Lent is a season for focused prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. All three pillars are equally important, but I’d like to talk about prayer in particular, offering a Lenten challenge.
What if every Catholic truly understood that by praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day, they could effect real change in their own life and the lives of those they love? What if all Catholics truly understood that by collectively praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day, they would effect change in our current society and the entire world? These are two of the greatest spiritual weapons available to us, and as Catholics, we should be wielding them with reckless abandon, strong in the faith and truth that they will slay all of the demons surrounding us.
Perhaps you struggle with saying these prayers often, or maybe at all. Perhaps you pray them only in an emergency. Or perhaps you have learned through the trials of life, you cannot survive a single day without them. I propose that no matter where you are on your journey with these prayers –beginner to advanced- you can take one more step forward to deepen your relationship with them and, as a result, draw closer to Jesus and His mother who give them their very power.
I would like to challenge you, this Lent, to take that step. I have a few tips and suggestions to get your wheels turning on what that might look like for you:
- If you do not pray the Rosary every day, can you pray it every day during Lent? Or, maybe just every Friday?
- Can you pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day during Lent?
- If you already pray the Rosary every day, can you pray it 2, 3, or 4 times a day, incorporating more of the mysteries into your daily life? Pope St. John Paul II was known for praying all four rosaries every day.
- Maybe you can pray one Rosary most days, but can you fit in a couple more 2x per week?
- Can you pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for a different person by name every day during Lent? For example: “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on N. and on the whole world.” By the end of the Chaplet, you will have said that person’s name 50x in prayer.
- Can you pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day during Lent for specific group of people? For example: “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on (those afflicted with mental illness/addiction/world leaders/the homeless, etc.) and on the whole world.”
- Audio rosaries and Chaplets: If you really struggle with incorporating these prayers into your day, this may be a good aid for you. Do you have a 15-20 minute commute to work? If you played an audio Rosary to and from work, you will have prayed 2 rosaries a day or 10 per week for all of Lent. Do you have a 7 minute commute to work? You can listen to an audio version and pray 2 Divine Mercy Chaplets a day, 10 per week for all of Lent. Can you fold your laundry or walk your dog while listening to an audio Rosary or Chaplet?
- Maybe you can wake up 20 minutes earlier, or go to bed 20 minutes later.
- Invite your spouse, children, and friends to pray rosaries and Chaplets with you to increase your spiritual bond.
- If your day is such that it is difficult to say a Rosary all at once, you can break it up, praying a decade at a time throughout your day.
- If you don’t already, can you pray your Rosary or Chaplet in a kneeling posture for an added penitential effect?
- Find a book or pamphlet of Rosary meditations you like that can help you focus on the mysteries.
- Invite your guardian angel to pray the Rosary or Chaplet with you.
Now, decide what small step forward you can take in deepening your relationship with these prayers, and make a commitment to take it this Lent. Don’t worry if you slip up here or there, just keep going! Remember that Satan uses discouragement as his own weapon to tempt you out of persevering in your prayer life. Of course, my hope is that once you see for yourself that you can do more, it will extend beyond Lent and be incorporated into your normal spiritual life until you are ready to take yet another small step on your journey. Imagine for a moment, if every Catholic took on this Lenten challenge and the praying of rosaries of Divine Mercy Chaplets increased around the world exponentially. Most certainly miracles and blessings would be poured out everywhere in ways we cannot even fathom.
The Rosary is the weapon for these times.
-Saint Padre Pio
Those who sincerely say ‘Jesus, I trust in You’ will find comfort in all their anxieties and fears.
There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy – that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God.
-Pope St. John Paul II
The Rosary is the scourge of the devil.
- Pope Adrian VI
If we should be saved and become saints, we ought always to stand at the gates of the Divine mercy to beg and pray for, as an alms, all that we need.
–St. Alphonsus Liguori
The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you'll be amazed at the results.
- St. Josemaria Escriva
May both of them [Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II] teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.
- Pope Francis
Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.
- Blessed Pope Pius IX