So he started looking at maps and directing me through the woods along what seemed like aimless paths. I had a bit of a head cold and was out of shape so even small inclines were catching me out of breath. And as I reflect on it now, I think praying the rosary- and prayer in general- is very much like the experience I had with hiking on this trip. If it’s been a while since we’ve exerted ourselves in prayer, looking at the long path (the 50 Hail Mary’s) can seem a very daunting task. And as we begin to climb through the beads, the thought comes and repeats itself, “when will this ever be over?!”
To be honest, Adam’s devotion to the Rosary is far stronger than mine. Logically I know what an incredible gift it is and how important it is to ask for the intercession of our Blessed Mother, but it can feel like an arduous task for me and discipline is not my greatest virtue. Though as we’ve continued to pray it together, the benefits are clearer and clearer and the trek through those many beads becomes more manageable. Hiking through Lake Tahoe throughout our 1-week trip was much the same. By the time our trip was over, we probably had hiked about 30 miles total, with much of that being uphill and scrambling over rocks. I quickly realized how gratifying it was to push my body and realize its strength so that I could enjoy gorgeous views of this beautiful lake and the mountains God gave us. Those summits were also incredible places to sit, reflect and pray together.
There were difficult stretches that left us both out of breath, also some easier downhill slopes, other times where we lost the path, and of course when we emerged victorious at the end of the journey. Prayer is so similar. There are times when it’s all you can do it get yourself to sit down and try to focus on it, times when it flows naturally, times when you don’t know what to do or where to start, and spiritual high moments where God provides clear answers and comes near. Those moments of consolation would bring far less joy and comfort if we had not had the moments of difficulty, the same way the summits of our hikes would have been far less gratifying if we just drove to them rather than having the victory of making the trek on foot.
My point in saying all this is don’t give up on the Rosary or prayer in general when it seems hard- or when you’re out of shape with a head cold. Pray for the Lord to grant you perseverance and keep walking. Find yourself a traveling buddy! Whether it’s your spouse, friend, brother, Mom or Dad, to hold you accountable. Much like my husband at the trailhead, God is looking at you know, motioning for you to come along for the journey.
‘Verso l’alto’ is a quote and personal motto attributed to Third-Order Lay Dominican, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, which means ‘To the Heights’