On a Saturday afternoon in June, I found myself outside, walking the peaceful grounds of a retreat center in rural South Dakota. It was the third day of my annual four-day, silent retreat.
On this delightful summer day, the sun was shining, and the breeze was gentle. I reached the gazebo in front of the beautiful Mary statue and noticed that the swing inside the covered refuge was empty. And it beckoned me to take a seat.
As I sat down, I greeted Our Lady; it was the Feast of her Immaculate Heart. And within seconds, I had an overwhelming desire to pray the Rosary. I am certain this was simply a response to Mary’s quiet invitation.
Praying the Rosary with Scripture
Since it was a Saturday, I settled into praying the Joyful Mysteries. But before I got too far into the calming rhythm of prayer, I was compelled to open my Bible and pray along with the Scriptures that accompany each mystery.
- Annunciation: Luke 1:26-38
- Visitation: Luke 1:39-56
- Nativity: Luke 2:1-20
- Presentation: Luke 2:22-38
- Finding Jesus in the Temple: Luke 2: 41-52
As I read each Scripture passage and prayed the corresponding Rosary decade, I prayed for each of my family members. And I could not believe how perfectly the passages and mysteries fit with my personal prayers for my husband and children. I cannot share each intention here, for the sake of my family’s privacy, but one I can share relates to the Visitation.
A Personal Visitation
After reading the Gospel account, I immediately started to cry. This Gospel reminds me of the daughter I lost to miscarriage in 2019. We named her Eva Elizabeth — after Mary (the new Eve) and St. Elizabeth. In verse 56, “Mary remained with [Elizabeth] about three months and then returned to her home.” My Eva remained with me for about three months, too, before returning to her true home in Heaven.
I was startled to have such a strong response. After all, it had been a year. But my intention was real and raw. I prayed that the empty hole Eva left in our family would be filled with the hope we have in Heaven. I especially prayed for my children who continue to feel Eva’s absence and talk about how much they miss the sister they never met.
And then I asked Mama Mary if Eva could pray this mystery with us. I knew that Mary had granted my request, when a rush of consolation and peace came upon me. I even envisioned Eva sitting on Mary’s lap, as the three of us prayed together.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-55)
Prayer: Heaven on Earth
After I finished my Rosary, I marveled at the beauty of my prayer time. While my spirit rested in God’s presence, I listened to the birds praise God with their singing. I saw the creek moving along happily. The wind blew against the grassy patch to my left, but it was quieter in front of me, and I sensed the Holy Spirit knew full well that He was welcome in this place.
“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” (John 3:8)
In this prayerful moment, it was as if the veil between Heaven and Earth was lifted just a little. I knew without a doubt that I was exactly where I was meant to be, doing exactly what I was meant to do in that exact moment. I don’t know if I have ever felt so in tune, so in touch with God’s will or His presence.
This was probably one of the most profound prayer experiences of my life. And it all stemmed from Mary’s simple invitation to sit before her statue and pray the Rosary. What amazing things can happen when we give our fiat, when we answer yes.
“The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:49)
This was originally published on CatholicMom.com.