Dinnertime has come and gone, the dishes have been washed, and the leftovers have been put away.
This means it’s…Family Rosary Time!
Why the lack of enthusiasm?
You used to look forward to your Rosary time. It gave you a sense of peace and serenity. You used to feel like you were growing spiritually, and more importantly, like your family was growing together spiritually.
But suddenly, your Rosary time feels a little more like a chore than when you first began. You’ve been at it for quite some time and, as with any new habit which requires motivation to continue, you’ve experienced peaks and valleys.
At the moment, perhaps you’re in a valley — a dip in your “enthusiasm meter.”
Should I give up?
Perhaps I shouldn’t have made such a difficult commitment.
How did you get to this point?
More importantly, how can you grow beyond it?
First of all, take a deep breath and relax. These peaks and valleys are a completely normal part of the spiritual life. They’re especially common when you’re trying to develop new habits, whether those habits involve eating better, working out, reading the Bible, keeping up with honey-do’s, paying off debt… our enthusiasm naturally ebbs and flows.
Fortunately, there are some ways to retrain your brain to associate positive feelings with the good habits you’re trying to develop.
Here are some suggestions:
Set a clear goal
If you don’t know what you’re working toward, then it’s much more difficult to stay motivated.
It’s hard to hit a moving target.
Perhaps your goal is to say the Rosary as a family on Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays and major feast days, and individually on all other days of the week. Or maybe you have a young family and your goal is to pray just one decade together each night, then finish the Rosary with just your spouse (and if the kids decide to stick around, it’s a bonus!).
Whatever the case, team up with your spouse to set your goal. Write it down and display it in a prominent place, like your dining area or your little oratory.
Don’t feel like you have to start by committing to a full daily Rosary for the rest of your life.
If you’re more inclined toward setting smaller goals by breaking up your larger goal into bite-sized pieces, then this is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Take it one week at a time. Write it in your calendar: “I pray a daily Rosary this week.” Once the seven days have passed, recommit yourself: “I pray a daily Rosary this week.”
Work upward from there.
Remember, it takes 90 days to form a new habit
This is where your bigger goal can come into play.
Brain studies have shown that it takes 90 days (or three months, if you prefer to hear smaller numbers) to rewire our brains and form new habits. That 90-day benchmark is the foundation of many great new spiritual programs popping up, like Exodus 90.
If you take it one week at a time for 90 days, then you’ll have formed a new habit — and your Rosary will become as much a part of your routine as brushing your teeth.
Focus on today
If 90 days feels daunting — and believe me, if it doesn’t now it will soon — then just focus on today.
I will take a deep breath and enjoy our Family Rosary Time today.
Instead of counting down from 90, do tally marks to count upward. Give yourself a tally mark for each day, and pretty soon those tally marks are going to start adding up!
Ask God for help
We all need God’s help to remain faithful to our commitments.
Keep in mind John 15:5: I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
He is our strength, and when we are feeling overwhelmed, we can lean on Him. Maybe this sounds like, “Lord, thank you for my wife, who wrangles the children while I’m trying to lead family prayer. Please help me to pray with earnest reverence, so that she can hear the dedication in my voice and feel unified in our commitment.”
Or maybe it sounds like, “Lord, my husband and I are both exhausted; please give me the strength to lead family prayer this evening so that he can close his eyes and simply listen.”
Keep it simple
It isn’t necessary to pray a full Scriptural Rosary from the get-go. Begin with a single decade, and build up from there.
Even if you don’t have small children at your feet (or bouncing on the sofa between you), a full Rosary can feel overwhelming. If it’s easier for you to start with the basics, then go with it. Pray a simple decade, with as much reverence as possible.
Very quickly you’ll realize that an additional decade is absolutely possible — and another, and another…
Be merciful toward yourself
You’re sure to miss (or even deliberately skip) your Rosary sometimes; don’t beat yourself up.
Re-commit for tomorrow.
Add it to your calendar, and throughout the day remind yourself that it’s coming up so you can continue to reinforce your new habit.
Be each other’s accountability partners
With your spouse 100% on board, you can help to motivate each other and keep each other on track.
This will certainly draw you closer together after the stress of a busy day, as you discuss your prayer intentions — and especially as you request prayers from one another.
Praying a daily Rosary is a habit that really will bear fruit for your family. It’s worth taking the time to work through the struggles. Whether times are good or bad, when you pray the Rosary you can feel confident that you have properly addressed the current state of things.
I’d like to offer one final thought for you to consider.
As you move through your day, when people around you are telling you of their struggles and you promise them, “I’ll pray for you,” your nightly family Rosary is the perfect time to fulfill those promises. You can even begin the Rosary by proclaiming, “We offer this daily Rosary for those people we promised to pray for today.” You’re more likely to follow through with your commitment when you realize that other people are counting on your prayers.
If you’re committing to praying the Rosary on a daily basis, please let us know.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and join the growing community of others who are committing to continue to pray the Rosary during the Easter season. Share what you’re doing on our Facebook page, and let us know if we’ve missed anything. It is our sincere hope that our community will inspire you to continue this extremely fruitful practice.