Praying the rosary has been difficult for me for quite some time, unless I am using an audio version. OCD really likes to climb into my prayer practice and tell me that I’m screwing it all up. (And yes, I know that it’s not actually possible to screw up prayer, but still, OCD is crazy.)
Did I pray ten Hail Marys? Maybe it was only nine. Better pray another one.
Maybe I wasn’t focused enough on that last decade. I should go back and do it again.
Did I pray on this bead or just move to it?
(repeat ad nauseam, until a prayer that should roughly take 17-20 minutes takes half an hour or more).
I know why it’s hard for me. My OCD manifests in a number of ways, including (but not in any way limited to) perfectionism and scrupulosity.
The compulsion to do all that I do as well as possible mixed with the anxiety that comes from the crippling fear that I’m going to hell for being disrespectful to the faith combine to make things really, really hard.
For that reason, I kind of stopped praying the rosary. It was STRESSFUL for me. (That, and I’m a mom. Quiet time to myself for a devotion isn’t always easy to come by.)
…but then I joined this local Catholic moms group. On Wednesdays, we come together (kids in tow) to pray the rosary at someone’s house.
And it has been so helpful for me.
This past Wednesday has to be the “worst” rosary I have ever prayed. Truly. I started off leading and forgot the creed halfway through. When someone else was leading a decade, they couldn’t remember the mystery. We lost count at least once. One of the toddlers completely rearranged my Christmas tree while we prayed, and I’m fairly certain the entire lot of us broke out in hysterical laughter once a decade.
And it felt so GOOD.
Because, at the end of the day, we were approaching Christ (through Mary) as we were. Moms whose Christmas break had gone on too long. Moms whose brains were fried. Imperfect, frazzled, broken, and beautiful.
…And I didn’t feel anxious about it at all.
At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as a bad rosary. No such thing as a bad prayer. No such thing as a bad Mass. As long as we approach Him with sincerity and love, that’s all that matters.
Take THAT, scrupulosity and perfectionism.