A Perfect Prayer
One of my favorite memories is walking in the park with my mother. They were quite ordinary walks, but as the ninth child of ten it felt extraordinary to have my mother all to myself. What I recall is how my mother would look at me, listening to what I said. I would be caught up talking about the noisy thoughts of my young heart: my successes and failures, my friends, and relationships—everything that seemed so important to me in the moment. My mother would stop and look at a flower or something else she found beautiful and call my attention to it.
As a child, this always confused me. I would immediately wonder if she was paying attention to what I was talking about. Grudgingly I would look at the flower and see its beauty or the bees busy in their gathering of pollen. I still remember the way the sun would glisten on the petals of roses and the raw beauty that was there all the while I was caught up in my head about something else. In her simple way, my mother taught me to “stop and smell the roses,” to reflect on the greater things in life. She taught me gratitude, meditation, and contemplation.
On October 7, the Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. This memorial originated as a celebration honoring Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The rosary, attributed to St. Dominic and spread throughout the Christian world, has comforted millions of Christians. It is prayed during times of peril, as a form of petition, as a prayer for a deceased loved one, and to deepen our faith in Jesus.
In truth, the rosary is a perfect form of prayer, combining various types of prayer forms into one unified whole: petition, praise, gratitude, meditation, and contemplation. Like the walks I took so many years ago with my earthly mother, to pray the rosary is to take a spiritual walk with our Blessed Mother. We might admit to often approaching the rosary like I did my walks with Mom—grateful for the time to have Mother all to ourselves, but failing to notice what she has to show us as we tell her what is going on in our life, lay before her our petitions, and beg her intercession. If we are listening, Mary always points us to her Son whom she wants us to know and love. She invites us to contemplate the joys, sorrows, and glories of the life of Jesus and to see the many graces we receive in being a beloved child of God.
This month, when you pray your rosary, think of it as a walk with your Blessed Mother and let her point out the beauty that always surrounds you.