During my Lenten retreat, I made a commitment to pray the rosary 3 times a day. That’s nothing compared to Imaculee Ilibagiza’s 27 rosaries a day, but it isn’t easy nonetheless.
More often than not, I get interrupted with cleaning up unscheduled juice spills or breaking up screaming catfights that I forget where I left off, so I have to start the decade all over again. Other times, I realize I’ve just mouthed off one “Our Father” and proceeded to several “For the Sake of His sorrowful passion…” from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy Chaplet before I realize what’s going on. And still, there are those moments when I just prayed a “Hail Mary” to the clock while thinking I had better get to the meatball soup if I am to have it ready for dinner.
These things distress me and I honestly begin to second guess myself about the promise I made. Do I really want to keep reducing my rosaries to mere lip service? Maybe I should stop and just focus on a single “Hail Mary” that I can pray with my heart.
But then I remember a true story my cousin told me. Her husband’s Jewish mother was three years old during the Holocaust. Their family had been hiding from the searching Nazi’s but somehow the child had wandered off in full view of the soldiers. The Nazi’s approached the child and as was normal practice, ferreted out suspected Jews by a simple test. They demanded that the child say a “Hail Mary.” Fortunately, the child had been taught by her parents for situations such as these, so she spouted off an entire “Hail Mary” as any Catholic girl would.
They let her go. Literally, her life was saved by a “Hail Mary.”
When I think of this, I know that child of 3 could not have possibly understood each and every word she uttered and yet Our Lady protected her.
Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Chief Exorcist of the Vatican once said that his colleague performing an exorcism heard from the devil, “Every Hail Mary is like a blow to my head. If Christians knew the power of the rosary was, it would be my end.” So, if I put two and two together, then I can guess that the very thing who knows how powerful a rosary is, is the very thing who wants me to stop saying it.
On the heels of that, I tell myself: “Sister, just keep praying the three rosaries and try to mean every single word. There should be at least one priceless Hail Mary in there somewhere. And as for the prayers that somehow slip your consciousness, may Our Lady accept the love that initially motivated you to make that commitment and in trying to live it out every day.”
Now tell me the truth my friends: does that sound reasonable to you? Would Our Lady still protect a distracted child and her distracting children? I hope so.