A Rosary a Day Keeps the Frustration at Bay

Happy All Saints Day!

A few months ago I read a blog post written by a mom who was trying to find creative ways to curb her frustration with her daughter. As probably every parent can attest to, some days are harder (much harder) than others and kids go through various joyful, stressful, sweet and down right awful stages. The system she that proved effective for her was, brilliantly enough, hair ties.

I’m sure that others have thought of this before. She would start the day with 5 or so hair ties on one wrist. If she lost her temper or became overly frustrated with her daughter she would move one tie to the other wrist. She would try to earn that tie back through extra efforts at patience, kindness and gentleness. The goal, of course, to start and end the day with all the ties on the proper wrist.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, to what I can only a God moment. I have tried to pray the rosary daily on and off for years now (gosh that makes me sound old!) But it’s true! I can remember being in high school and college trying to say a rosary before bed and never making it past the 2nd decade. Or trying to pray them in the car and losing track of how many Hail Mary’s I said. I’ve tried bracelets, the little rings, pocket rosaries, you name it. Then, 2 weeks ago, it hit me. Use the hair ties!

So now, if you see me walking around with multicolored hair ties on my wrists, it’s not because I’m over prepared for any hair emergency. I have 5 thin, colorful hair ties that start every morning on my right wrist. As I say a decade I move one to my left wrist. The goal, obviously, is to have all the hair ties on my left wrist by the end of the day.

I didn’t realize what a game changer this would be. After a few days of this new practice I found myself describing my day in a whole new way to Ben. Here’s what I said, “You know, it’s been a bit of a rough day. But I had enough patience to handle with it, so it really wasn’t a big deal.” What?!? Who is this person who is speaking through me?

Now it isn’t all sunshine and roses of course. But I have noticed a definite change. I am more focused, especially in those moments when I am wondering what to do next. You know, that found time between finishing the dishes and starting the laundry, or the 2 minutes at your desk before a meeting, or waiting in line at the grocery store? Instead of pulling out my phone or aimlessly wandering through my brain, I am saying a decade of the rosary. There is more found time than I thought I had now that I’m on the lookout for it.

In this new practice, I am starting to feel more in sync with St. Paul who exhorts us to

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Jesus Christ. – 1 Thess 5:16-18

So many saints attest to the power of the rosary, here is just a small sampling:

“”The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.” – Saint Francis de Sales

“The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.” -St. Josemaria Escriva

“The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying.” Pope Leo XIII

“No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary” – Bishop Hugh Doyle

“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.” – Pope Pius X

“Our Lady – he says – is always close to Her children and ready to help when we pray to her, when we ask for her protection… let us remember she is always ready to serve and never keeps anyone waiting.” – Pope Francis

 

Today we celebrate all the saints in heaven, including Mary who is Queen of them all. What a most excellent day to pray a rosary!

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Are You Noseblind?

I think by now we’ve all seen the Fabreze commercials about not being noseblind. It’s a unique term and the various scenarios in which persons find themselves “noseblind” are quite funny.  I hadn’t thought much about this until I met a new friend here in Texas who uses the flameless candle wax melts. Whenever I go to her home it always smells so good! It got me wondering what my home smells like to others when they walk in. What am I noseblind too?

Afraid of what I would find, I too have joined the flameless candle bandwagon, though the generic kinds so Ben can pre-approve sents 😉 Though I can’t say for sure what our home smelled like before – probably a combination of Italian spices, windex, diapers, dog and muddy shoes (who wants to come visit now?) – but I couldn’t smell it. I was noseblind. Now, however, I’m learning to pay closer attention to the whole issue.

With the wax melts, I have learned, is that you don’t want to keep them on all day. You really only need an hour or two in the morning and again in the evening. Also, after about a week or so, you will not notice the scent as much. This isn’t because the wax is losing its scent, it’s because you are going noseblind to it. Time to change up your scents!

How much of life goes the same way. Your workout routine is boring, your diet is unappetizing, your housework is stale, your prayer life is arid. It’s time to change up your scents, your routines. There is beauty in habit and structure, but sometimes we go noseblind, life-blind. This happens even in our prayer lives. Dare I say, especially in our prayer lives.

In the last 6 months, how many of the following have you done or tried to do?:

  • Sat in a different seat at Mass or attended Mass at a different time than your usual routine
  • Told someone you are Catholic/engaged in healthy dialogue with another individual about your faith (the individual may or may not be Catholic)
  • Learned a new prayer of the Church (like the Angelus, the Memorare, prayers for before or after Communion, etc.)
  • Memorized a piece of Scripture
  • Prayed as a family at a time other than before a meal
  • Said a novena or engaged in some form of intercessory prayer for a long period of time (anything longer than a single instance of prayer)
  • Made an intentional sacrifice for another person or cause
  • Gone to Confession
  • Learned about a new saint
  • Read a book that deepened your spiritual and/or theological knowledge

0-2: You could be noseblind in your faith. Your habits are well ingrained and could use some shaking up. If you feel like your faith is in a stagnant place or that God isn’t close, consider trying out one or more of the ideas above to stir things up and discover new fervor and focus.

3-5: Depending on who you are and what things you’ve tried, you may or may not be noseblind. This one is more subjective based on your personal habit patterns and faith life. Are the things you said “yes” to experiences that stretched your faith, or are they part of your typical lived faith? If you were stretching yourself, then you probably aren’t noseblind. If they are part of your normal, you might still reflect on whether your faith life needs some stirring up.

6-8: Wow, I would be pretty confident in saying you are not noseblind. You are actively engaging in your faith, rather than walking through the motions. There is always more we can do to deepen our relationship with God, but it would seem that you have found a variety of opportunities to see Him and grow in your love for Him.

9-10: Amazing! There is no way you are noseblind. You are engaging your faith at all levels, finding God in Scripture, Mass, community, the Sacraments, intellectual knowledge and spiritual knowledge. You must be consistently seeking new ways to grow in your faith and share it.

I hope you found this exercise interesting. I know it was enlightening for me to come up with these categories and answers and realize just how easy it is to become noseblind in our faith.

What other ideas do you have for keeping faith fresh and at the forefront of our daily thoughts and actions?

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

 

December 24, 2016 – Silence

Words cannot describe how excited my children are for tomorrow. Their eyes are glowing and they are twitching and bouncing all over the house. While we aren’t experiencing many “Silent Nights”, their joyful energy is filling the house with special emphasis on our nativity scene.

Advent Prayer Reflections - Christmas Eve. dailygraces.net
Traveling Mary and Joseph – Fontanini Nativity set. CC Kate Taliaferro 2016.

Last year for Christmas Ben gave me a “traveling” Mary and Joseph. Mary is pregnant and sitting on the donkey while Joseph walks beside her. I love the realism. Mary looks exhausted and is barefoot. Joseph also looks weary but still shows the way. They have been traveling to the manger scene since we set up the nativity. We put up the the more traditionally posed Mary and Joseph along with Baby Jesus and the kids know that today Mary and Joseph will finally arrive at the stable. At first, they kept asking “Where are the real Mary and Joseph? The ones who sit by Jesus?” It was interesting to see how even at 5 and 4 years old they already have impressed in their minds the image of the Holy Family peacefully sitting in the stable.

This got me thinking about our past 4 weeks of Advent prayer experiences. We exposed ourselves to a variety of prayer forms, reflections and methods. Prayer is so many things! It is preparation and petition. It is reflection and listening. Prayer has the power to transform and stabilize. Ideally, prayer is our relationship with our God.

Look at Mary and Joseph on their journey. Because of their relationship with God they were open to His divine presence working in their lives. When the angel came to both of them (Mary at the Annunciation and Joseph in his dream) they were given the opportunity to say “yes” to God’s Will for their lives. They continued to say yes each day that followed, all the way to this day, the day before the Day.

We, too, have been preparing our hearts and minds this Advent to welcome the Christ child. We have shouted with John the Baptist, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” and we have quietly offered our own yes to God’s Will. For today, I’d encourage you to spend your 3 minutes in silent union with the Holy Family. Spend your time in silence, finding the tension between peaceful trust and anxious anticipation that Mary and Joseph must have felt on this morning.

It is the last day of travel and unbeknownst to them, the last day of Mary’s pregnancy. They probably shared their breakfast together and I would bet they prayed together. Ahead of the them the road was probably becoming crowded and noisy. They may have been worried about where they would stay that night. Would today be the day their precious baby, God’s son, would be born?

In the midst of all the excitement, noise and celebration today brings, allow yourself a few minutes to be united with Mary and Joseph as they awaited the coming of their Savior, their son.

*** Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook pageDaily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com