As a busy Catholic family, it is easy to “lose” focus on what matters most – kids are back in school and sports and activities can fill up our evenings. Yet the pace of our schedules should not let us lose sight of what is most important: family prayer.
During the month of October, we are invited to return to the beautiful and timeless practice of praying the Holy Rosary. By recommitting ourselves, and our family, to devotion to the Blessed Mother we will become more united to the Heart of Jesus.
Ironically, I have noticed a growing trend in the United States; families are focusing on the supernatural – but in a scary and frightening way. Instead of reminding young children that Jesus loves them – families, in the name of “fun”, are covering their yards for Halloween with fake gravestones, decorations of ghosts, skeletons, and goblins that can even scare adults!
Thankfully Mother Church grounds us Catholics and reminds us that prayer to our Lady is powerful. As St. John Paul II stated, “the rosary expresses the wonder of heaven and earth; it gives a glimpse of God’s own wonderment as He contemplates His masterpiece: the Incarnation of the Son in the womb of the Virgin Mary” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae – RVM). Jesus came to us through Mary, and she will lead us back into His outstretched arms. By praying the rosary we gain special graces to continue becoming the new creation that God bestowed on us at our Baptism.
Five Holy Habits for Catholic Families
Pray with the Heart – we need to engage the Heart to begin any kind of prayer. I like to recall when the sisters of my daughter’s preschool in Ohio would say, “Call Jesus on the phone” and talk to him. I found my daughter teaching me how to do this much like a cellphone. We should engage our hearts and not just our lips.
Create patterns of prayer – let your family know that prayer time is a goal you are working on but make these prayer times realistic for the ages and stages of your children. What is your season in life? For example, we seek to pray a decade of the Rosary with the children at night during October (of course they are welcome to stay for the entire prayer) but Sunday night is family Rosary night.
Make a Visit to a Local Grotto, Church, or Shrine – Each week before my daughter’s fifth-grade volleyball game we make a visit to the local Catholic church while the teams are warming up. We may also visit the local Marian grotto next door. This past week my kindergartener said, “Mom, it is time to go see Mary.” I didn’t know what she wanted since that is the name of her sister playing volleyball, but instead she clarified and said, “it is time to pray to the Mother of God.” When we make prayer part of our everyday life it builds a foundation for them – and children like to pray to God!
Gather for Prayer- we have been attending a family night Rosary gathering at a local school/convent. They are offering an evening sunset Rosary where families can pray with the sisters. Halfway through the Rosary, the religious sisters take the young children to go play so the parents could enjoy a few minutes of a more “peaceful rosary”. I appreciated not only an opportunity to expose my children to religious sisters but to reinforce the importance of spiritual gatherings. As busy parents, we are always traveling to sporting events and activities. Why not gather to pray to the Mother of God for guidance, peace, and protection?
Remember that we are in a great spiritual battle – prayer might feel difficult and you might wonder is it worth it? But prayer makes a difference even when it at times feels “dry”. When we pray with our family, friends, or others we can be sure that Jesus is there, for He says, “Where two or more are gathered in My name I am present.” Now is the time to gather, to pray, to seek the Lord and be filled with hope. As we read in John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in Me.” Now is the time to have faith and give Jesus all that stresses us out.
My kindergartener daughter once asked me if we were at war. She said, “do soldiers still fight others”? I responded, right now we are in a great spiritual battle and our greatest weapon is the Holy Rosary. So may our Lady Queen of Peace bring peace to our hearts, homes, our nation, and our world.
The following presents the 15 Promises of the Blessed Virgin Mary to those who pray the Rosary. Mary made these promises to Saint Dominic and to all who follow that “Whatever you ask in the Rosary will be granted.”
- Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
- I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
- The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
- The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
- The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
- Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
- Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
- Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death, they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
- I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
- The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
- You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
- All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
- I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
- All who recite the Rosary are my sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters of my only Son Jesus Christ.
- The devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.