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Friday, July 8, 2011

I Don’t Have Time! Part II

By Sr. Marie Thérèse, M.I.C.M., Prioress

I realize that my hard-hitting article on time and its use may have discouraged a few of you. Yes, you are truly busy and you don’t see how you can cut out anything to be able to make time for the Rosary without jeopardizing your daily duties. I am hoping that the following anecdote about the sisters’ daily Rosary will encourage you to make a leap of faith, if necessary, to pray your Rosary daily. The value of the daily Rosary, as Our Lady requested it, is greater than you can imagine. The following could be the subtitle for this article: A little insight into how the “impossible Rosary” can make things possible.
Our convent manages the duties of twenty-five sisters. The only problem is that there are only eight sisters here, and one of us is a nonagenarian with special needs. Are we busy? No, there has to be a better word for it!

Several years ago, we were at the crisis point of stress from our daily duties. We found ourselves crushed with active duties and losing our peace. Our very health screamed for reform in our religious life. Something had to give — something had to change! But what? How? We decided we needed to give more time to our spiritual life. But, we could see nothing that we could drop in our schedule to make time for anything else. Our active duties were so essentially tied in to the needs of the sisters and the community at large that we were powerless to stop the impending ruin of our little congregation of religious Slaves of Mary. Truly, we were much like a motorist speeding down a steep, winding mountain road who knows he is going dangerously fast, but can’t slow down because the brakes are out!

We had no solution, and so we desperately begged our Mother in heaven for help! Then, we recalled from St. Louis Marie’s Secret of the Rosary that one of the benefits of the Rosary is that “convents will be reformed.” Our community discussions on this subject always dead-ended with the opinion that there simply was no time to use for two more Rosaries in our day. However, taking a leap of faith, we resolved to pray the entire Rosary, come what may. We decided that Our Lady had to help us since we couldn’t help ourselves.

We started by adding only five more decades daily. I must tell you this was more than just difficult! I mentioned that there are eight sisters, but there were only six at that time. Every day it was a real struggle to get these extra five decades said. Soon, though it remained quite difficult, we began to see the fruits of this extra chaplet of the Rosary. We were a little bit less “stressed out,” meaning that we were more recollected and at peace — more prayerful during our work. And, our work was done better, even naturally speaking. In fact, when we took time to consider it, we realized that we actually got more work done, and our energy and health weren’t the worse for it. Yet, perseverance required a constant act of faith in Our Lady’s promise to “aid us in our necessities.”

Not too long after that, we discussed adding the remaining five decades. Mind you, we hadn’t received any more sisters, and we were still overwhelmed with duties. Naturally speaking, we would not be helping our stress level if we added another set of community prayers! If adding the second five decades was an act of faith, adding the last five to total fifteen decades was an heroic act of faith!  It definitely looked like we would be wasting necessary work-time by taking more time to pray the Rosary.

Sometimes we have to “live by faith” and go beyond what natural reason would dictate. We entered into ourselves. We prayed for good counsel.

And, finally, spurred on by our heavenly Mother’s love for the Rosary, its causal relation to the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart (more personally for us, victory for our Crusade) and, finally, her inestimable promises for praying it devoutly, we resolved to add the last five decades.

We were resolved in faith that our interior life — our union with God — must come first in our daily priorities. Also, we were convinced that there is no better way to attain that spiritual order than that which our heavenly Mother herself recommended — praying the fifteen mysteries daily. We took seriously Our Lady’s statement that meditating on the mysteries is the very “soul” of the Rosary. Therefore, we added a tiny meditation before each mystery.

Blessed be God! The sisters have found that we actually have more time to use for God’s service now that we pray the entire Rosary, and we are more at peace. How can this happen? Well, for one thing, when you make time for the things that God wants you to do, there isn’t time to do things that He doesn’t want you to do. For another, God has shown continuously throughout history that He is the master of time. He knows the future and has often revealed to holy souls that it can be changed and He can show His mercy; He stopped the sun (therefore prolonging the day) so Joshua could continue to fight for Him; while He walked on earth, He caused Saint Peter’s boat to be “presently” on the opposite shore of the Sea of Galilee; he caused Saint Germaine’s guardian angel to care for the sheep so she had time to go to Mass; he had Saint Zita’s guardian angel take care of the kitchen work so that she could attend Mass. The prodigious numbers of institutions, houses, and writings that the saints have produced in their lifetimes point to God making time sufficient for these impossible accomplishments.

As St. Teresa of Avila simply put it: the saints do God’s will, and therefore He does theirs. They fill their time with His will, and He gives them more time. After all, time is only a creature, a co-creation to be exact, an accident that is the measure of change in material beings in relation to some other material constant.

Please don’t misunderstand me! It is probably not God’s will that you pray all fifteen decades every day as it is for us. However, when our heavenly Mother asks you to pray five decades a day and meditate on the mysteries, can you possibly doubt that God wants you to pray those five?

Here is a quote from a wonderful book that Saint Pius X treasured as his bedside reading: “Since I invariably have more things to do than time in which to do them, and as this prospect preoccupies me, and gets me all worked up, I will cease to think about all that I have to do, and only consider the time I have at my disposal. I will make use of that time, without losing a moment of it, beginning with the most important duties; and as regards those which may or may not get done, I shall not worry about them” Bishop Dupanloup of Orleans (quoted in Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Chautard).

By the way, you surely noticed that our sisters’ numbers grew by thirty-three percent after we started praying all fifteen decades. I am sure that you, too, will be able to count your blessings when you cooperate more fully with Our Lady in your work and in your sanctification. So now, don’t you want to make that “leap of faith” and pray at least five decades every day while meditating on the mysteries?

Email Sister Marie Thérèse at

1 comment:

Christine Eubanks said...

"So now, don’t you want to make that “leap of faith” and pray at least five decades every day while meditating on the mysteries?"

Yes, i think this time i will start on praying. Maybe i just need someone to convince me to do it and I think it's you. Thanks you very much.

Jenny R. Kelly
GMO Dangers