You Want Me to Say What?

Praying the rosary once through, for a single set of Mysteries, involves a total of sixty-seven prayers. Fifty-three of those are Hail Marys. In this age of 140-character Tweets (word is they’re expanding to 280), live-streaming and short attention spans, does that seem at all to be a reasonable practice? There’s a smaller version of the physical rosary (Google: pocket rosary), why can’t we shorten the prayers as well?

Hail Mary, full of Grace, pray for us. Now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

God knows what I want to say. Do I really need to say it?

At a time when our newsfeeds give us up-to-the-minute reports on natural disasters, political turmoil, and mass killings, the answer to the question above is yes – a resounding YES – we really do need to say it. Prayer is how we dialogue with God. It’s how we maintain and grow our relationship with him. Any prayer is better than no prayer at all, but at times, especially when we think the time doesn’t exist, we need to lose ourselves in conversation with God. Perhaps more accurately stated, we need to find ourselves, our individual selves and our collective selves, in prayer. Amid the perceived chaos of our own lives (reality check – many of the “huge problems” we have are extreme only in contrast to the many blessings we so often take for granted) and with an awareness of the degradation and despair that overshadows the lives of others around our country and our world, we must make, not find, a place for prayer – for meaningful prayer.

The Apostles’ Creed requires a reference sheet even at mass, and the Hail Holy Queen is a prayer that many don’t even know exists, but the other sixty-three prayers of the rosary are prayers that we know by heart. They are prayers that we should hold in our heart in such a way that as our mouths say them, our hearts and our thoughts can go beyond them – to contemplation of the Mysteries around which they exist, and to conversation with God about mysteries in our own world that trouble us. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops tells us that, “the gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ’s spirit dwells.”

In this month of the Holy Rosary, make time to enter that place where Christ’s spirit dwells. As educators, we are blessed to see that spirit each day in our students, your children, and it is our sincere hope that you see that same spirit – not only in your children, but in the other areas of your life that bring you joy. At the same time, we recognize that those moments of joy can be interrupted, and, at times, those interruptions are far too often. Especially during those interruptions, make time to find that joy, to find Christ’s spirit.

~ Michael Fletcher, Dean of Students