The title of this blog post is based on something that I heard Fr. John Corapi say a long while ago. Fr. Corapi is an excellent preacher who tells it like it is and doesn’t mince his words. This particular came out during a talk that he gave about Mary and how the Rosary is a weapon that we must learn to wield.
I personally am not a fan of the Rosary. I have prayed it numerous times, but I have never gotten into it. I find it very difficult to meditate on the Mysteries and I also feel very distracted when I do. As St. Louis de Montfort emphasizes, it is important that we learn to say the Rosary correctly in order to pray it well. I believe that it is about time that I took his advice and put it into practice. I am probably not getting anything out of the Rosary because I am not putting anything into it.
I think that the same principle applies to our other devotions. I remember a priest once telling his parishioners that he would give them a series of sermons on the Mass during July. He said pointedly to the eye rollers in the congregation, “I’m not going to give you this series of sermons just because I think that it is an important topic. I am giving you these sermons because I want you to grow to love the Mass. Remember that what you put into it, you will get out of it.”
In my own daily prayer life, I often struggle to put a great deal into my devotions. I know that my recitation of the Divine Office can turn into a routine. Sometimes, I feel bored and restless. Sometimes, the devil makes me wonder why I even take several hours out of my day to pray in a foreign language. The thing of it is that I cannot discontinue the Divine Office because it is in Latin or because I feel bored. The thing about prayer is that it requires constant perseverance. If we don’t keep pushing and disciplining ourselves, then how can we expect to go to heaven? We can’t get there if we are complacent or if we just mumble our prayers. To truly pray as one should requires much more than the words printed on a page or recited.
In order to pray well, we must put our whole hearts and minds into what we are doing. We need to focus on the fact that we are doing is not merely for ourselves, but also for others. For example, the Divine Office is not merely my personal daily prayer or the prayer of a particular Benedictine community. Rather, it is the prayer of Mother Church herself. When I take up my breviary and pray, I am praying for the entire Church and every one that belongs to her. I cannot just pray it out of routine, but I must learn to pray it well because I am also interceding for others.
I think that having the right mindset is an important thing when it comes to prayer, but it is also important and necessary for us to realize that our prayers are not immediately answered. Many people pray when they are in desperate straits and need an immediate solution to a problem. Sometimes, God grants their requests and sometimes He doesn’t. When God doesn’t grant a request, however, that does not mean that He isn’t listening. He is always listening and ready to grant us what we desire with our hearts, but He will not grant us that desire in our own time. He will only give it to us in His own time. Not only that, but we must be like the importunate friend. We must continue to ask until we are given what we need. If we stop asking, then we probably will not receive anything.
Asking is important and so is having the right mindset, but prayer should not only be the Divine Office or the Rosary. It should also be something that transcends our very being. When one reads about the great saints, one quickly realizes that their entire lives were prayers before the throne of God. When they became united to Him, they became channels for His grace. In their life in glory, they continue to intercede for us daily and that is their constant work.
Throughout the rest of this day, let us continue to think about the wonders that God has wrought in our lives through prayer. Let us also think about the ways in which we can make our prayer lives better. After all, we must put into it what we can get out of it.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!