It’s hard to believe that October is already here. The dog days of summer are over, kids are back in school, and more pleasant weather is in the forecast. October is my favorite month of the year, as the weather cools and I start to feel more relaxed.
The central role of Mary in our faith is confusing to many non-Catholics, but to us, it’s easy to understand. A mother is the anchor of her family, so Mary is the anchor of the Church. There are many feast days and holy days throughout the year to celebrate Mary and the important role that she plays as Jesus’s mother and the mediatrix of grace. October is another one of these opportunities, as we celebrate the Month of the Rosary.
The Rosary is a powerful prayer, but praying it regularly can be a challenge. The Rosary is simple and contemplative. It can be easy to mistake the repetition of the Rosary for boredom, but that’s its hidden gem. Life is busy, and we’re always trying to stuff our priorities into every waking moment. The Rosary is an invitation to set all of that aside, even just for 15 minutes. It’s permission to relax, rest, and experience the joy that is stillness.
Mindfulness and meditation are popular in light of the unsettled past 18 months. These medically validated practices, when done regularly, yield tangible health improvements. While their benefits are clear, developing a regular mindfulness practice takes work. There are many guides and apps to help, but at the end of the day, mindfulness requires that you set aside the busyness of life for 10 minutes of focus. Praying the Rosary takes the physical health benefits of mindfulness and supercharges them by refocusing that time off the movement of your breath onto the greatness of God.
During His public ministry, Jesus was constantly mobbed by people. He was on the move, performing miracles, and in every town was a new group of people eager to meet this mysterious prophet. Many times, we see Him trying to withdraw to a quiet place with the Apostles to pray. The Rosary is that quiet place for us, waiting to give us the rest that is good for our souls.
When we want to take on a new goal, we lay out grand expectations and plans. We plot, strategize, and optimize, trying to find the perfect way to get from where we are to where we want to be. This is the model of the New Year's Resolution, and it’s a broken model. We build a plan that demands perfection when we know that we are imperfect. When we deviate from our perfect plan, we throw up our hands, give up, and forget about the whole thing.
Praying the Rosary every day doesn’t require any planning, strategizing, or optimization. It only requires 15 minutes and the willingness to accept the grace of stillness. Find those 15 minutes in your schedule, set them aside, and give yourself permission to connect with God through praying the Rosary.
Whether it’s been a few months or a few years since you’ve picked up your Rosary beads, make this October a turning point in your life. Rediscover the beauty of rest and commit yourself to praying the Rosary.