Praying the Rosary with littleness

Happy Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary! I was thinking about the times I had prayed the rosary before entering community, and I was reminded of a story from when I was teaching. Here is a reflection I wrote back on October 11, 2013.

Dear Jesus,

I prayed the rosary with a couple 2nd graders today. Boy was that a gift. I smiled more times during prayer than I have in a while. How many times you must smile at our prayers. The first smile came when I was showing a little girl the Apostles' Creed on the paper that was handed out to the children. I told her we would begin with that prayer. She held the paper in her hand, looked at the whole prayer, tracing the words down the page with her finger, all the way down (it took up one whole side of the page because the font was enlarged for "little kid eyes"). Her big eyes looked back at me, got close to my face, and in a "kid-attempted whisper" (which is not even remotely close to a whisper) exclaimed, "we believe all of this?!" I chuckled at her surprised response, but also the simple truth that she spoke and the appropriateness of her question. "Yes." I whispered back.  "We do."

 I showed the three children how to begin holding the rosary and
 continued to coach them on as we prayed together. They were very concerned that they were always on the exact bead for every prayer. This pattern continued of: prayer, hold-up the rosary to check, nod from me, sigh of relief from the kids and then smiles all around as they glanced at one another, prayers, repeat. Excitement was interlaced throughout our prayer as little legs kicked (since their feet could not reach the floor) to the rhythm and eyes peeked up occasionally to smile at one another. So proud and happy to participate and pray and honor you, Jesus and Mary; how they love you!!

By the third decade the children were doing quite well without much assistance. At one point, though, one little boy dropped his rosary... mid-prayer. The little girl sitting next to me immediately turned to me, wide-eyed, leaned in really close to my face and was just ready to speak in her "kid-whisper", when all of a sudden she put her finger up to
 shush ME reminding me she was praying and we shouldn't speak. :) When she felt it was appropriate, she used her "kid-whisper" to tell me that whenever anything holy drops (the boy's rosary for instance) you need to kiss it to make it holy again... well, the boy definitely heard this (along with the pews in front and behind us, I'm certain, because I saw some heads turn and smiles as she spoke this) and the boy definitely heard because he quickly kissed his rosary and we prayed on. (I'm not sure about the whole kissing things to make them holy again, maybe as a sign of reverence, but I didn't dare interrupt her prayers to discuss this with her, in fear she would "shush" me again. She wasn't messing around the first time... lesson learned). The bead checking continued every once in a while, but a good rhythm continued for the duration of our prayer until we ended with the sign of the cross.

When we finished, the little girl turned to me and said, "I'm good at this!". The boy said, "I never prayed the rosary before," and he smiled happily. And I told them both, "Thank you for letting me pray with you, I would love to do it again." 

Just like St. Therese, with childlike faith, we too can approach prayer like children. They were just learning how to pray the rosary, made some mistakes, even dropped a rosary... but what matters is they prayed with love for Jesus Christ and Mary with their whole hearts! They wanted to please God and nobody else, and they felt happy afterward about their prayer experience so much so that they wanted to do it again! 

Jesus, I'm sure you smiled and felt their love no matter whether they were on the right bead or said all of the prayers word for word, for you know what was in their hearts, how much they tried to do their best for you and how much they love you! I continue to learn so much from these kids each and every day. Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me through your children.

"Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence."

~Saint Francis de Sales

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen
Have you prayed your rosary today? October is the month of the Holy Rosary! If you do not know how to pray the rosary, here is a printable guide.   Already know how to pray the rosary? Read encyclicals written about the rosary.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

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