Monday, October 02, 2006

October is Rosary Month

October is Rosary month, as the Anchoress reminds us. The rosary is a very powerful prayer, as Our Lady reminded us at Fatima.

But it does put me to sleep.

I have a very mixed relationship with the Rosary. When I was about 9 or so, Fr. Peyton and his "Rosary Rally" came through town. His tagline was "The family that prays together, stays together." And the Rosary was the most powerful prayer around. So rosaries became a popular present that year, as I recall. Problem was, I would try to pray the Rosary before going to bed and would wake up on the floor with the beads twisted or the string broken.

A few years later, I joined the Junior Legion of Mary, a group devoted to Mary and to praying the Rosary. I had a bit more success: I'd get through about three decades before nodding off.

Over the years, I have have broken many rosary beads by falling asleep with them twisted around my fingers, even my nice silver-plated set that I received for Confirmation. I even broke a rosary bracelet the same way. I stopped praying the Rosary for the most part, except for group prayer at a devotion or a wake. I could stay awake for those!

Then I read--somewhere--that the Rosary is an excellent means of meditating and calming a racing mind. And my silver-plated set happened to be in my purse, left over from the wake of a family friend. So when I went for my first job interview in 11 years, I prayed the rosary while riding BART. I got the job and became a regular commuter. For 45 minutes, I'm sitting on a train and I might as well pray.

That worked well for about the first month. Then I found myself falling asleep. Around the third decade. Again. At least this time I haven't broken any beads.

In her memoir, John Paul II: Remembering a Spiritual Father, Peggy Noonan talks about receiving a rosary from JPII after a visit there. She was going to frame them and make a collage with other mementos of her visit, but, instead ends up grabbing them (because they have a case) and putting them in her pocket. She prays the Rosary on the subway and credits its power to bring peace to a confrontational situation. She also mentions a friend who prays the Rosary while she's on the treadmill. Her friend says (and I'm paraphrasing because I lent the book out) that the day just doesn't seem to go right if she doesn't pray.

I know what she means.

I have tried to pray the Rosary while driving, but find it too difficult to keep track. Instead, I start with the Apostles' Creed the minute I hit the platform, while on BART, while walking up the stairs to the street. I have a little pocket-sized prayer book that lists many of the traditional Catholic prayers (including the Creed) as well as the Mysteries, including the Luminous Mysteries. Some days I do better than others--usually on the days where I feel the most anxious, the most need of Divine Help.

This month I will make a special effort. This is my pre-Advent warm-up, my chance to ask Our Lady to watch over all her children and help us find our way back to her Son and His Father.

And I'll try not to drool when I doze off...