Roses and Telephone Poles: How I Learned to Embrace Small Wins in Praying the Rosary

Roses and Telephone Poles: How I Learned to Embrace Small Wins in Praying the Rosary - The Catholic Woodworker

Picture this: The sun has not yet risen. The air is cool and crisp. The world is quiet, with only the occasional chirping of a bird or rustling of leaves to break the stillness. You pick up your rosary, hold your spouse’s hand and pray. You sit still, peaceful and reflective. After 15 minutes or so, you make the sign of the cross, open your eyes, feeling refreshed and ready for battle. Now… add two toddlers and a newborn, throw in some deadlines, responsibilities, etc.

Reality hits!

You're more focused on trying to wrangle the kids versus focusing on intentional prayer. You deal with work and kids’ nap schedule.

If you’re like me, the Rosary is a piece of the spiritual life that’s looking for a forever home. As we've added kids into the family, as work schedules have changed and we've moved, one of the biggest challenges for me is figuring out the right spot for it in our life.

Telephone Poles and Starting Small

I've been trying a lot of different things lately. I've tried saying the Rosary in the morning while drinking my morning coffee or even on the road on the way to the office and that seems to have varying degrees of success. 

I've also tried to do it in the evening with my wife and any kids who I can wrangle for long enough and again the same thing: varying degrees of success.

But here’s what I’ve realized.

Just like with diets, it's important to start small with prayer goals. Instead of committing to saying the entire Rosary, start with just one decade a day. It might seem insignificant, but over time, those small steps add up. 

Think of it like running - you start with one telephone pole, then the next, and before you know it, you've run a mile. It's all about stacking those small goals to build momentum and eventually reach the bigger ones.

Right now, I'd say I pray the Rosary once a week at the minimum. But I also try several times a week.

It’s Also About Humility in Small Achievements

Being proud of small accomplishments might sound like pride, but it's actually an act of humility. It's being humble enough to say, "Hey, we did a good thing even though it's not as big as I wanted it to be." 

The pride comes from saying, "I wanted it to be that big, but it's only this big."

We need to remember that it's not about us, but about God's grace working in us to achieve even the smallest goals.

Mind-wandering and Focusing on the Roses

I recently found out that I have pretty bad ADHD and I always wondered why I couldn't stay focused during the Rosary, even from a young age. And now, in hindsight, it makes a lot more sense why it was always a challenge sitting down for a prolonged period of time and actually trying to mentally focus.

One of the things that my mom always said, which stuck with me, is that every time you say a Hail Mary, it's like Mary's holding a rose for you from when you get to heaven. And so by doing that repetitively, and really thinking about it and praying through it, you're accumulating those roses up in heaven.

But you know what?

Sometimes letting my mind wander is not a bad thing. And with the ADHD thing, I used to always try to put walls around my mind. They're the rigid expectations I held about what prayer should look like, about what would qualify it as 'successful'. By redefining these constraints, I've learned to embrace a more flexible and personalized approach to prayer, which has enriched my spiritual journey in ways I never thought possible.

Lowering those walls and letting my mind wander a little bit allows me to see things or think of things that I might not have normally thought of. 

God uses it to speak to me in a different way.

God’s Invitation

I believe God is inviting me to come and say the Rosary daily where possible, including my family. He’s inviting me to work towards the rosary being part of my daily routine, starting small, and growing that habit as the family continues to grow and evolve.

Take the First Step

Often, the negative reactions to our prayer efforts come from ourselves. We think that God sees us the way we see ourselves, not good enough: I wasn’t focused enough during the rosary, I got distracted at mass, I missed a day of my novena.  We question whether these efforts have sufficient merit, and doubt that God is pleased with us.  Have you ever felt like that?

It is so important to remember that God is a loving and patient Father who delights in our progress, no matter how small. We need to be able to look at ourselves with that same kind of compassion and patience, being content with the smallest accomplishments.

So take the first step today, say just one decade of the Rosary, and build from there. 

"With God, nothing is small in the eyes of His love."  - Saint Therese of Lisieux

Your Turn

  1. Where does the Rosary fit in your life today?

  2. What is one small step you can take today to establish a regular Rosary practice in your life? How can you break down your goals into achievable pieces?

  3. How can you cultivate self-compassion and humility in your prayer life? How can you celebrate small accomplishments and trust in the merit of the Rosary, even if it doesn't feel significant at first?

Hello there! I'm Noah Vertefeuille. My journey began as a Catholic right from the cradle and life has graciously expanded to include the roles of being a loving husband and an active father to three wonderful children, all under the age of three. You might think it's a bit crazy, and you're probably right, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Every day, I'm driven by a deep-rooted desire to make the world a better place and to help spread the influence of our faith. Luckily, I've discovered that I can use my knack for technology, marketing, and problem-solving as powerful tools in this mission. I love the feeling of knowing that I can use these talents to make a real difference. So here I am, embracing the chaos and striving to contribute in every way I can.

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From Chaos to Calm: How to Incorporate Prayer into Your Hectic Work Life - The Catholic Woodworker
Heart of Devotion: Timeless Faith in a Changing World - The Catholic Woodworker