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Imitation of Christ Wk 8 of 10

February 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

The Imitation of Christ Week 8 of 10

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 Conquering Nature through the Rosary

 

Nature hankers to know secrets and to hear the latest news, to be seen in public and enjoy all manner of new sense experiences, desires to be noticed by others and to do whatever results in acclaim and good portion picture1admiration. Grace, on the other hand, cares little about hearing the news and has no interest in trivia, for it knows that all curiosity has its beginning in man’s original corruption and that there is nothing new or lasting on this earth. – The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 54, p. 164.

The above quote, combined with the wisdom of another book I’ve been reading, has really caused me to think about how I spend my time. With Ash Wednesday just around the corner, I’ve decided today is a day for confessions and resolutions.

First, confessions.

The command, “Be still and know that I am God,” is calling out to me – not like the barking of an order, but quietly – a summons from a loving Father, suggesting that I Slow Down and Listen.

His beckon has probably been there for quite a while – years maybe – but I’ve been too busy to notice. As you may have gathered through my posts – I’m a doer. And a thinker. Martha has nothing on me. And Mary? Well, let’s just say I’ve always thought that I was resting at the feet of Jesus while progressing through my daily work. What I’ve realized recently is that in my effort to Learn my Faith, I’ve probably been unknowingly sabotaging my spiritual development for years.

Let me explain. As a convert, I’ve always felt so far behind the eight ball that I want to learn as much as possible to make up for lost time (Yes, I know you cradle Catholics are struggling for different reasons.).  Anyway, I decided long ago that the iPod is the one of the greatest inventions EVER, because I could listen to podcasts, books or CDs while completing daily household chores. Whether doing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning house, washing my face or waiting to pick up my kids from some activity, I could use that time to learn about my Faith or find inspiration on how to become a better wife and mother. I listen to Catholic Answers, Father Robert Barron, Father Larry Richards and many others.

But The Imitation has caused me to question my zeal. Through reading The Imitation I’ve realized that through the pursuit of a better understanding of my Catholic Faith, I have “dashed about every which way…totally unmindful of the injury that it [caused my] spiritual life…” I’ve had the faulty notion that learning about the spiritual life would create for me a spiritual life.

Until a week ago.

Now for resolutions.

A week ago yesterday I was given a book that changed the way I will use my time. This book (the title of which I hesitate to mention because, while it has an imprimatur, it is based on private revelation) suggested that mothers pray all mysteries of the rosary every day. Six months ago, I would have thought this a ludicrous concept. In fact, I even joked in an email once that I was praying all twenty mysteries every day (being absolutely facetious, because I thought – WHO DOES THAT?!). Nevertheless, because of the way this suggestion was presented in my reading, I decided to give it a try.

So for the past week, rather than listen to my podcasts, Catholic radio, or even rather than calling a friend while running errands, I decided to quietly pray all twenty mysteries of the rosary each day. I told myself that if I finish before bed time and I want to call someone or listen to a podcast or Catholic radio, great! But I would not give in to those old habits until I’ve finished praying.

Do you know what I’ve discovered? That listening to podcasts about my faith will not make me holy. Knowledgeable, perhaps; but not holy. It will not fill me with the grace that I’ve been seeking for years.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that if I start praying the rosary when I wake in the morning, focusing on each mystery as I can throughout my day, I am a much more quiet, contemplative, and peaceful individual. By enmeshing myself in the gospel stories, they become real in a way that I’d never imagined. Throughout my day I have been seeing every activity in light of the Life of Christ.

It’s hard to complain about the drudgery of housework while meditating on The Scourging at the Pillar. Or to overlook that card I should be sending to someone when thinking about The Visitation. I don’t feel quite so alone in my sorrows when I meditate daily about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; and, I offer my children to God every day as I pray over the Presentation of our Lord.

What strikes me most about this past week is how much time I did NOT spend THINKING about MYSELF – generally, even while filling my mind with “knowledge,” my thoughts tend to be on overdrive. Constantly on my mind are my plans, my goals, my obligations, my fears, my worries, my spiritual life, my finances, my children, my parents, my relationships with my friends, my future, my past, my day, my…my…my….

And yet, this past week, as I have been praying the rosary, I have replaced those thoughts with gospel images. In other words, through God’s grace, I’ve been trying to “conquer and curb my Nature.” No, it hasn’t gone perfectly. And yes, there have been a couple of days when I haven’t finished. Some days I’ve had to interact with people or projects throughout enough of the day that I’ve only finished ten mysteries. But that’s not the point. The point is not “to finish”. The point is to direct all my “idle” time to prayer – not to stay awake until midnight to manufacture more idle time.

I realize I’m probably sharing my “revelation” a little prematurely. If not for Lent, I’d probably keep it under the cuff for a while. But I’ve decided to share this experiment because of the amazing amount of peace I’ve experienced this past week. Praying throughout the day has allowed me to be more humble, patient and understanding toward my children and my husband. And I've felt at peace in situations that normally would cause my blood pressure to rise.

Words cannot adequately express this experience. At the very least, I feel that our Lord and His loving mother have been at my side for every thought, conversation, and deed. Not just at my side – but intimately involved in every aspect of my day.

So praying all twenty mysteries of the rosary daily is my Lenten resolution.

I have no doubt that some of you have been doing this for years – if so, I wish you’d have shared it with those of us who are a little slower on the uptake:)! If you haven’t tried this before and would like to give it a go with me, I’d love to hear whether it impacts your life as well. Let’s touch base about this again at the end of Lent and see where we are.

 

Note: Recently there was a post announcing our next book – Navigating the Interior Life by our own Dan Burke. I'm a little behind with our book club announcement; but keep your eye out for a post this week. We have only two weeks left of The Imitation.  

 

Discussion Questions:

1.  Are you interested in joining me in this Lenten resolution?  If not, what are your resolutions this Lent?  Have they been impacted by our reading?

2. Open discussion: Feel free to comment on any topic from this past week's reading.

 

Reading Assignment:

Week 9: Book 3 Ch. 55-59; Book 4 Ch. 1-7

 

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

For More Information on the Book Club: https://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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