Living for God When No One Else Is

Great Science Fiction

I recently completed reading all seven books of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. It is considered one of the pillars of science fiction winning a Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1996. Great science fiction contains elements of truth and reveal universal aspects of human nature. And while the Foundation series takes place in the distant future across galaxies, many of its themes will resonate with readers.

One of the main themes across most of the Foundation novels is the idea that nothing great lasts forever. In many of the books, the golden age of the empire is distant history or, in the earlier novels, is in a state of decay. Many characters notice that the empire grew too large to manage and maintain a high standard of living. One of the characters points out that infrastructure breaks and isn’t fixed. People lie, cheat, and steal because law and order has broken down. After a while, the citizens of the empire just stopped caring about doing what is right and instead try to take for themselves the empire’s dwindling resources.

Our Decaying Society

I think the United States, if not the world, is in a state of decline. Pick any city and you will see decay as governments and citizens no longer care about their neighborhoods or neighbors. As I said in my earlier post, society is growing courser as people turn inward. Civility and civic responsibility seem to be relics of the past. Many people don’t live for the betterment of their neighbors, but instead try to reap as much as they can for themselves no matter how unethical it may be. After all, why should we be held back by morality when no one else is?

The Rosary

We should meditate on the Third Sorrowful Mystery — The Crowning of Thorns. The fruit of this mystery is moral courage. Moral courage is what is lacking in today’s world. It involves deliberation and careful thought, rather than impulsive actions. When faced with doubts or fears about the potential outcomes, individuals exhibit moral courage by standing up for ethical principles. Essentially, moral courage is the willingness to do what is right, even when it’s difficult, risky, or unfashionable.

Jesus showed moral courage at his Passion. He chose what was right, doing God’s Will, even when he reaped no personal benefit from it. He knew that what he was preaching was going to get him into trouble with the Pharisees. But he understood that he had to proclaim the truth and do God’s Will even if it wasn’t popular. Contrast that with Peter who denied he knew Jesus because he was afraid of what people may do to him. In fact, all the apostles (except John) deserted Jesus when it was no longer fashionable to follow him.

We may look at Jesus’ example during the Passion and claim that of course he could be morally courageous. He was God Made Man after all. He knew he was going to rise from the dead. We have to remember that we too have that guaranteed afterlife as well. We won’t come back to this life as Jesus did, but we will spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell. The morally courageous person understands that and does the right thing. Because the world may not care what how you act, but God does.

Imitating Jesus

Are we showing moral courage and doing the right thing even when it’s unfashionable or no one cares? Do we resist the temptation to cheat, steal, or bend a few rules because no one is going to punish us in this life? Are we practicing our faith although the people around us are not? We may live in a decaying world. The good news is that we don’t have to live FOR this world. Our gaze should be on God’s Heavenly Kingdom. When we show moral courage, we show that our priority is on living for God instead of following fickle societal trends.

“It is Finished”

On Good Friday my parish meditates on the last words of Jesus before he died on the cross. There are seven phrases that Jesus proclaimed from the cross. What happens is that a parishioner presents a meditation on each phrase. This year, I’m leading the meditation on “It is finished” (John 19:30). Here it is below. I hope you all have a powerful Triduem and a joyful Easter!

The phrase, “it is finished,” is so short and yet profound.  It marks the conclusion of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  Jesus did not end with a lengthy testimonial or a summary of all that he accomplished or making sure that people understood his teachings.  To those standing at the foot of the cross, these words may have sounded like words of defeat.  That despite his best efforts, the pharases and Romans had won in ridding the world of someone they considered a nuisance.

Instead, Jesus’ words highlight the comfort and peace that comes from doing God’s Will.  By earthly accounts, Jesus did not have much to show for his life.  He made plenty of enemies, was betrayed and abandoned by his closest friends, and died on the cross.  And yet, he found comfort and peace knowing that he did what God asked of him.  His mission was not to reach a certain number of conversions, healings, and miracles.  His ministry was not about keeping score.  It was simply doing God’s Will.  It was about giving all he had in service to God.

We too may sometimes feel like we don’t have much to show for all our efforts.  Each day may feel the same – wake up, work, relax, repeat.  Maybe we have difficulties with our health, family, job, or other situations that make us think, “Why me?”  Or, where’s my reward that’s due to me?  But we need to look at Jesus on the cross.  Did he complain about how unfairly he was treated?  Or did he regret how much more he could have done if given more time?  After all, there were so many more people he could have reached out to and healed and converted.  But no, he had done all that God asked of him and he knew that his mission was finished.

We too need to look at our lives and ask how much of it is given to God and how much of it is given to our wants and desires.  Can we say, “It is finished” with the same amount of peace as Jesus knowing that we faithfully served God and his Church?  Or are we holding something back?  Are we clinging too tightly to our concerns, doubts, and fears as we fight against what God wants of us?  Are we afraid that if we open ourselves to God’s Will, he will lead us to places we don’t want to go?

When I look around at the world today, I see so much anxiety, depression, and unhappiness.  I think much of that has to do with a lack of meaningful purpose.  We can get so caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t make time for that higher calling.  In my own life, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or unaccomplished I need to ask myself, “Am I doing God’s Will or trying to fulfill a list of worldly accomplishments?”  Am I too focused on the day-to-day of work, my kids, my family, or my hobbies that I’m not listening to God and what he wants of me?

Doing God’s Will isn’t easy.  No one will say that Jesus led an easy life or a peaceful death.  But he could triumphantly proclaim that his earthly life had reached a satisfying conclusion having done God’s Will.  We tend to make our lives so complicated and we suffer as a result.  Maybe now is a good time to reduce and simplify and ask, “I am doing God’s Will?  Am I placing this day, my fears, my anxieties, and my insecurities into God’s hands?”  Because that’s the only way we will find that peace that Jesus had on the cross.  It’s the only way we will hear, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your master!”

How to Break out of Complacency Loops

The Hell of Monotony

My family just watched the 90’s comedy, Groundhog Day. It’s about a man, Phil Connors, who lives February 2nd repeatedly. Whenever he falls asleep or dies, he wakes up at 6 AM, Feb. 2nd and relives that day. As entertaining as the movie is (one of Bill Murray’s best), I’m not the first person to notice religious undertones it contains. You can read commentary about how the movie hints at philosophies found in Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. 

Phil relives the same day for nearly 34 years given all the knowledge and skills he obtains. He knows practically everyone in the town, learns how to play the piano at a professional level, French poetry, and ice sculpting, just to name a few. But reliving the same day that many times is someone’s personal Hell. Like Sisyphus rolling a boulder up a hill only to see it roll back, Phil is condemned to live each day only to start over and never knowing how to break out of it.

Stunted Spiritual Growth

While many of us don’t relive the exact same day as depicted in the movie, we can fall into routines where each day just feels the same. We enter loops of monotony. We wake up, go to work, listen to the same news stories, eat the same foods, watch the same shows, play the same games, sleep, and repeat. Like Phil, we feel like there isn’t a point to our day as it seems like we’re doomed to do the same things repeatedly.

It’s not that our days need to be bad or challenging to experience our own Groundhog Day. We may like our jobs, have good health, and not have any real problems. But are we growing spiritually? Are we striving to be a better person? Often, we get stuck in the loop of the status quo never challenging ourselves to do better. We may start to withdraw from others in an attempt to isolate ourselves from the inconveniences associated with personal growth — the schedules, the commitments, and dealing with different personalities.

Opportunities to Improve

Phil broke out his loop by putting together the perfect day. He stopped trying to manufacture a day where he got what he wanted and instead focused on what others needed. He caught a boy falling out of a tree, bought insurance from an annoying salesperson, gave the Heimlich to someone choking, and fixed a flat tire for some senior citizens. He even tried to help an elderly homeless man whom he ignored in his first dozen years. Now the critic in me has to point out that all these nice deeds were to ultimately impress a woman. Groundhog’s Day is a romantic comedy at heart after all. But strip out that predictable plot point and you are left with a man who breaks out of his hell by serving others.

The skeptic may also note that Phil could act selflessly because he knew exactly where to be when needed. He had lived the day so many times, he memorized who needed help and when. We don’t have that gift of foresight. However, while our days may not be the same, we can also learn how to be at the right place at the right time. Every day is an opportunity to improve ourselves. We can reflect each night on what we did well and where we fell short. Who are we ignoring who desperately needs our help? As long as there is a tomorrow, we can strive to put together that ideal day and break out of any loops we may have in our lives.

Because Phil was stuck reliving the same day, he also had to interact with the same people. One particular annoying person was an insurance salesman, Ned Ryerson. At first, Phil tried to avoid him or punch him. But he later learned to just act nicely to him and make his day by purchasing insurance. We often can’t change who we interact with. We may have annoying coworkers, family members, and sometimes friends. But we can change how we interact with them. God may be putting us in difficult situations so that we can learn how to deal with others as he wants us to.

How the Rosary Helps us Break Monotony

Let’s look at the apostles in the First Sorrowful Mystery. By the time Jesus was arrested, the apostles probably had fallen into a comfortable routine. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had stopped being amazed by Jesus after years of traveling with him. They had gotten comfortable with the lifestyle of traveling from village to village as part of Jesus’ entourage. But then they didn’t know what to do when Jesus was arrested. Maybe they had grown so comfortable in their routines that they stopped trying to grow spiritually. They were asleep in the garden; their physical state possibly reflecting their motivational state.

The apostles broke out of their loops when Jesus ascended into Heaven and they needed to go out at evangelize Jesus’ message. God may not be calling us to such dramatic changes. But we can work at making each day count. Every morning is a new opportunity to work towards spiritual growth. We can work harder at avoiding sin and temptation. We can work harder at more devotional prayer and spiritual formation. And we can work harder at being there for the people who need us. If you feel like you’re stuck in a loop, treat each day as an opportunity to break out of it by striving to live according to God’s divine plan.

Fighting Superficiality in our Lives

We all act superficially at times

Here’s a follow-up post on a topic similar to sloth. This time, I’m talking about superficiality, a close relative to sloth and gluttony. By superficial, I mean lacking depth or substance and focusing on surface-level qualities. We often have that stereotypical, “bimbo blond” idea of superficiality which leads us to believe superficiality doesn’t apply to us. However, while we may not be a superficial person, we can act superficially at times.

One way many of us tend to act superficially is by spending too much time on activities that aren’t meaningful. There are those obvious ones like spending too much time in front of screens either binge-watching shows and movies or spending time on social media trying to craft this artificial projection of ourselves. We often chase “likes” and “thumbs up” on our online persona trying to impress faceless (and often non-human) masses.

Superficiality in the news

But there’s another way we trick ourselves into superficiality. And that’s how we consume news. Many of us follow the 24-7 cable news cycle, not as a means of education, but as a means of entertainment. We follow our politicians like a sports team; cheering when they succeed and jeering when the “other side” wins. Instead of reporting facts and educating the public, most news outlets know they can increase advertising revenue by appealing to our baser tribal instincts of “us vs. them.” Often, the news is really no more substantial than episodes of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

Not only is much of the media superficial, but it deprives us of worthwhile activities and dispositions. One of the ways media makes money is by scaring us. They present the improbable as likely making everyone believe that the “other side” is going to destroy us all. That leads to persistent feelings of dread and despair. When we replace our faith in God with superficial mass media, we replace hope with hopelessness. We tend to see everything through a lens of superficiality. We start to believe that our world is such a mess that not even God is powerful enough to fix it.

Following superficial news applies to news about the Church. Many of us follow scandals in the Vatican like soap operas. Worse, we often mistake following Church news for practicing our faith. We think because we know what Pope Francis said or how some bishops responded, we’re better connected to Jesus. Reading or watching homilies is a good start, but it isn’t the same as receiving the sacraments. 

How to fight superficiality

How do we combat this superficiality? It’s quite simple actually. TURN OFF THE TV! I’m not saying you need to cut yourself off from world events. Like any appetite, you need to show restraint and control. Gluttony isn’t just about overindulging in food; it’s overindulging any appetite whether it be food, entertainment, or news. When you overindulge or consume things of low value, you don’t leave any room for God in your life.

Make time in your life for meaningful activities. Like a diet of proteins, fats, and carbs, you need to find a balance of spirituality, work, and leisure. Make time for prayer such as the Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, and reading Scripture. Put in an honest effort on your work. And relax with some exercise, reading a good book, and spending time with friends and family. Find the superficial in your life and replace it with the meaningful.

When you pray the Rosary, meditate on the Second Sorrowful Mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar, whose fruit is Mortification or Purity. Think about what superficial practices in your life you need to purge. Like Jesus being scourged, showing discipline over our baser instincts can be painful. It’s hard to let go of easy comforts. But in that suffering, we learn how to overcome the temptation of a comfortable, but shallow, life so we can grow in holiness. Similar to how whips tore away Jesus’ flesh, we need to tear away the superficial “skin” in our lives that prevents us from experiencing deeper connections with our brothers and sisters in Christ and God himself.

Ten Practices to Reclaim Prayer Time from Screen Time

How I Lose My Day to Screen Time

My day follows a similar pattern. I wake up and pray for the Liturgy of the Hours. After dropping the boys off at school, I will pray the Rosary at church or during my commute. I seem to be on track prayer-wise until about 9 a.m. when I start work. And then my prayer for the day drops off completely aside from saying grace before eating.

There are many reasons why my spiritual routine takes a hit. To start, I have to focus on my work throughout the day and parenting in the evening. There is also the need to relax and take breaks. This usually takes the form of taking out my phone and reading my RSS feeds or playing a quick game. In the evening, when the house is quiet once again, I treat myself to streaming videos. To summarize, my phone with all its apps distracts me. Part of it is the intentionally addictive nature of apps but much of the blame falls on me for seeking these distractions in the first place.

10 Ways to Break Your Phone Addiction

On Catholic Exchange, Teresa Mull wrote an article about detaching yourself from your phone. She suggests making these habits part of your routine:

  1. Designate phoneless areas of your home and commit to phoneless activities: walking in nature, going to the gym (you’ll make more friends without your earbuds!), dinnertime, sitting in waiting rooms, and so on.
  2. If your phone causes you to sin, cut it off: leave it at home, in your purse, whatever.
  3. Consider significantly reducing your social media usage or getting rid of social media all together.
  4. Limit your consumption of news to an hour a day. Find one news program to watch, or one newspaper to read, or one podcast to listen to, and leave it at that.
  5. Wear a watch. If you’re like me, you use your phone as a timepiece, but checking it can lead to reading emails and texts.
  6. If you like to unwind by perusing social media, website, etc., set a timer and discipline yourself. It’s far too easy to be carried away and waste time on these platforms.

Her list is a good start but I think we can expand it. Here are some of the ways I’m replacing screen time with prayer time.

  1. No email or apps in the morning until prayers are completed. That may be the Liturgy of the Hours, reading Scripture, praying the Rosary, etc. The only exception is if those prayers are on an app on the phone. In that case, I have to exhibit some discipline.
  2. Designate a certain amount of quiet time each day. Try 10 minutes of no phone, TV, books, music, etc. Just let your mind wander or pray.
  3. I have a “TODO” list. Before watching any videos in the evening, I need to make progress on something on my list. For example, I need to spend time writing this article before watching “20 Amazing Gadgets that Will Blow You Away” on YouTube.
  4. I need to leave room for nightly prayers before going to sleep. That’s the last thing I do before falling asleep.

Using the Rosary to Break Addictions

What is a good Rosary mystery for breaking addictions? A phone or gadget often goes from being a tool to a vice. That’s where the Second Sorrowful Mystery comes in. The fruit of that mystery is mortification. The Latin root of that word is “death.” Mortification is the practice of putting our sins and vices to death. Through self-denial, we allow those things that separate us from God to “die” in our souls so that God’s grace will grow.

In the context of the Scourging at the Pillar, mortification can be seen as a way to unite our sufferings with those of Christ. Jesus endured immense physical pain and humiliation during his scourging, yet he did not resist or retaliate. Instead, he accepted his suffering with humility and love, offering it up to God for the salvation of humanity. By practicing mortification in our own lives, we can learn to imitate Christ’s example of selflessness and grow in holiness.

If your phone causes you to sin or pray less, ask Mary through the Rosary for the strength to break your phone’s addictive spell. It’s time we all start spending more time with God and less on TikTok. Your mental, physical, and spiritual health will thank you.

Three Articles on Faith, Courage, and Prayer

I’m going to give you a small glimpse of how I create content for RosaryMeds. When I read a book, news, or blog site, watch a video, or listen to a podcast, I get ideas on how the topic relates to the Rosary. I will then meditate and brainstorm on that topic for a week as I write drafts. However, sometimes I come across articles that I find interesting but cannot write a comprehensive article for them. I usually just read them and file them away for reference. But I’m going to try something new — write an article that includes short summaries of the various content I come across. I hope you find these articles useful and provide fuel for your prayers.

Trusting the Experts Is a Sign of Spiritual Decline – Crisis Magazine

This article discusses the dangers of “scientism” and the “technopoly” where we put our faith in so-called “experts” and technology instead of God. The author observes:

Instead of technology supporting and nurturing the values of society, technology itself reforms the values of society to revolve around it. Thus, all religious beliefs, symbols, and elements are hijacked and transferred from the supernatural realm to the technical realm. The god they serve does not speak of righteousness or goodness or mercy or grace. Their god speaks of efficiency, precision, objectivity. And that is why such concepts as sin and evil disappear in Technopoly. They come from a moral universe that is irrelevant to the theology of expertise…Sin and evil disappear because they cannot be measured and objectified, and therefore cannot be dealt with by experts.

Pray and meditate on the Fourth Luminous Mystery — The Transfiguration. The fruit of this mystery is the desire for holiness. We need to consecrate ourselves to God, not technology. It’s not that science and technology are inherently evil, but they can become false idols in our lives. We should stay focused on serving God and looking to him in all things regarding our souls.

Are We Willing to Defend Our Faith? – Crisis Magazine

This article talks about the need to defend our faith in the face of a culture that is antithetical to Catholic values. It calls out the Church hierarchy as being too accommodating of non-Catholic voices inside and outside the Church.

If Catholic conviction about Christ, grounded in history from the time of the first stirrings of the Church’s life on the day of Pentecost, is true—and therefore binding upon the faithful—then we’re all obliged to defend it. We shall have to answer before God Himself, in other words, on how well we have done in discharging our duty, which means upholding the dignity and identity of the Son of God.

The Third Sorrowful Mystery is The Crowning of Thorns whose fruit is Moral Courage. May God grant us the courage to defend Church teachings. God will help us live faithfully in a world that will attack us for it.

When Prayer IS the Distraction (

This article talks about three ways we pray that really aren’t prayers. They are:

  1. Telling God how good we are by telling Him our various good works.
  2. Requesting the Lord for signs or trying to make deals with Him.
  3. Asking God to justify or validate our actions.

We should contemplate Jesus’ actions at the Garden of Gethsemane in the First Sorrowful Mystery. This mystery is the epitome of mindful and faithful prayer. Jesus humbly asks for the strength to do God’s Will. There’s a request to have God find another way, but Jesus isn’t trying to negotiate with God. Jesus lays out his fears but also his confidence in God’s plan for him. When we think about this Rosary mystery, let’s imitate Jesus in our prayers.

Moral Courage vs. Pride this June

June is coming which means pride month in the USA. No matter where you go, you’ll be bathed in rainbow slogans. But this year, we’ll be subjected to even more propaganda as the “trans” movement will be piggybacking, if not taking the spotlight, of pride month.

This year, I challenge you to not patronize businesses that so aggressively market ideas and propaganda that go against our Catholic faith. We really have to ask ourselves what’s more important to us — our faith and values or cheap goods and entertainment?

Bye Bye Major League Baseball

Case and point. This year the LA Dodgers and Major League Baseball will be honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at one of their games. This is a group that gets attention pushing transgenderism by mocking the Catholic faith. If this group mocked any other religion as they do, they would be widely condemned as a hate group. But they are being honored and celebrated. Why? What does honoring this group or even having a “pride night” have to do with baseball? Seriously, would anyone have cared if a baseball game was just, you know, a baseball game?

I’m not supporting MLB or their advertisers as best I can. I love the game of baseball. I would like to spend a warm summer’s day with my family, hot dog and soda in hand, watching a game. But I cannot support an organization that clearly hates me and everything that is valuable to me. I can live without major league baseball. I can’t live without God’s grace.

See Ya Target!

Another company I won’t be patronizing is Target. They are aggressively marketing LGBTQ+ apparel. It will be front and center at all their stores. And the Target corporation seems to be doubling down on its anti-Catholic stance. The person who designed their pride apparel is a professed Satanist. She once said, “Satan respects pronouns.” It doesn’t get any more on the nose than that. I’m not going to give my money to a company that knowingly sides with evil forces to market dangerous propaganda to families and children.

Moral Courage

The fruit of the Third Sorrowful Mystery is moral courage. The Romans tortured and mocked Jesus during his Passion. But Jesus endured it because of his love of God and knowing the importance of doing his will. We too, must show moral courage. Mary will give us the strength, through her Rosary, to endure. God isn’t asking us to be martyrs, at least not in this case. He’s asking us to love him enough to abstain from supporting those entities that are attacking his Church.

Let’s make a statement this June. Saint Paul had his “road to Damascus” moment when he realized the error of his ways. If Catholics came together and really rejected companies that openly attack our values, we could force the modern-day road to Damascus moments for these companies. We can make it their “Bud Light” moment where they realize that it doesn’t pay to mock and attack their customers’ core values.

Don’t Give Satan an Opportunity

Do you know what it’s like to have a good idea or plan and then to see someone not follow it at their peril? For example, if you have kids then you’ve probably seen them go ten rounds fighting over something that could have been resolved with 30 seconds of conversation. When we don’t follow rules, we introduce so much unnecessary chaos. Well, I feel like the world is enduring so much self-imposed misery when the path to happiness and meaning is right there in front of us!

Christ Versus Satan

I recently read Father Robert Spitzer’s Christ Versus Satan in Our Daily Lives. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to boost their spiritual defenses. I’m not going to lie, it’s a scary book as it outlines all the ways Satan tries to control us. Fr. Spitzer discusses Satan’s tactics, demonic possession, and the eight deadly vices. He makes it clear that there are demonic forces at play in our lives waiting to attack the undefended.

There is, however, a sense of hope in the book. Try as Satan might, his powers are still bounded by God. Fr. Spitzer shows how Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the desert failed because he was no match for the power of God. We too can defeat Satan and resist temptation when we call on the protection of God. The problem is that many people do not call on God’s protection and invite Satan into their lives.

A World Falling Apart

I mention this book because it relates to what we see in our world. Our society has abandoned the values and principles that have protected us from evil. We are currently undergoing a radical, worldwide experiment of replacing values such as religion, family, and community with an almost “anything goes” attitude. And poll after poll shows us that people are feeling less happy and satisfied as a result.

If you read Fr. Spitzer’s book or just read Catholic doctrine, the erosion of society shouldn’t come as a shock. We open the doors to Satan’s control when we abandon God’s protection and seek fulfillment in worldly pursuits. Whether we admit it or not, we are spiritual beings with eternal souls with an innate sense of good and evil. And when we turn our back on the good, Satan will fill that void.

I’m not saying that the world was perfect in the past or that everyone who practiced a religious faith was an angel. After all, we fought horrific wars and people’s behaviors in their private lives weren’t anything to brag about. But I feel like we, as a society, knew what was right and wrong even when we failed to live up to them. We tried to steer our laws and behaviors toward the good. We’ve gone so far off the rails as a world now that we don’t acknowledge basic facts about human anatomy or basic ethical and moral principles that most religions, philosophies, and societies have recognized for thousands of years.

What is Truth?

Jesus’ scourging and crowning of thorns took place under the direction of Pontius Pilate. He notoriously asked Jesus, “What is truth?” He would have felt right at home in today’s world where everything can be doubted and explained away if it’s inconvenient. There are thousands of “Pilates” in our world condemning those who live by God’s Truth under the pretense that the truth is hurtful and bigoted. Like Pilate, so many people find it easier to dismiss truth and hence, dismiss God, because it is often hard to live up to.

Like Jesus falling under the cross in the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, we will fall under the weight of sin. We can complain whenever we fall to sin about how unfair it all may seem. There are so many rules and restrictions that our crosses impose on us. Wouldn’t we be so much happier if we threw off the weight of religion and dismiss all her teachings on vice, sin, Satan, Heaven, and Hell?

The reality is we cannot pretend our crosses do not exist. Jesus didn’t magically make his cross disappear although he had the power to do so. He didn’t complain about how unfairly he was being treated during his Passion and Crucifixion. Let’s imitate Jesus and acknowledge God’s Truth and plan for us even if it’s hard for us to follow. Just because we fall short at times, doesn’t mean God is wrong and needs to be replaced with a truth that is easier to follow. Instead, God calls us to dig deep and find the strength to do his Will that he infused in all of us.

Strong Body, Strong Spirituality

I know you don’t typically visit RosaryMeds for fitness and diet advice. However, with us being in the middle of Lent which is a season of fasting and sacrifice, I thought it would be interesting to discuss how our physical state affects our spirituality.

I think it’s important to reflect on our physical well-being during Lent as we fast and sacrifice. We can reflect on our health every time we refrain from eating that cookie, pastry, candy, soda, or other treat. Are you feeling better from a healthier diet? Are you getting more exercise? Praying more? If you’re feeling better overall, maybe your Lenten practices have something to do with it.

Taking Care of Yourself All Year

I took up the practice of intermittent fasting several months ago. For those who don’t know about intermittent fasting, it’s the practice of not eating anything for 16 hours (typically between 8 PM to noon the next day). At first, it wasn’t easy but it has gotten easier over time as my body has adapted to this new baseline. My labs have never looked better as a result!

I bring up intermittent fasting to show that your Lenten practices don’t need to end on Easter. If your Lenten practices show benefits, whether that be physically, emotionally, or spiritually, then by all means, you should consider extending them. For example, if you gave up soda for Lent, maybe you can continue to cut back on it after Easter. The key is not to give up entirely on beneficial practices when Lent ends. Over the years, Lent has become a great way for me to establish new, healthy habits that extend throughout the years.

Exercise is More than “Looking Good”

At first, exercise and diet may seem like practices geared toward the vanities of this world. After all, one of their aims is to look more attactive. But there’s more to exercise than enhancing physical appearances. You are able to offer more to God when you feel better physically. If you have the endurance and discipline to exercise and resist unhealthy foods, then that develops that same ability to fast, pray, and practice your faith. Furthermore, our physical health aids our mental health. When we feel better physically, our brains can focus on deeper contemplation, meditation, and action of serving God.

Here are some other ways exercise and good physical health positively affect our spirituality:

  1. Boosting mental health: Regular exercise helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which can make us more receptive to spiritual experiences.
  2. Providing space for reflection: Physical exercise can provide a temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, allowing space for introspection and meditation.
  3. Helping us connect with others: Participating in group fitness classes or sports can increase our social connections, which can contribute to a greater sense of community and compassion.
  4. Providing a sense of empowerment: Achieving physical goals through exercise can boost self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of purpose, all of which can contribute to a deeper sense of spirituality.

The Rosary and Exercise

The fruit of the Second Sorrowful Mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar, is mortification. The word’s Latin root means “death.” Jesus calls us to put to death our sinful habits and vices that are part of our fallen human nature. Lent is a time of mortification. Other Rosary texts refer to the Second Sorrowful Mystery’s fruit as “purity.” Again, the idea is that we make ourselves pure by taking up our crosses and following Christ. We can better handle our “crosses” when we take care of our physical needs. Jesus, by all accounts, was physically strong. That allowed him to persevere through his ministry and Passion.

The scourging was an incredibly torturous practice. Jesus suffered a great deal. While we shouldn’t inflict harm on ourselves or others, our Lenten sacrifices echo this call to embrace hardship to detach us from the riches of this world and focus on the riches of God’s Heavenly Kingdom. When you meditate on the Second Sorrowful Mystery, ask God for the strength to take care of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. They all act in concert to bring us into deeper communion with God. Doing so may feel painful, but it’s vital.

The Rosary is a Daily Five-Item “To Be” List

I’m a huge fan of lists, whether “to do”, bucket, thanksgiving, etc. The Rosary can be considered a new type of list, the “to-be” list. The beauty of the Rosary is that it serves as a daily reminder of the type of person God wants us to be. If you pray the Rosary daily, you have an opportunity to review at least five items in your “to-be” list.

When I read news and articles, particularly ones with a list of their own, I often connect them to Rosary mysteries. This way, I solidify the central meaning of the article every time I pray. For example, I read this article on the Five Traits of Resilient Fathers. That immediately got me thinking of how each trait maps to a Rosary mystery. Now I can reflect on each trait, and whether I’m practicing it, whenever I meditate on a particular mystery.

For those who didn’t read the article, here’s the rundown of the five traits parents, fathers in particular, must show. I’ll then show you the Rosary mysteries you can meditate on to remind you of each trait.


Clothed in Virtue

In the Fourth Joyful Mystery, it’s hinted that Simeon and Anna spend all their time in the temple praying. Scripture also says that Simeon was a “righteous” man. Put those two concepts together — always praying in the temple = righteous. If we want to be clothed in virtue, we need to be constantly practicing our faith through prayer, attending Mass, and receiving the Sacraments. These are all necessary practices if we are to know what is virtuous and find the strength to live righteously.

Ready to Forgive

Picture Jesus on the cross in the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery. The criminal on his right asks Jesus to “remember him.” He’s essentially asking Jesus for forgiveness which Jesus readily gives. Even in his suffering on the cross, Jesus asks God to forgive the people who are crucifying him. Jesus shows us that we must always be willing to forgive regardless of circumstances or transgression.

Ruled by Peace

Picture Jesus in the Garden of Gesthemene in the First Sorrowful Mystery. Jesus was scared about his coming Passion and Crucifixion. He prayed multiple times that he would do God’s will. The Gospel writers then show everyone losing their minds — Pharisees yelling for Jesus’ crucifixion, apostles scattering in fear, and mobs of people crying or taunting him. And yet, through all of this chaos, Jesus remains calm and level-headed. He had peace about him even when he had every reason to be upset. Peace is the result of earnest prayer, learning God’s will, and asking him for the strength to do it.

Steeped in Scripture

When I was in a summer college seminar, my roommate read the Bible every night before falling asleep. At the time, I thought this was a strange practice. Reading the Bible routinely seemed like something only priests did, not 21-year-old college students. Later in life, I learned the importance of learning the faith through the Bible, Catechism, and other Church writings. When meditating on the Fourth Glorious Mystery, I think about how Mary was assumed into Heaven and helps guide us closer to her son, Jesus. In her apparitions, she instructs us to read Scripture so that we may grow closer in communion with Jesus.

Always Thankful

The word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving.” When we pray the Fifth Luminous Mystery, The Institution of the Eucharist, let us remember to give thanks that Jesus is present in our lives. He’s more than just a person who lived 2,000 years ago. He’s here with us today, teaching, healing, and guiding us closer to God. Of the billions of years the universe has existed, we should be thankful that we live in the relatively small sliver of time that humanity has known God through Jesus. And we should be thankful that we have an opportunity to rest in Jesus’ presence whenever we pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

There you have it. Five traits and five Rosary mysteries. Hopefully, these mysteries will remind you to practice these traits. Ask God to strengthen you and everyone in the areas you need help.