Father Who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name … The saddle and the bridle
that most of you have heard that story told of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and
his offer to a man who boasted he was never distracted in prayer. The story relates
how that man was distracted during his prayer by the scope of St. Bernard’s
I remind you
about this to point out that distraction in prayer is the work of Satan, and a
big problem for all of us. How can we correct the problem and give greater
significance and meaning to our prayers? After praying on the problem, I had
an idea that could help.
distraction during prayer is not a problem for you, you are one in a million and
you can stop reading now. But if you do have a problem, read on. I believe
praying with energy and “hand action” demonstrates where your heart and thoughts
are. Much the same as when we make the Sign of the Cross. Our hands go from
head to heart to shoulders, demonstrating our thoughts and devotion to the
Crucifixion of Our Lord. Why not use the same energy and attention-provoking
action when praying … say, the Rosary?
At Fatima Our
Lady stated there will come a time when you will have only the Rosary and her
Immaculate Heart. She could be referring to now as we suffer through the great
crisis in the Church.
The action I am
suggesting should be “hidden”. You wouldn’t want to distract others praying
with you. If you can, schedule your prayer at a time when no outside noise and
activity will distract you.
with the Rosary. Pray all prayers except the Hail Marys with your hands
open, facing up, about one foot apart, forming a “holy channel” to heaven, much
as the priest does saying some parts of the Mass. The Rosary is in one hand,
keeping track of your progress. At the Hail Marys, your hands are back
to the usual position, but at the words "Fruit of thy womb, Jesus"
you bow your head and your free hand touches your chest when you say “Pray for
us sinners now and at the hour of our death,” demonstrating you are a sinner
and that the Blessed Mother’s prayers now and at the hour of our death are most
this thought-provoking extra effort and energy, and with your attention for
sure on the significance of each Mystery, should reduce your thoughts drifting
to the distracting events in your life.
Keep in mind
that you are talking to your Creator, and that distraction calls for an
additional effort to keep your mind focused. While visiting Fatima and a
friend who moved there with his family, I recall him saying, “when the Blessed
Mother asked us to pray the Rosary, she meant all 15 Mysteries each time”, or
so he believed.
When you pray
the rosary and other prayers, I recommend that you try this method to help you
pray more earnestly and with more recollection. You will see your efforts have
borne fruit when your prayers are a more intimate conversation with Our Lord
and His Mother.