time when I used to come home in the morning after dropping the kids off at school, make half a pot of coffee, and leisurely pray a rosary before I went about my daily chores and activities.

I was fairly new at this discipline of praying daily, and I needed time, and I definitely needed plenty of cheat sheets. I ended up with a lovely little book that had the scriptural rosary. That helped me a lot because I was able to follow along with the story. It was just what I needed to help me remember the mysteries, and I was hooked on the prayer.

As it happens, other things changed. I lost the little booklet, but not the habit of praying. I was already in love with the prayer…and falling deeper in love with the story. Slowly, and steadily, my faith was blossoming … one bead at a time.

Years later, I see Mary’s gentle hand in this journey as she has led me to her Son. That little book with the scriptural rosary came back to me, a sweet little gift that keeps giving as I revisit the pages I almost knew by heart.

But times have changed. I’ve gone back to a demanding career, and I don’t have the luxury of running a pot of coffee in the middle of my morning. Heck, I don’t have time to run to the vending machine to buy a terrible impersonation of coffee.

I do, however, attempt to finish a rosary. That challenge has proven to be more difficult than I imagined, mostly because I’m constantly interrupted and I’d forget where I was. And then I came upon this plan…if I couldn’t get 20 minutes of uninterrupted time, perhaps I could make the time for a reverent Hail Mary.

One Hail Mary prayed right is certainly worth more than a distracted and mumbled rosary, so I developed a plan. All I needed was a tally system to help me keep track of my progress through the rosary…so I designed this cheat sheet — just a series of bubbles and boxes I could check as I moved through the prayer. One glance told me where I had left off before racing to class or a meeting.

I was sure I’d never be able to get through a whole rosary this way. The thing is, on those days when I can’t escape for a quiet lunch with prayer, I not only find myself praying all day, one Hail Mary at a time, but I find that I have just enough moments throughout the day to finish.

How about that?

Click on this link for a printable bookmark Rosary that you can check off as you pray.

you know May is the month of Mary

I had a crazy long week. It’s a good thing my work week is Monday -Thursday. Let me say that sounds gross during the week when you realize how long the day is, but when Friday morning rolls around…yeah, that’s a good thing.

I usually pray the rosary on the way to work in the morning. Let me tell you, it’s better than the trash on the contemporary music channels, and let’s not even discuss the shock jocks. I’ve learned to love my morning talk with Mary through the rosary. Much better than talk radio!

So this morning I got started with my usual rosary and stopped after barely getting started to take a call. It seemed that every time I went back to thinking about the rosary I got distracted by little fires that I had to put out (okay, see that? go ahead and follow how metaphorical that is).

At any rate, it was quite late in the day, actually on my way home, that I pulled out my little companion and set myself to concentrating, as best I could in traffic, on the rosary and Thursday’s mysteries. The luminous mysteries are my favorite…it has very little to do with BL. JPII although I remember well the controversy at the time he introduced these mysteries. There was some resistance in my circles in the order of “how dare he change the rosary” (well, it was a pretty bold move, but oh so logical — I’ll amuse my theology buds and actually suggest you read Rosarium Virginis Mariae — I know, close your mouth, sometimes I really do read this stuff on my own).

I don’t claim any particular illumination (heh-heh) beyond the fact that they resonated beautifully for me. In fact, I have to say, it was because of the luminous mysteries that I gave the rosary another serious whirl, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The problem was, and still is, that I have a terrible time memorizing things like lists, or movie lines, or prayers. I have to employ a gazillion mnemonic devices, and hope they work…but I learned that if I associate a particular mystery with a family member or friend, then I can remember them (both! the mystery and the person for whom to pray).

There’s something really very sweet and satisfying about praying for others, whether it’s a specific intention or just offering those prayers for anonymous souls who need them. I thought I’d share a little peek into my commute and why I love these mysteries…

The First Mystery of Light, the Baptism of Our Lord: for the longest time, I would recall the baptism of my children to remind me of this mystery. I always think that when God’s voice was heard say ing “this is my beloved Son” it was the jarring moment for me, in a slow reversion process, to wake up and begin to get it. More recently I’ve come to associate it with a friend who teaches an awful lot on baptism and living the promises and graces that come from it.

The Second Mystery of Light, the Miracle at the Wedding of Cana: this mystery clarified for me the whole misunderstanding so many people have about Mary, and especially the rosary. When Mary says “do what He tells you” it was another a-ha moment for me…the focus being on Jesus, and listening to Him. These days, when I get to this mystery I think of a friend getting married soon.

The Third Mystery of Light, the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God: this one, too, was quite powerful. It is when Jesus begins his public ministry, but for me was the recognition of this call to conversion, and so important to me, how it is also about reconciliation and hope. I often think of the work I do in new media, and the wonderful people I’ve come to know, in real life, and through social media — and pray for them all, the ones I know, and perhaps most especially, the ones I’ll never know.

The Fourth Mystery of Light, the Transfiguration: This one is my favorite mystery (I have a close second, but this one wins). Jesus reveals himself to a few of his disciples, and it is in this mystery that I was able to pin down my own yearning and desire to know God. It is what I was desiring all along…and the mystery upon which I meditate most fervently, for myself and for others, to increase my holiness, and to understand…

…The Fifth Mystery of Light, the Institution of the Eucharist. Well, it all leads to this, no? The source and summit of our faith!

Thanks for coming on the commute with me. Do you have a favorite mystery or mysteries of the Rosary?

St. Teresa and lint in my pocket

I usually carry a rosary in my pocket, especially when I’m at work. It’s not a good luck charm, don’t think that. I just happen to be devoted to this beautiful prayer, and sometimes I’ll start a rosary and get interrupted and will return to it later.

It means I have rosaries scattered all over the place. In my car. In my briefcase. In random pockets. Hanging on my computer screen. On the bulletin board in the kitchen. On a plaque my sister gave me. In my purse (um, I don’t use a purse very often). Several on my desk. Too much? You get the picture.

The rosary pictured is my go-to rosary…it’s short and the beads are spaced just right. It also survives a run through the washing machine quite well, lol. Who knew I was a connoisseur of rosaries? Makes me laugh a little, but it’s true. It fits my hand just right so it’s usually in the console of my car and accompanies me to work.

It also makes for mad dashes to the laundry basket when I forget to put it back in the console at the end of the day. That happened to me yesterday. I went to reach for the rosary in the afternoon and came up with lint. I had once again misplaced the rosary. Luckily, I had my handy dandy Steelers rosary hanging from the rearview (odd, you might ask? it doesn’t get much use, but daily smiles when I see it).

Anyway, the missing rosary led me on a wild goose chase through dirty clothes, stacks of papers, and finally, a little basket full of flash drives, holy cards, and paper clips. Oh, and a medal of St. Teresa of Avila that I have had for a couple of years and kept taking out and tossing back into the little basket. I think she finally had enough of me claiming her as my patron saint and not giving her any attention.

Sorry about that, dear Terry. I hope you like where I moved you.


Day 12

Day 12 – A picture of something you love.

I know I went on and on about not being attached to things in Day 07, and I haven’t changed my mind. But I do love this rosary. In fact, I wrote about it at Sarah Reinhard’s blog in a guest post last year.

It currently keeps me company in my car, wrapped around the rearview mirror. I usually take it with me when I travel or if I find myself with the opportunity to take a quiet walk. Maybe I pray with it, maybe I don’t, but its weight in my pocket is a comforting reminder of greater things.

Here’s an excerpt from Sarah’s blog that explains how I got the rosary after an evening of knot-making:

Surprised at my admiration of her efforts after being silly the whole evening, Linda pulled out a beautiful crucifix that would have been too large for the standard rosaries we made, affixed it to the rosary,  and presented me with the lovely gift – not just of a sacramental, but of the embodiment of a friendship that gives freely with no strings attached. It is certainly modeled after a greater Love.

Read the rest here.