Why the “Meds” in RosaryMeds?

rosaryIt has been a while since I’ve written a “go the extra mile” type of post.  But with all that is going on in the world right now I think a little spiritual “kick” is appropriate.  I want to tell you why I chose the name “RosaryMeds” for this website.  “Meds” can mean a lot of things.  The first word that comes to mind is “meditation” which I certainly promote on this website and in my guide on praying the rosary.  But you can also think of “meds” as the slang word for “medicine” which also applies to rosary prayer.  First, we should take a look at how some people view medicine:

  • Medicine is meant to treat a disease
  • Sticking to a prescribed regiment takes discipline and often a conscious change in lifestyle
  • Many people stop taking treatments because they don’t feel any positive effects
  • Many people don’t take the fully prescribed dosage because they believe they are already cured

We first must identify the disease being treated when thinking about the rosary as a type of medicine.  In my opinion, we all suffer from the human weakness of failing to follow God‘s will and having the tendency to commit sin.  In many cases, knowing right from wrong is fairly straight forward.  We know that we should avoid vices (lust, greed, envy, wrath, etc.) and embrace virtues (love, charity, compassion, etc.). But we often fall short in finding the strength, energy, and courage to act virtuous and follow the path God puts before us.  And that is where our “rosary medication” comes in.  Praying the rosary is our medicine that strengthens our resistance of committing sin.

Our holy mother Mary tells us that the rosary is our spiritual medication in many of her 15 promises.  She promised:

  • The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy. (#3)
  • It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. (#4)
  • Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish. (#5)

Generally available Marian image created in th...

Destroying vice, drawing hearts away from the love of the world, and not perishing in the fires of Hell sound like a some pretty powerful medicine to me.  But we never receive the rosary’s benefits if we never pray it.  Keeping a rosary in a drawer is like keeping the pill bottle in the medicine cabinet.  Medicine doesn’t magically get into our bodies and do its wonders by itself.  We have to want to get better from our affliction and take our medicine.  Similarly, we have to resolve to pray the rosary, stick to it, and make it part of our daily routine.  We have to want to become better people, stronger in faith, and closer to God’s good graces.  Once we find that motivation, the rosary “meds” can kick in and help multiply the benefits of God’s gifts to us.

Prayer is such strong medicine that Jesus Christ not only prescribed it to His disciples, but He took it as well.  While Jesus didn’t have a human weakness towards sin, He did experience fear about doing God’s will as we see in the First Sorrowful Mystery — the Agony in the Garden.  And what was Jesus’ action in the face of human weakness?  Jesus prayed to God for strength and courage which God gave Him as He endured a scourging, a crowning of thorns, carrying the cross, and crucifixion.  Jesus got all the spiritual medicine He needed to endure a level of hardship many of us will never (hopefully) experience.  If prayer was powerful enough for Jesus in His darkest hour, imagine what it can do for you in your daily struggles.

We know that sin and temptation attack our souls every day like a virus.  We know that the rosary is God’s prescription for treating it.  If you were sick with a physical illness would you skip taking your life-saving medicine because “you don’t feel like it?”  Keeping our souls healthy is so much more important than our our bodies (don’t get me wrong, we should take care of both).   So when it comes to our spiritual well being maybe we should be good patients and follow the doctor’s orders by praying regularly.  Remember, a rosary a day keeps the devil away!

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What Athletes Can Teach Us About the Rosary

Scandals in professional sports is nothing new.  Every few weeks we hear about an athlete cheating on a spouse, using drugs, squandering money on an extravagant lifestyle, or being arrested for any number of crimes.  And yet, if you were to take the secular media’s take on professional sports, the most scandalous and controversial athlete of the last few months was Tim Tebow because he (gasp) prays publicly!  And now there is another devout Christian in pro sports making news headlines.  Basketball star, Jeremy Lin, of the New York Nicks has been on fire lately; helping his team to seven victories in a row.  And like Tebow, Lin does not hide his religion either.  So what can Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin teach us about prayer and the rosary?

Unless prayer is part of your life, you probably won’t understand people who pray publicly.  Many people see Tebow’s taking a knee in a game as some sort of act of self-righteous piety.  But to Tebow, turning to prayer is just as natural as saying “please,” “thank you,” or “sorry” when the situation calls for it.  When something great happens, Tebow turns to God and thanks Him.  In any situation, whether it be a call for help or in thanksgiving, God is Tebow and Lin’s almost-instinctual “go to” person.  The fact that their faith seems weird and out of place tells more about our society and our values rather than their character.  But they can’t hide their faith or “tone it down” any more than we can stop our hearts from beating.  Prayer is just part of their DNA.  And in my opinion, that is something to be praised and admired, not mocked.

Jeremy LinTebow and Lin’s focus on their faith and prayer reminds me of the First Sorrowful Mystery of the rosary — the Agony in the Garden.  Jesus was scared before His arrest and crucifixion.  And when He found Himself in a difficult situation, Jesus’ immediate reaction was to turn to God and ask for help through prayer.  I’m sure that those who arrested Jesus, the pharisees that tried him, and Pontius Pilot who condemned Him probably all wished that Jesus would have “toned down” all that Messiah talk much like how many of us wish that some outwardly religious people would just shut up.  But being connected to God through prayer was an integral part of who Jesus was.  And, as followers and imitators of Jesus, we are called to make prayer an integral part of our lives too.  When we pray the First Sorrowful Mystery we should ask God for the strength and wisdom to constantly turn to Him in prayer regardless of the worldly consequences.

An angel comforting Jesus before his arrest in...Another aspect of the Agony in the Garden is how God chooses to answer our prayers.  While Jesus asked that God find another way to bring salvation to the world besides crucifixion and death, Jesus did yield to God’s ultimate wisdom.  It may seem that God did not answer Jesus’ prayer since He asked to be spared but was ultimately crucified.  But God did answer Jesus’ prayer by giving Him the strength and courage to face His physical and mental torture.  When we pray, we should realize that God does answer us and leads us, but probably not in the way we expect.  Tebow won’t win a football game because he asks God for victory.  Lin won’t always score 20+ points every game because he asks God for it.  We won’t win the lottery or get a promotion at work because we pray for it.  God knows that winning a football game, winning the lottery, or receiving that promotion won’t make us ultimately happy.  In fact, given our innate human weakness, the more worldly success we have the more likely we are to move away from God’s grace and true happiness.  God wants us to be ultimately happy by living forever in His heavenly kingdom.  And so we should look for the answers to our prayers that will meet that goal instead of the short term, and often short sighted, happiness we seek in life.

And so, when we see an athlete like Tebow take a knee and thank God, we should aim to imitate that behavior, not ridicule it.  We should be always conscious of our relationship with God which means constantly talking to God in prayer.  It seems like we spend so much time announcing to the world what we are doing through Twitter and Facebook.  Well, perhaps we should also remember to update God about our joys, sorrows, and worries.  Because ultimately, having a close relationship with God is all that really matters.  When you have that, everything else falls into place.

Do you want to learn more about the First Sorrowful Mystery and other rosary mysteries?  Read “The Rosary for the Rest of Us.”  Available now on Amazon.

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Blessed are the Students…

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For many of us, September means the start of a new school year.  And perhaps one of the largest transitions students face is going off to college.  I know this is “so last month” for those on the semester system, but I was a quarter system guy when I was in school.  Regardless of whether you are just moving in for orientation or are a few short months away from graduation, I want to share this article I came across in the Catholic San Francisco and how it relates to the First Sorrowful Mystery of the rosary.

The article is the Beatitudes for College Students and it outlines eight smart tips for thriving in college.  Some of them like staying away from drugs and going to class are just part of being a good student and a responsible adult.  But other ones like making sure you attend Mass, pray regularly, and keep in touch with family are often swept aside in pursuit of higher education.  While many people may do well on the academic, social, and career fronts, some often stumble spiritually during their college years.  For those who do fall away, hopefully it is just a temporary bump in the road.  But unfortunately, many become spiritually derailed in college.  We should pray for all of those in college as many schools (even Catholic ones) have become extremely hostile environments for practicing religion and spirituality.

One of the college student beatitudes is “Blessed are students who pray about and think through important decisions.”  People make very important decisions during their college years.  They must decide what to study, how to support themselves after graduation, where to live, how to manage finances, who will be their friends (or possibly spouse), and just how manage life as a responsible adult.  Furthermore, college is often a time to decide how much of a priority you will make living according to your faith and values.  For example, as many students find themselves living away from home for the first time, the question arises on whether to continue praying or attending Mass.  Often, we come to these decisions after consulting with friends, professors, family, and counselors.  We read articles, attend lectures, and try to research these life-altering decisions as best we can.  And yet we often forget to ask God for guidance by praying.  This not only applies to college students, but all of us.  Do you pray earnestly and listen to God before making large decisions?

We should remember the First Sorrowful Mystery where Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus prayed so hard to God on the eve of His death that He started sweating blood.  He begged God to find another way to redeem us other than crucifixion.  Ultimately, crucifixion was God’s will and Jesus followed it faithfully.  But Jesus’ prayers were answered in that God gave Him strength to endure crucifixion and peace knowing that through His death and resurrection He would ultimately open the gates of Heaven and give us the opportunity for eternal joy and happiness.

And so college students can learn a lot from Jesus’ example of praying earnestly when facing big decisions.  God does have a plan for each one of us but we have to listen carefully through prayer.  We must be particularly vigilant in those times when it seems like God does not answer our prayers.  Perhaps He did but in a different way than what we were expecting.  Sometimes, instead of removing obstacles in our lives, God gives us the strength to overcome them.

College saddles students with many questions and decisions.  For those starting college, take time to reflect on what people are of good quality and what activities will ultimately make you a better person (hint: it’s not drinking and partying).  For those in the middle of their college years, ask God for guidance before declaring a major.  And for those in the final years of school, consider praying for insight on how you will spend the rest of you life after you get that diploma.  And important decisions don’t end after graduation.  Your will need to make decisions your entire life whether it be about work, family, finances, and politics.  You will have challenges but don’t think you’re alone in facing them.  God is always one prayer away and will always lead you in making the right decision if you listen to Him.

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