Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Commuting at 73 Prayers a Trip

I've decided to use my 35 mile commute to the best advantage... Instead of sleepily listening to music or the news on my commute, I have made an effort to say a whole Rosary during my commute. I turn the volume down low, grab my Rosary (although I want the Rosary steering wheel cover) from my purse along with my iPhone, open the Rosary app on my iPhone (simply called Rosary), begin working the beads, and set the cruise control to 73 mph. I know the prayers by heart, but I use the app for the Mysteries. I still haven't gotten the hang of the Luminous Mysteries or the days for which set. The app I use automatically gives me the Mysteries for the day with a scripture reading relating to it and a short Fruit of the Mystery. Since I'm driving while praying, I skip the Scripture and just announce the Mystery and it's Fruit aloud to myself (and the mouse and spider that I'm certain live in my Jeep).

My close personal friends know that lately I've been going through a rough patch with my health and with my job. It's very difficult to balance breast cancer issues, two children, a disabled husband, and a job. Oh, and that doesn't include my love of all things Catholic and Pro-Life, both of which add a little bit extra to my already full plate. Through my breast cancer journey, I honestly feel that I've never questioned God's will or succumbed fully to the depression that can easily afflict a cancer patient. I honestly don't think I've blamed God for my disease. However, I also can honestly say that I've not been nearly as devout and devoted as I could have been. Now that I've had my fifth major surgery (seventh if you count the lumpectomy/biopsy and port placement), I'm expected to miraculously be healed and back to 100%. I realize that it has been a L O N G journey to outsiders, but no one can have felt the length more than me! I'm back at work full-time now and still having some issues. However, I have found that my morning Rosary does wonders to helping me deal with the stresses of the day.

I will admit that the Rosary is just like Mass (and just like exercise): you get out of it
what you put into it! Enter into anything with a bad attitude or even just half of yourself and you're setting yourself up for failure and even frustration. This is not my maiden voyage with trying to devote my morning commute to Our Lady of the Rosary. In the past, I've tried praying the Rosary in the mornings only to quickly fall out of the habit. Or even worse, I've begun the Rosary only to quickly become so immersed in my problems (typically my intentions) or road rage that the prayerful meditation that is the Rosary is lost. There are times that I'm so stressed that I cannot focus enough to get through a single Hail Mary, much less the opening Apostles Creed. I've found that for myself, one of the best ways to combat this tendency is to actually say the prayers out loud. I kind of feel like a dork, but I'm not singing in the car, I'm praying in the car! Occasionally, I still miss part of a prayer due to inattention, but most often lately I find myself adding a prayer, the Act of Contrition, at the end of each decade (Hmmmm... I think the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me to go to Confession).

As I speed toward my job and away from my family, I don't consciously pray for anything in specific. Instead I kind of let my mind wander from stressor to stressor and concern to concern. I do try to mentally picture each Mystery and Fruit as I announce it to myself, however, I don't belabor them. I was explaining my driving Rosary to a non-Catholic co-worker (who has her own stressors both at work and at home). Since I know the prayers by heart, I *can* allow my mind to wander. Since I'm praying, my mind isn't wandering without direction. It gets direction from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit may guide me, but I don't feel like I'm getting tapped on the shoulder and told, "I'll fix this." Instead, as I progress through my day I'll suddenly come to a realization that I haven't worried about X or Y. I have an inner feeling of resolution. None of my problems have miraculously disappeared, but my perception and handling of my problems has improved. Even my supervisor has commented on a change in my attitude that coincides with my Driving Rosary. It is not a hardship to add these 73 prayers to my daily commute. I suggest everyone try to find time to let your mind wander in a daily Rosary! You may be surprised about the Fruits of your labor!

*For the suspicious and/or safety conscience, this photo was taken by my passenger!

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