Last month, when I was exhausted, coming down with a cold, about to start a new week of school work and heading into the home stretch of Lent, also known as Holy Week, with a ton to do and so much more that I know won’t get done but that was still weighing on me like a sack of bricks, I was reminded of just how good God is.
When I most needed it, my children went to sleep.
There were no arguments, no screaming, no attempts at escaping. There was just the blissful sound of all five of them snoring away in their beds, happy and content now that their colds are almost gone. This easy and peaceful bedtime was not always the case, but in the last few months, since January 1st, in fact, it has been the case more often than not and I attribute it to what I like to call “Mary’s Sedative,” or, as it is commonly known, the Rosary.
I have this theory that the Rosary is Mary’s little gift to all mothers, and not only in the spiritual sense. Don’t get me wrong, I know how important the Rosary is to our souls’ well being. The repetition induces an almost zen like level of meditation and the Mysteries serve as a reminder of all Christ did for us. We are worshiping the Son through and with the Mother. It’s a universal prayer and as such, when we choose to recite the Mysteries on the prescribed days, we are literally praying with Catholics the world over, raising a united voice in honor of the sanctifying sacrifice of Jesus.
In addition to all of that, it is, quite simply, one of the easiest and best (in my opinion) ways to help young children learn their “Big Three” prayers. It’s a powerful thing, no matter how you look at it.
As a mother, I believe that there is still another benefit, a totally worldly one at that. You see, I think that, as a mother, Mary knew we moms could use a helping hand now and then, and she provided it for us in the form of the Rosary.
Each and every night since the first of the year (with only one exception so far, go us!) we have prayed the Rosary with all of our kids except the Baby Girl (who sleeps in a separate room). We get them into their PJs, brush the teeth, dole out the cups of milk, and then into bed we go. Everyone lays down, gets tucked in, and gets his or her own special pair of beads (although, thinking of it now, I have no idea why we call them a pair, because they are clearly not, but I digress).
Then, we say the Rosary. There’s generally at least one or two or sixty-three interruptions every night, with questions whose subjects range from the prehistoric to the menu plan for the next night, but, almost without fail, before the end of the second mystery, at least two kids are out cold. Usually, before the whole thing is finished, the older two are so mellowed that they happily say goodnight and are nodding off to sleep by the time we leave the room.
Hence, my determination that the Rosary is really Mary’s “little gift o’ sunshine” to her fellow moms.
So, if you are having a hard time getting the kidlets down to bed at night, try adding the Rosary into your nightly routine, and I promise, you’ll be glad you did. My oldest sons are learning not only the “Big Three”, but also the Mysteries themselves (my son's favorite is, for the simple reason that it’s the first one he memorized, the Second Sorrowful Mystery: the Scourging at the Pillar). They are also learning how to pray in a group, with the call and respond typical to so many of our Catholic prayers.
Seriously, give Mary’s little sedative a try.