My question is about my desire and satisfaction in spiritual discipline and worship. I prefer entertainment to time with God. That’s the honest truth. Time with God feels like labor. Entertainment is the passive place I go to get away from work for a while. But I am also terrified for my soul, because my past tells me I’m just not trying hard enough, and I will regret this in the future.
I can absolutely relate. Actively building a relationship with God is hard work. I know I have given into my lazy tendencies and decided to watch TV over praying my Rosary. I tell myself that I’ll watch a quick YouTube clip and then I’ll start praying. Then it’s one quick article in a magazine, then right after I brush my teeth and get dressed, then… I know that I’m kidding myself when I say I’ll pray the Rosary right after something else. But it’s easier to believe the lie than to admit that sometimes I’m just not feeling strong enough to pray the Rosary.
I think the hardest part about Rosary prayer is that there is not immediate gratification from it like watching TV. You usually do not feel any holier after praying the Rosary. In fact, you may feel more worn out or feel sad after contemplating all the times you have fallen short living the faith. You cannot pin down the small, incremental gains you make each time you pray the Rosary. It is that lack of immediate feedback that drives many people away from their rosaries and into the warm embrace of a TV or smartphone screen.
Let me ask you this. If you are married or in a relationship, can you pinpoint the exact moment you went from liking spouse to loving him/her? Can you say, it was December 22nd and 9:13 pm that your relationship went from admiration to love? Most likely, you can’t pinpoint the exact time when your feelings for your spouse took a large leap forward (and no, changing your status on Facebook doesn’t count). After a lot of time and effort, relationships deepen but the change is imperceivable at any given moment in time.
The same idea goes for the Rosary. You probably will not know the exact moment when Rosary prayer turns from chore or burden to necessity and comfort. But there is one thing for certain. It will remain a chore if you never work up the energy to start praying it. Our relationship with Jesus is similar to any other relationship — it takes work and effort and isn’t always very fun. You need to look past the momentary inconvenience of Rosary prayer and see how you are building one of the most important relationships of your life — your relationship with Jesus. With the proper perspective, the graces your receive through the Rosary dwarf the pain you feel praying it.