Religious fervor has its ebbs and flows in my life, but, remarkably, in recent years—the flows are a more common occurrence. This is true for one reason only: frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament. I know this without a doubt as some years ago I started walking the short distance from my home to the chapel to sit with Him there. (Jesus is practically my next-door-neighbor as I can see our Catholic Church from my kitchen window.) Those early visits were short. I found it to be boring; and I would put in my ten minutes then hustle out for seemingly much more important things to do…
But the Blessed Mother wrapped me up in the mantle of her grace. She is a persistent mother, and escorted me more and more until I didn’t have to be coaxed and prodded. I understand now—as much as this puny, simple, sinful brain can—the great value of this Pearl, and I’m hooked.
As it can be with puny, simple, sinful humans though, it’s hard to keep my interest for long. I get distracted easily by flashy colors and loud noise. In my lukewarm complacency, I will be full of fervor and devout prayer for a while, then I think, “Woe, there, Teresa. That’s good enough. No need to overdo it.”
Sometimes, though, when I’m firing on all cylinders, I spend my day as a living rosary. What is that, you ask? A living rosary (which, incidentally, I just now gave that name) is me, and the precious, priceless times when I cooperate with my queen and I pray a continual Hail Mary throughout my day. As a slave to her Immaculate heart, I unite in her powerful mission to save souls.
Our minds our forever flitting from thought to thought, especially in the hectic chaos of life in the trenches. Within a living rosary I become the beads, so to speak, and unite my life and experiences through the heart of Mary to her Son. At each sorrow, or fear, or thanksgiving—I commend all to the Blessed Mother, so she, in turn, will present it to Jesus. All in Jesus, through Mary. My life—in the Sacred Heart in the Blessed Sacrament, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
So, when that obscure person pops into my mind—the one I haven’t thought of in years—I pray, “Hail, Mary…” My mind goes to my husband at work, as he is trying to tackle some computer software code, I pray, “Hail, Mary…” That distressing image or concern for a family member prompts an immediate intercessory prayer, over and over and over. Each of my children is a forever thought, a constant worry, and I earnestly pray from a mother’s heart to a mother’s heart: “Hail, Mary, pray for us, now and always…”
When I see that colorful butterfly, floating amongst the blooms in my front gardens, I smile and pray a Hail Mary that through her pure heart, a perfect song of praise will festoon the throne of God, my Creator. At the grocery store, as much as my eyes are open, I see countless petitions: the frazzled mother with two carts and cranky children, the person who voices their displeasure in the parking lot, the old man who seems to be in so much pain… “Hail, Mary, full of grace…”
A distressing story in the news, the election, a Facebook friend’s comment, are all opportunities to cooperate in a call to link arms—like links in a rosary chain—with my brothers and sisters in this battle for souls and pray for the conversion of sinners. In the bathroom or laundry room—the bank or in the blessed sunshine, I raise my thoughts to her, and beg for grace in our world, in my home, dispensed from the hand of her who is our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
And at the end of the day, I crawl into bed and smile when I can recall the day in which I cooperated with that tremendous grace. I feel the pleasure of God, and know that the gift of ordinary holiness does not come from me, but only from God. There is such joy in doing His will, and I know for me, it starts with time before the Blessed Sacrament. Then this living rosary goes out into my little corner of the world and I do what is seemingly so small and insignificant, but actually has incredible power: I pray.
“Hail, Mary, full of grace… Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”