As much as I would like life to go back to normal, we are still far off from returning to any form of normalcy. Many of us have seen drastic changes to our educational, social, professional, and family lives throughout 2020. It will take time for society to return to 2019 norms. And while this may not have made headlines, the largest disruption of 2020 for many of us was to our prayer lives.
There is a lot of depressing news out there. Of course, COVID 19 is the leading headline. But there are also racial, political, economic, societal, and climate concerns. Personally, because of poor air quality due to fires in my area, I haven’t been able to go outside for any meaningful length of time. That has taken a toll on my mental state. These headlines can become all-consuming because they are the only view into the world many of us have if we’re sheltering in place.
I think the reason news headlines affect our moods more than ever is that practicing our faith has become disrupted. Many of us can’t go to Mass or receive the sacraments. We start to digest all this news with a lack of spiritual perspective that usually comes through prayer. It’s God who helps us face this often cruel and challenging world with words of hope. He tells us through prayer that everything will be okay if we put faith in His divine plan. When we don’t see things through this spiritual lens, everything starts to look more hopeless and pointless.
I’m not proud of this, but my Rosary prayer hasn’t been very consistent in the last few months. I took a summer vacation from praying. My summer wasn’t great; it was a large slog of work and parenting. We didn’t have any exciting vacations and my kids didn’t have their usual camps. My anxieties were only amplified by the lack of daily prayer. I dwelled on things that I would normally shake off as no big deal. Because I wasn’t grounded in prayer, my wellbeing was at the mercy of the latest headline.
Starting last week, I rebooted my Rosary prayer routine. Now that my kids are back in school (remotely), I’ve arranged my schedule so that there is time in the morning to pray the Rosary. I integrate light exercise and stretches between decades followed with a cup of fresh coffee to wake me up. I start the day in a much better state when I’ve had some exercise, coffee, and the Rosary.
I had a choice. I could either lament the state of the world or I could change my routine. I chose the latter and that has made a difference. Of course, my day is still challenging. But I’m slowly finding that physical, mental, and spiritual energy to face those challenges. Restarting Rosary prayer hasn’t been a silver bullet, but it helps. And from the “silver linings” department, because of COVID, my parish has started live streaming all Masses, including daily ones. I’ve started participating in those daily online Masses increasing my spiritual reserves for the day.
As we approach October, the month of the Rosary, I suggest changing your routine to include the Rosary if you aren’t already praying it daily. It might make all the difference for you and those around you to include Mary and her son, Jesus Christ, in your day. Like a trusted friend, lay forth all your anxieties at Mary’s feet and ask for her intercession. You will be amazed at what she will do if you approach her humbly asking for help.