You may have heard the clever observation that people nowadays have become human “doings” rather than human beings. Multi-tasking, packed calendars and smart phones can keep us bustling from sunrise until long after sunset.
There’s nothing wrong with a busy schedule — as long as we don’t become “too busy” to pray. And by that I don’t mean a muttered, “God help me get through this construction zone so I can get to work on time!”
If we don’t have time to entrust our plans and our day to the Lord, it’s easy to be deceived, and then blind to God’s action in our lives.
It starts out with distorted thinking: What’s the point of sitting in the Blessed Sacrament chapel for adoration? Does it really make a difference?
Then there’s the rosary, that ancient prayer that’s been referred to as one of our greatest spiritual weapons. Maybe we’ve questioned the importance of saying so many Hail Mary prayers. Wouldn’t our time be better spent, say, serving the poor?
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked by a reporter how she and her sisters spent hours in prayer each day when there was so much work to be done.
Her response must have surprised him. “If we don’t take time to pray, we could not do this work,” she said simply.
Fr. Sergio Fita, the pastor of St. Anne Parish in Gilbert — one of the largest parishes in the Phoenix Diocese — had a similar answer when I asked him how he and his associate pastor manage to spend about four to five hours throughout the day in prayer, including 15 to 20 decades of the rosary.
“Activity is not worth anything if it is not born of the love of Christ and intimacy with Him through prayer. So it’s not losing time — it’s just the opposite,” Fr. Fita told me. “Prayer is first for the Christian.”
When Our Lady appeared at Fatima, she asked us all to pray the rosary daily for conversion and world peace. She assured the three humble shepherd children that there was no problem — in the family, the Church or the world — that could not be solved by praying the rosary.
Change of heart
I must admit that even though I knew the rosary was a very powerful weapon, I didn’t start praying it daily until about a year ago. That’s when I stumbled on a CD version of the rosary I could listen to in the car.
With lots of time behind the wheel each day getting the kids back and forth to school and covering stories for The Catholic Sun, I realized I could use 20 minutes of that time to pray the rosary.
It wasn’t as though I had this sudden change of heart about it. A good friend had given me a copy of the Liturgy of the Hours, the book of prayer with the psalms, hymns and prayers offered by Catholic clergy, religious and laity around the world for centuries.
I found myself drawn into the rhythm of morning, evening and night prayer. The next thing I knew, it was unthinkable to not have that time carved out each day, devoted to honoring God in union with the Church throughout the world.
Those prayers began to form my heart and mind, giving way to a deep desire to spend more time in prayer. The daily rosary became a natural extension of that. Instead of just enduring the daily drive, I started looking forward to having that time to pray with Our Lady.
A curious thing happens to the soul that begins to build its life around union with God through prayer. There are still just 24 hours in each day, but somehow God makes them more productive and peaceful.
Prayer — whether it’s eucharistic adoration, the rosary, the Liturgy of the Hours, or simply quiet contemplation — draws us closer to Truth, beauty and peace, strengthening us to meet life’s challenges — even rush hour in a city perpetually under construction.