I did. For the last month or so, I really thought I was just too busy. You are too, right? All those things that need to be done are more important than prayer, or at least a long prayer, like the rosary.
I became a Martha, rather than a Mary. Or rather, I became mostly Martha and little Mary. A Hail Mary here, a desperate attempt at a decade or two there. A nighttime prayer here, an Act of Contrition there. God will take and appreciate any prayer we offer, but I forgot about the graces I receive when I make a dedicated effort at prayer, especially the rosary. Yeah, me, the rosary maker forgot about how important it is to pray the rosary. I was making them, and other people were praying them. But, I was only make a half-hearted attempt at it.
The other day, however, I thought, "I really need to pray the rosary." It was one of those serious promptings by the Holy Spirit -- one that can not be denied. But because I was still in my Martha mind, I turned to an app I had downloaded months ago and I prayed, not as a leader, but follower, while I made a rosary. The best of both worlds? Well, not best, but a good compromise.
"Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love." ~~ St. Therese
I am a Martha, there is no denying. I am not a contemplative cloistered nun who spends her days, or most of her days, in quiet prayer. I cook, clean, launder, school, and in between I sew and create rosaries. My days are full to the brim.
But, there is always room for prayer. Maybe you have little ones who don't give you a rosary's worth of quiet time. Maybe you go, go, go all day and you really think there is just not time. Buts there is. You just have to work it in and use the aids that are out there.
The app that I am using now is available in CD form. You can pray in the car, while you're waiting on a dance lesson or soccer practice. You can pray while you're folding laundry, or while the little kids play with their legos on the floor. You can pray while you're hanging laundry (yes, Janette!), or while you're ironing. While the rosary is most perfect in its quiet, contemplative form, it is also good while you are following along with someone else leading. The children can follow along, too. And if your family is not accustomed to praying the rosary, sometimes it's a less awkward start with someone else leading.
The reason I encourage you to pray the rosary, the complete rosary, in any way you can, is because of the beautiful graces given to you when you contemplate the wonderful mysteries of the rosary. By praying the rosary in a week, or really, in just the days of Monday through Thursday, you contemplate the entire life of Our Lord, from the Annunciation to the Ascension, plus the additional mysteries of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Assumption, and the Coronation of Mary. I actually never realized that the rosary is a complete timeline of Our Lord's life until one day several years ago when I was examining this beautiful holy card I purchased at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. With the addition of the Luminous Mysteries, thanks to our beloved and oh-so-wise St. John Paul II, the mysteries cover the entire life of Jesus.
click on photo to enlarge -- starting in the upper righthand corner and moving clockwise, the mysteries are illustrated, covering the entire life of Christ
I want to encourage you to try praying the rosary if you currently don't. And I encourage you to use the aids that are available to you. A book, or a CD, or an app for your iPod or iPad. The one I am using right now, is available in CD or app form (also here). The rosary is led by a priest -- a different priest for each day (I think one day might be a sister) -- and though some people may find it goes quickly (or too quickly) I find it to be just right for a mother's busy lifestyle. There is beautiful music playing, but it's not overbearing or annoying, at least not to me. And you don't even need beads to follow along with the rosary, so it truly leaves your hands free if you have to fold laundry, clean up after dinner, or hold a baby.
If you have more time for a rosary and you like a scriptural rosary, I highly recommend The Complete Rosary, which gives an alternate phrase that can, if desired, be used following the words: "Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus." Each phrase is particular to the mystery. I also love Holy Rosary: Josemaria Esriva and often take that book with me to Adoration.
Whatever your situation is, whether you have time for an entire scriptural rosary, or can barely fit it in when you're following, I promise you will find it worthwhile to fit it in. Many people start the rosary at night and ask their Guardian Angels to finish if they fall asleep. And there is nothing wrong with that. But by actually contemplating the mysteries of the rosary, consciously, the graces of the rosary will be so much more available. I truly don't think Our Blessed Mother minds that we pray the rosary with busy hands, but we must make our hearts open to receive all the graces.