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By Saint Louis de Montfort

How to Avoid Distraction When Praying the Rosary

To be guilty of willful distractions during prayer shows a great lack of respect and reverence. It makes our Rosaries unfruitful and makes us guilty of sin. Let’s learn how to avoid distraction when praying the Rosary!

How can we expect God to listen to us if we ourselves do not pay attention to what we are saying? How can we expect him to be pleased if, while in the presence of his tremendous majesty, we give in to distractions, like a child running after a butterfly? People who do that forfeit God’s blessing, which is changed into a curse for having treated the things of God disrespectfully: “Cursed be the one who does God’s work negligently.” Jer. 48:10.

Of course, you cannot say your Rosary without having a few involuntary distractions. It is even difficult to say a Hail Mary without your imagination troubling you a little, for it is never still. But you can say it without voluntary distractions. And you must take all sorts of precautions to lessen involuntary distractions and to control your imagination.

To do this:

1) Put yourself in the presence of God and imagine that God and his Blessed Mother are watching you.

2) Imagine that your guardian angel is at your right hand, taking your Hail Marys. If we say them well, our guardian angel will use them like roses to make crowns for Jesus and Mary.

3) Remember that at your left hand is the devil. He’s ready to pounce on every Hail Mary that comes his way. He will write it down in his book of death if they are not said with attention, devotion, and reverence.

4) Do not fail to offer up each decade in honor of one of the mysteries. Try to form a picture in your mind of Jesus and Mary in connection with that mystery.

STORY

We read in the life of Blessed Hermann of the Order of the Premonstratensians. At one time, he used to say the Rosary attentively and devoutly while meditating on the mysteries. Our Lady used to appear to him resplendent in breathtaking majesty and beauty.

But, as time went on, his fervor cooled and he fell into the way of saying his Rosary hurriedly and without giving it his full attention. Then one day our Lady appeared to him again. But this time she was far from beautiful. There were furrows on her face and her face shown great sadness.

Blessed Hermann was appalled at the change in her. Our Lady explained, “This is how I look to you, Hermann, because this is how you are treating me. As a woman to be despised and of no importance. Why do you no longer greet me with respect and attention while meditating on my mysteries and praising my privileges?”

The Rosary is the hardest prayer to say well

When the Rosary is well said, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious for the soul than any other prayer. But it is also the hardest prayer to say well and to persevere in, owing especially to the distractions which almost inevitably attend the constant repetition of the same words.

When we say the Little Office of Our Lady, or the Seven Penitential Psalms, or any prayers other than the Rosary, the variety of words and expressions keeps us alert. It prevents our imagination from wandering.  And makes it easier for us to say them well. On the contrary, because of the constant repetition of the Our Father and Hail Mary in the same unvarying form, it is difficult, while saying the Rosary, not to become wearied and inclined to sleep, or to turn to other prayers that are more refreshing and less tedious.

This shows that one needs much greater devotion to persevere in saying the Rosary than in saying any other prayer, even the Psalter of David.

Keeping the Imagination Focused

Our imagination, which is hardly still a minute, makes our task harder. And then of course there is the devil who never tires of trying to distract us and keep us from praying. To what ends does not the evil one go against us while we are saying our Rosary against him.

Being human, we easily tire and our prayers can then be slipshod. But the devil makes these difficulties worse when we are saying the Rosary. Before we even begin, he makes us feel bored, distracted, or exhausted. And when we have started praying, he oppresses us from all sides. And when after much difficulty and many distractions, we have finished, he whispers to us:

“What you have just said is worthless. It is useless for you to say the Rosary. You had better get on with other things. It is only a waste of time to pray without paying attention to what you are saying. Half-an-hour’s meditation or some spiritual reading would be much better. Tomorrow, when you are not feeling so sluggish, you’ll pray better. Leave the rest of your Rosary till then.”

By tricks of this kind the devil gets us to give up the Rosary altogether. Or to say it less often. And we keep putting it off or change to some other devotion.

How to Defeat the Devil

Dear friend, do not listen to the devil. But be of good heart, even if your imagination has been bothering you throughout your Rosary, filling your mind with all kinds of distracting thoughts. So long as you tried your best to get rid of them as soon as you noticed them.

Always remember that the best Rosary is the one with the most merit. There is more merit in praying when it is hard than when it is easy. Prayer is all the harder when it is, naturally speaking, distasteful to the soul and is filled with those annoying little ants and flies running about in your imagination, against your will, and scarcely allowing you the time to enjoy a little peace and appreciate the beauty of what you are saying.

Even if you have to fight distractions all through your whole Rosary, be sure to fight well, arms in hand. That is to say, do not stop saying your Rosary even if it is difficult to say and you have no sensible devotion. It is a terrible battle, but one that is profitable to the faithful soul.

Don’t give in to the evil one

If you put down your arms, that is, if you give up the Rosary, you will be admitting defeat and then the devil, having got what he wanted, will leave you in peace. On the day of judgment he will taunt you because of your faithlessness and lack of courage. “He who is faithful in little things will also be faithful in those that are greater.” Luke 16:10.

He who is faithful in rejecting the smallest distractions when he says even the smallest prayer, will also be faithful in great things. Nothing is more certain, since the Holy Spirit has told us so.

So all of you, servants and handmaids of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, who have made up your minds to say the Rosary every day, be of good heart. Do not let the multitude of flies (as I call the distractions that make war on you during prayer) make you abandon the company of Jesus and Mary, in whose holy presence you are when saying the Rosary. In what follows I shall give you suggestions for diminishing distractions in prayer.

More Helpful Ways to Avoid Distractions

After you have invoked the Holy Spirit, in order to say your Rosary well, place yourself for a moment in the presence of God and make the offering of the decades in the way I will show you later.

Before beginning a decade, pause for a moment or two, depending on how much time you have, and contemplate the mystery that you are about to honor in that decade.

Always be sure to ask, by this mystery and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for one of the virtues that shines forth most in this mystery or one of which you are in particular need.

Take great care to avoid the two pitfalls that most people fall into during the Rosary. The first is the danger of not asking for any graces at all, so that if some good people were asked their Rosary intention they would not know what to say. So, whenever you say your Rosary, be sure to ask for some special grace or virtue, or strength to overcome some sin.

The second fault commonly committed in saying the Rosary is to have no intention other than that of getting it over with as quickly as possible. This is because so many look upon the Rosary as a burden, which weighs heavily upon them when it has not been said, especially when we have promised to say it regularly or have been told to say it as a penance more or less against our will.

Here are Four Ways to Implement Our Lady’s Peace Plan from Heaven!

Introducing the first installment in a short series about the Peace Plan from Heaven. For the next two weeks, we will share four steps. These steps show how you can begin putting the Plan into action. Even more importantly is how you can implement these steps into your everyday lives. Finally, the series will end with special prayers given by the Angel at Fatima! So let’s begin our journey into the Peace Plan from Heaven…

Implementing – Step 1 of 4:

Next installment –  Step 2 0f 4 coming soon!

Our Lady’s 15 Promises to Those Who Pray Her Rosary

At the Family Night Out on Wednesday, we heard about the Rosary and why we should pray it every day. But with only 15 minutes, that’s just not enough time share all the special information about the Rosary. So each week, we’ll feature an article about the Rosary for you to read here. Beginning with Our Lady’s 15 promises to those who pray Her Rosary:

1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.

[A signal grace may be a simple sign in daily life that answers a question made in prayer or points towards God’s will. For example, seeing a rose after finishing a novena to St. Therese of Lisieux could be considered a signal grace. Signal graces are often subtle or seemingly coincidental.]

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.

3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.

4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means!

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.

[In other words, anyone who faithfully prays the Rosary and asks for Mary’s intercession will be saved from hell.]

6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.

[An unprovided death means dying while not in a state of grace (that is, in dying with unconfessed mortal sin in the soul). The Blessed Mother promises that anyone who regularly prays the Rosary, and earnestly tries to live according to God’s will, will be spiritually prepared when their time of death comes.]

7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.

[Our Lady ensures that the soul will receive sanctifying grace through the Sacraments prior to its departure from the body.]

8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.

9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.

10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.

11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.

12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.

14. All who recite the Rosary are my Sons, and brothers of my Only Son Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

[By this the Blessed Mother means that a devotion to the Rosary is a good indication that the devotee is on the path to Heaven.]

It is amazing to realize how much grace and heavenly help we can receive by an act so simple as praying the Rosary regularly. It only takes 15 minutes to pray! Set aside time alone, with your family or with some friends to start the habit of reciting a daily Rosary. If you don’t think you have time, try praying on the way to work in the morning. You will surely notice the grace it brings to your life, as promised by Our Lady!

Join Pope Francis to Pray & Fast For Worldwide Peace

Pope Francis is asking all men and women of goodwill, regardless of their religious denomination, to join him in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace Feb. 23 for the war-torn countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, of South Sudan and the world.

Addressing crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus Feb. 4, the Pope said that “Faced with the tragic protracted situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23rd, the Friday of the First Week of Lent”. (Vatican News)
The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, is encouraging Catholics across the nation to join with Pope Francis on Feb. 23, for this special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace.

Take Action

What can I do for peace? Three ways to respond:
  1. Learn about the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Read this statement from the USCCB President.
  2. Pray for peace using this Prayer for the Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the whole world or one of these prayers for peace.
  3. Share what you’ve learned with others. Spread the word on Facebook or Twitter. Invite your parish to use these Prayers of the Faithful for the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23.  Gather your community for prayer for peace using the Scriptural Rosary for Justice and PeaceChaplet of Divine MercyLitany of the Holy Name of JesusLitany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or Holy Hour for Peace. Give to Catholic Relief Services. . . to support their peacebuilding work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and other countries.

CRS Encounter: Iraq – Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Jesus reminds us that we are all made in God’s image and likeness. That means that every human being has a special value and a purpose. We need to care for each other so we can be the people God calls us to be.

Encounter Majd

 

Eight-year-old Majd thought his family was going on a picnic. His mother, Lamya, said they would be back home in a week. But when ISIS attacked their home in northern Iraq, the family fled for good.

“What worried me the most were the kids,” Lamya says. “Our life was stable and we were doing well; we had a very big house. Our children had everything they needed. But when we fled, I was not able to bring anything for them—not even food.”

Fortunately, the family found an apartment to rent with other displaced families. It is much smaller than the home they had, but it’s safer. The children enrolled in a CRS-sponsored school, where the routine provides hope, stability and a sense of belonging. “Education is very important,” says Lamya, especially in Iraqi culture.

Lamya received training from CRS and became a teacher at the school. Now she has hope for the future. “I really love children, so when I go to class I feel like I am with my family,” she says.

Her son, Majd, also loves going to school. “Majd is so motivated to go to school. He just wants it to be morning so he can go,” Lamya says. “He is relaxed, having fun and more confident.” For Majd, school means a normal life—now and in the future.

 

With Lent quickly approaching, let’s talk about more ways to prepare for Lent! Giving up something for Lent is traditionally what most of us tend to do. Because that’s what we always did in the past when we were younger, right? Indeed, we tend to do what’s familiar. With this in mind, why not challenge ourselves to do something different but extremely meaningful? Something that will make this the most meaningful Lent ever?

Prepare for Lent!

If you’re reading the previous posts, you’ll see other ideas you can incorporate into your Lenten devotions. Recall there are hundreds of videos and books on FORMED. Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever is once again offering their amazing Lenten devotions. All are fantastic options! But there’s more…Add to the scene another great option to help you pray more this upcoming Lenten Season.

A New Lenten Devotion

Introducing FORMED.org’s Lenten Devotion:

Interested in signing up? Click this link HERE!

Pope Francis’ 2018 Prayer Intentions

Please remember to keep the Holy Father’s prayer intentions included with your daily prayers throughout 2018. Each Sunday during the Angelus address, he will request prayers for specific people and situations that are of deep concern to him and the universal Church.

Click here to access and download the 2018 monthly prayer intentions!

 

Assumption Parish Family Night Out!

Wednesday, February 7th from 6:00-7:30PM

Please join our Parish Family for Family Night Out on Wednesday, February 7th from 6:00-7:30PM in the Church Activity Center.

We’re inviting and encouraging all parishioners to attend this evening’s event. All ages are welcome! Come and enjoy a delightful “walking taco” dinner with your family and friends. There is no cost for the meal but free will donations will be accepted.

Catechesis

After dinner will be breakout sessions. High schoolers and adults will listen to our engaging guest speaker (see below).  Youth will break into age-appropriate groups to participate in  their own discussions on the topic.

Engaging Motivational Speaker

Fr. Phil Shangraw

Guest Speaker

We’re excited to have Fr. Phil Shangraw sharing the evening with us to speak on the topic of Forgiveness and Reconciliation! Many of you already know Fr. Phil as he presides at the 5:30PM Sunday evening Mass at Assumption every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fr. Phil, you’re in for a special treat! With his undeniable humor and sharp wit, Fr. Phil is an exceptional motivational speaker. Through clever examples and insightful stories, Fr. Phil will reveal how each of us can obtain freedom from the burden of our sins through the forgiveness that is readily available in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Babysitting

There will be free babysitting provided after dinner for children who are not old enough to attend the sessions.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth Baltruczak by phone at (616) 361-5126 x258 or email at:  Youthminister@assumptionbvm.com

 

The Group Rosary Brings Forth Numerous Graces!

Group Rosary prayer is the best way to pray the Rosary. In Sacred Scripture, Our Lord says: “For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”Matthew 18:20

This verse is often quoted to show the power of group prayer. This certainly includes praying in a group Rosary but is not exclusive to the Rosary. Furthermore, many popes have encouraged group Rosaries.

Group Rosaries are Powerful

To further demonstrate that the group recitation of the Rosary is indeed powerful are the words of Blessed Pope Pius IX, “Give me one million families praying the Rosary and the world is saved.”

He also said, “If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, in your country, assemble every evening to recite the Rosary.” This theme of families, groups, countries and even armies praying together is carried forward by the words of Pope St. Pius X. He said, “Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”

Clearly these Pontiffs were encouraging, no beseeching, people to pray the Rosary together in groups. The Rosary is not only efficacious for personal spiritual growth and special graces. The Rosary is also powerful enough to end war and even save the world!

Please join our voices together in a Group Rosary every Saturday and Sunday:

5:00pm before the 5:30pm Masses Saturday and Sunday evenings
8:30am before the 9:00am Mass Sunday morning

All ages (from infant to adult) are encouraged to join as it’s never too early and it’s never too late to start praying the Rosary! If you’ve forgotten how to pray the Rosary, the Group Rosary recitations are the best way to re-learn. Fall in love with the Rosary all over again. Please join us.

Mark Your Calendars to Pray for Lives Affected by Abortion

2018 Nine Days for Life – January 18th through January 26th

All life is precious!

Since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision 45 years ago, more than 58 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion. In addition, the lives of millions of parents have been shattered as well.

In prayerful recognition of these lost and broken lives, the U.S. Bishops invite Catholics and others nationwide to participate in Nine days of prayer, penance and pilgrimage (January 18th – 26th). Click the link for details or to set up to receive the daily novena in English and Spanish each day by email, text or through the organization’s app.

As Pope Saint John Paul II reminds us in The Gospel of Life, we are asked not only to love and honor human life, but also “to work with perseverance and courage” to establish “a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love.” (no 77)