Forming good habits

By  Dylan Robertson, Youth Speak News
  • January 11, 2008

Are you busy? I usually am. Who isn’t these days? We seem to become too busy sometimes. We try to do lots of good, to the point that we forget what’s important. It brings to mind Jesus’ words to Martha about occupying herself with minor things.

Being busy is all too easy for a student balancing studies, family life and everything else. We just went through Christmastime, which some say is the busiest time of the year.

Busy would be my excuse whenever someone would ask me why I don’t pray the rosary every day. I know it is something Pope John Paul II had constantly recommended, and that it is a choice rather than an obligation.

So in December 2006 I made a brave New Year’s resolution: to pray the rosary every single day. I wanted to make this a promise to God and a test to see if I could do this on my own without relying on other people’s reminders. So, until this article is published, no one will know about it.

It wasn’t always easy, and there were times when I was just about to go to bed when I would realize that I still needed to say my rosary. I also encountered times when I was at a conference or a camp and I would struggle to find time in a busy day. But I’m glad to say I managed to pray 365 rosaries in 2007.

It became easier with time. After praying for help with this quest, I found gaps in my day when I wasn’t really doing anything: on the bus, in a waiting room, during my lunch period. There were lots of times in my busy day when I had the chance to simply turn off the iPod and make the sign of the cross.

The rosary doesn’t have to be prayed holding an actual rosary; once I got the hang of it I found it easy just to count on my fingers. There is an official schedule that suggests which mysteries should be meditated upon according to the day of the week, and I learned the schedule with time.

I found it worthwhile since I was able to connect with Jesus more often and I had a time for reflection every day. When the Virgin Mary presented the rosary to St. Dominic, she promised to guide and pray for those who dedicated themselves to saying the rosary. Doing this also made me feel calmer if I was upset or sad and I learned to concentrate well in noisy situations.

But along with concentration is the constant struggle to say prayer with meaning. It’s something that I find everyone has difficulty with at some point. It’s easy to say an Our Father off the top of one’s head, but it’s important to think about the words and what they mean. In the same way, I’ve learned from the rosary ways to avoid constant lip service, although it’s still something I haven’t perfected.

Saying a rosary in public seemed difficult at first. Oftentimes I’d wear my headphones and it would seem as if I was just another person who lip-syncs to their music. But with time I didn’t care if people thought I was whispering things to myself. It’s actually quite funny.

This new year why not make a resolution? Whether it be a rosary or otherwise, taking some time every day out of our busy lives to be closer to God is completely worthwhile.

(Robertson, 16, is a Grade 12 student at All Saints Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, Ont.)

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