Leaning into the boringness of the rosary

For several years, family prayer night at our house went like this: We would shout, “Time to pray! Time to pray!” and everyone would slouch into the living room and hurl themselves onto the couch.

When everyone was sufficiently hurled and all screens were darkened, we would make the sign of the cross, then my husband or I would ask, “What are our intentions?” and the kids would mumble out a few names. Then we would say, “And what are we thankful for?” This was our stab at keeping prayer fresh, personal, and meaningful, and for our efforts, we invariably got the youngest child screaming out something like, ‘I’M GRANKFUL DAT ELIJAH GOT A NEW BUTT FOR A FACE” and we’d have to dampen the ensuing riot.

We would then launch into a rocket-speed recitation of a list of prayers that we kept adding to, because it seemed important that the kids knew more and more prayers. And it is important, except that even though I do not have the gift of seeing into hearts, I felt pretty sure that, while our lips were rattling out “our life, our sweetness, and our hope; to thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve,” we might as well have been saying “fadatta, fadatta, fadatta, beepum, boopum, bah.” It’s just human nature. Say the same words in the same order night after night, and after a while, you don’t even know what you’re saying.

We tried to correct it. We’ve made various stabs at liturgy of the hours, but keep discovering that we are both too lazy and too stupid to keep up with it. (Please don’t make suggestions about how to help this happen. I said “lazy and stupid” and I meant it.) We’ve tried this and we’ve tried that. And finally, back to the scriptural rosary we crept, like a dog to its . . . well-loved tennis ball that it keeps chewing on, because something in its poor simple brain makes it seem satisfying, comforting, and even worthwhile, and it was a gift from its owner.

I used to have no end of trouble with the scriptural rosary. I used to try to flog my brain into some kind of hyper-vigilant state where I would ferret out some new insight every time we revisited each mystery.

There we would be at the finding in the temple for the 723rd time, and I would give myself the space of ten Hail Marys to discover something I had never noticed before, some new little crumb of understanding hidden away behind Jesus’ sandal or some unexpected wrinkle in Joseph’s travel cloak…

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly

Image by DaModernDaVinci via Pixabay (Creative Commons) 

Liked it? Take a second to support simchajfisher on Patreon!

4 thoughts on “Leaning into the boringness of the rosary”

  1. Contemplation and truth are gifts. Many make the mistake of expecting them. Even those of us who should know better. But there are lamps we can hold out in the dark. Confession helps. Good examinations of conscience help to dispose one to listen to God. Participation in evil cuts off our line to God. Because our hearts are not circumcised we cannot feel sin. Truth is uncomfortable. There isn’t just one mark. There are many. You need oil in your lamp. Begin in joy. Enter his gates with singing.

  2. If you’re having trouble getting your family interested in reciting the rosary, a little creativity goes a long way. I saw this idea from Be A Heart, it’s called a Nature Rosary, I’ll leave a link to it at the bottom. The basic idea:
    Take a nature walk with your family to collect small objects like flowers, rocks, leaves, etc. Lay out a string/rope/yarn in the shape of a rosary, and you walk through placing each found object and reciting the beads it represents and when your done you’ve got a rosary shaped nature art or whatever, idk I’ve never tried it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *