October 7, 2015
“Is it true, Pier Giorgio, that when you are in your room you pray for a long time?” asked Don Tito. My brother did not answer, and the priest continued: “Yes, your mother told me so. You are upsetting her, and she gets up in the night…”
“But I have so many prayers to say”, murmured Pier Giorgio.
“And who has ordered you to?”
“No one. I just have to.”
…He joined the Sodality of Mary at the Sociale and made the rosary his consolation and his weapon.
--A Man of the Beatitudes
Prayer is a battle, and its beauty is wasteful.
With a repitious prayer such as the rosary, we know well how bouts of dryness or sometimes even an aversion or resentment might bubble up. Yes, at times there are pressing things that need to get done for the day, but the bottom line is that Satan does not want us to enter into a relationship with the Lord, and for sure, not with Mary.
Now, prayer, under the light of spiritual consolations can be…glorious…it’s easy to pray, feels good—it’s beautiful. But the thing about beauty is that once it becomes useful…is used, it is no longer beauty.
Thinking of beauty from Scripture, I’m reminded of Mary Magdalene and the expensive jar of oil—how she breaks it open and pours the oil over Jesus. A powerful moment…and goregous. Judas accusses her of wasting the oil, wasting money…yes, it is a waste. It is nonsensical (to the world) to pour yourself out before another, to give everything you possess, to the Other. Beauty is wasteful.
And this is the trap that Satan tries to get us in---that our prayer needs to be useful. It needs to be something significant, fulfilling, accomplished. And he also traps our Mother and the rosary into this evil box.
The rosary is powerful…and gorgeous, when prayed contemplatively (as it should be). The rosary is also difficult for probably half the population of Catholics. I have a friend who confesses every time she prayers the rosary, she starts saying the Hail Mary, and ends in the Divine Mercy prayer. It can be difficult for some, yes…but the important thing is not to judge your prayer. We must learn to stop judging how affective, moving…useful it is. As it is with beauty, once prayer becomes something to measure, it is no longer prayer.
Jesus says, Remain in Me. Let us remain in Him, not to judge our prayer, not to become discouraged in prayer…but to accept the beauty of it, the wastefulness of a long talk with a Friend…as it is…no matter where we are in our life and faith journey.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!