My daughter’s eyes lit up, and she relaxed into my arms, gazing up at me with a look of pure awe and wonder – that’s when I realized that at one, she already loves the Rosary.
Why wouldn’t she though?
When I found out I was pregnant with her, the other moms in my Rosary group were among the first people I felt comfortable telling. Even though my boys were long out of diapers and it was counter-cultural for me to welcome another child at my age, I knew there would be no judgement, only love from these women, who I gather with to pray for the needs of our families and community each week. They were the ones who had prayed her into being, when I felt the nudge of a calling that God had plans for another child, who was meant to be a part of our family.
Of course Celia loves the Rosary! For her, it’s associated with joy, laughter, encouragement, authenticity, trusting relationships, community, life, grace, blessing, consistency, security and love. The women in my Rosary group have wrapped their hearts around every inch of her life, along with their arms and prayers.
But, seeing her light up in the quiet of our own home, while I held her in my arms and prayed the Rosary out loud made me realize she was capable of having a powerful experience of the Rosary in and itself, even outside the bounds of being part of that special group.
Can she feel the rhythm of the prayers and the way they lull us deeper into union with the infinite wellspring of Christ’s love for us? She’s not old enough to say! I imagine she must feel that same loving Spirit of God that I do through the prayers – it’s there, why wouldn’t she?
At this phase of my spiritual journey, much of my practice of prayer is private. Throughout my busy days, I have a running conversation with the Lord in the quiet of my heart. Early in the morning or late at night when the house is finally stilled and my work is done – in solitude, I open up to invite the Love of God to flow into my heart through Contemplative prayer. I hope and pray and trust that on some level my kids can feel that grace flowing through my prayers, but I recognize that they can’t see what I’m doing for themselves or necessarily learn from me except by the power of the Spirit or instructions I give them.
The Rosary on the other hand – is concrete. Even the smallest child like Celia can hold the beads in her hand, teeth on them and wear them around her neck – they are a tangible sign of the invisible graces that flow through all of our prayers. The prayers can be said internally, out loud and in community. They are so simple they are understandable to beginners, but the mysteries they contain are so deep, even the most mature prayer warrior will always have room to grow in richness of contemplation.
Saint Therese of Lisieux wrote “The Rosary is a long chain that links heaven and earth. One end of it is in our hands and the other end is in the hands of the Holy Virgin…The Rosary prayer rises like incense to the feet of the Almighty. Mary responds at once like a beneficial dew, bringing new life to human hearts.”
As a mom, I love the idea that the Rosary can help connect my kids in a concrete way to the heavenly realm, where Mary, the Saints and Angels all dwell in communion with Christ Himself, showering graces down to those of us who are opening our hearts in prayer here on earth. I also love that the Rosary has the power to connect my kids to their Divine Mother, who has all the graces that make up for where I lack and can bless my kids in ways that I never could on my own, ultimately drawing them into heaven where our hearts can be united for all of eternity. I love that the Rosary can always be there for them in a tangible way even when someday (hopefully far in the future), I am not with them in the physical form.
When Celia and my boys get older, I hope they can be drawn deep into the Silence of prayer, where they can grow in unity with the Holy Spirit through contemplative prayer. For today, I am grateful for the Holy Rosary, which I believe is the greatest gift I can ever give them to help facilitate that process of deepening their prayer lives and staying connected to them through all of eternity.
What is your experience of praying the Rosary? Have you been able to share your love for the Rosary with your own children? Do you have any questions about this ancient tradition?
Lord thank You for all the ways You provide for us to grow closer to you, especially for Most Holy Rosary, which can help draw us into a deeper contemplation of the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of Your life here on earth. Bless our children to find their way to You through this special prayer, which St. Therese said ‘links heaven to earth.’ In Jesus name, we pray – Amen.
written by Nicky Gant for www.uniteinprayer.org 11/17/2019