Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How Can We Make A Real Difference?

One bead at a time.

If St. Louis Marie de Montfort were alive today, he'd take one look around at this weak, dysfunctional, crumbling world we've built for ourselves and start passing out rosary beads by the thousands. "If," Montfort wrote in True Devotion to Mary, "the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ must come into the world, it can only be as a necessary consequence of the knowledge and reign of Mary. She who first gave Him to the world will establish His kingdom in the world."

The more intensely we turn our attention toward Jesus, the more we believe in Him, turn to Him, trust in Him and become like Him. In this way, the world will change. What is a rosary? It's putting our hand in Mary's, who teaches us how to most intensely turn our attention toward Jesus.

Even if you have difficulty praying the rosary, for whatever reason, its importance and power is unmatched, and everyone should be working it into their daily prayer life. No, it's not a mandatory prayer for Catholics--nothing is "mandatory" really if you want to get right down to it--but if you want to really gain insight, if you want to deepen your relationship with the Lord, if you have prayer intentions that break your heart, if you want to see this world change for the better, pick up those beads and persevere.

I know how hard this devotion can be. I have lots of difficulties and obstacles in my devotion to the Rosary. Some days I can't find 10 or 15 free minutes to devote to a Rosary; other days I just can't get my mind out of the whirlwind long enough to focus. I try, I start, but can't "get into it", as it were. There are times when I'm in the midst of a rosary when I'm so profoundly affected that it scares me, and I'm overtaken by fear the next time I pick up my beads. I'll even admit that sometimes I'm just too self-involved to get started, and put it off until I never get to it that day.

When I finally do make it over the hurdles, no devotion compares. Other devotions, prayers, even reading Scripture becomes preparation for my next rosary. I've written before about this: CLICK HERE for some suggestions when the Rosary becomes difficult. Here is some great insight from St. Louis Marie de Montfort that I've also found very helpful:
[Y]ou cannot say your Rosary without having a few involuntary distractions; it is even difficult to say a Hail Mary without your imagination troubling you a little, for it is never still; but you can say it without voluntary distractions, and you must take all sorts of precautions to lessen involuntary distractions and to control your imagination.

To do this:

1) Put yourself in the presence of God and imagine that God and his Blessed Mother are watching you.

2) Imagine that your guardian angel is at your right hand, taking your Hail Marys, if they are well said, and using them like roses to make crowns for Jesus and Mary.

3) Remember that at your left hand is the devil, ready to pounce on every Hail Mary that comes his way and to write it down in his book of death, if they are not said with attention, devotion, and reverence.

4) Do not fail to offer up each decade in honor of one of the mysteries, and try to form a picture in your mind of Jesus and Mary in connection with that mystery.

from "Four Ways to Avoid Distractions During the Rosary" by St. Louis Marie de Montfort. CLICK HERE to read the entire article posted at America Needs Fatima.

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