Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Perseverance In Prayer

I have been praying the Rosary once a week for about a year or so now. I'm not bragging. And, I know that I should be praying the Rosary every day; I'm working on that. I am pleased that God has given me the fortitude to successfully pray the Rosary once a week. And I know that eventually I will pray it every day.

But that's not what I thought I would relate today. What I wanted to emphasize is that I have been praying regularly, not only the Rosary but daily in my efforts to grow closer to God. However the Rosary is a special prayer. It takes more than a minute or two to say, which makes the effort greater than a short 'I love you Jesus', or 'What do you want me to do about this decision God?' Because it is longer, I struggled with keeping my focus. Then, a few weeks ago, something really special happened to me while I was praying.

Before you get your expectations too high, I don't think that it was miraculous in the same sense as healing the sick, or seeing a vision of Jesus or Mary. But, I think that it was a small miracle for me nonetheless. Let me explain.

When I first started to pray the Rosary, I found my mind wandering everywhere. What am I going to do the rest of the day? What about that crisis I saw on the news, or read about? Am I going to finish the project on time, and will it be good enough? Will I get that job? Pretty much random noise in my mind. And, it seemed that I could not shut it down, no matter how hard I tried.

I've read books and articles on how to pray, how to pray more effectively, how to pray daily. And, I did my best to follow the suggestions offered in these sources. As I said, a few weeks ago, something changed. As I was praying the Rosary, I noticed that I was ONLY praying the Rosary. No random thoughts. No noisy interference. My thoughts were only on the prayers, and the meaning of the Rosary Mysteries. Using a sports or musical analogy, I was 'in the zone'.

It was surprising to me, and gave me a special feeling in my mind and in my soul. I felt more in touch with God, and more complete. I felt a different type of happiness. To describe the feeling would be as difficult as describing the color red, or the taste of chocolate. All that I know is that it was special.

Since that time, I've had the feeling more regularly, though not always. Reaching this stage is one of those giant baby steps I have been taking on my journey to be a better disciple of Jesus. So, I will continue to follow the teachings of Saint Paul where he said 'pray always' and through that hopefully grow even closer to God.