Friday, February 26, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The More the Merrier

This article is also posted at Convert Journal.

We would love to pray for your mother-in-law. Seriously. 

I like praying the Rosary. But I also bore easily. As I mentioned in last month's article Rosary Riff, to keep the Rosary fresh I make up my own Mysteries. But sometimes I won't use a mystery set at all. Instead I'll adapt the Hail Mary as needed to complement whom I'm praying for, and that keeps me perked-up and engaged.

Let's recall there are 53 Hail Marys in a Rosary. To me that's 53 opportunities to ask for individual intercessions. As time and memory allow, I will get in all 53. Here's how I do it.

First, here's the prayer with my standard change:

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of thy womb. (I prefer this phrasing.)
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

That's what I'll pray if I can't think of someone to pray for as each bead rolls around. But typically it'll be like this:

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of thy womb.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for Andrew Jones
now and at the hour of his death.
Amen.

And if Andrew has a particular problem, let's say cancer, then:

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for Andrew Jones' healing.
Amen.

So Mary and I pray together for Andrew. That's good; would it be better to have more people pray? Of course- I could pray like this:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and St. Andrew,
pray for Andrew Jones' healing.
Amen.

For someone who has died, like this:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and St. Elizabeth,
bid Elizabeth Kelly eternal rest.
Amen.

In fact if I invite a saint to pray along, it may go like this:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and St. Michael,
pray for Michael Jones' cancer, Mike Smith's marriage, Michael Green's search for a wife, and whatever Michelle White might need, because I have no idea but her name just popped into my head which may be Jesus' doing.
Amen.

In the above cases, I'm matching names. But I might also match saints to sinners thematically:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and Fr. Damien
pray for Doctor Black and Nurse White, now and at the hour of their deaths.
Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and St. John Bosco
pray for Frank Taylor who runs our parish Youth Group, and Scout Leader Butler, now and at the hour of their deaths.
Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and Saints Stephen and Lawrence,
pray for Deacons Smith, Jones, Black, and White, now and at the hour of their deaths.
Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and St. Isaac Jogues
pray for Father Smith who is serving in Peru, and all missionaries, now and at the hour of their deaths.
Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and Saint Francesca Romana
pray for the Jones family whose daughter died last week.
Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, St. Thomas and St. Francis de Sales
pray for Jane Hall who is falling away from the faith.
Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and St. Augustine
pray for Bill Howard who is considering becoming Catholic.
Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and St. Joan of Arc,
pray for Sgt. Aaron Tate who is in Iraq, now and at the hour of his death.
Amen.

See...it's an inexhaustible prayer algorithm. You could go for, you know, decades and not repeat a combination! Get fired-up about all those folks in heaven! Keep 'em busy! Learn about new saints, and keep them busy too!

And one last thing- I have my own problems, and I pray that they go away, or diminish, as God sees fit. But there's nothing like praying for other people's problems to put mine in perspective.

If y'all pray the Rosary in any particular ways, please post a comment about it. Don't be shy- inquiring Catholics wanna know.