This series of video talks are summarized versions of talks given by Mark at Life Teen Camp Hidden Lake in August of 2019. Talk number one focuses on showing how our "let it be," after the model of Mary's "let it be," has great potential to impact the world by allowing more light, life, and love to enter in through us.
The following are brief introductions to the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. During a week of summer camp, I presented five talks, each based on one of these mysteries. Though they were created for camp, I have found them useful for my own prayer. Reading them before each mystery of the Rosary helps focus my mind and heart on just one or two items for meditation. (For more on Rosary meditation see my blog Making the Rosary More Meaningful).
They could also be used outside of the Rosary to simply meditate on a specific story of the Gospel. I hope they are a blessing!
The Church recommends we pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Mondays and Saturdays. I hope that these reflections will draw you deeper into the hearts of Jesus and Mary. When we meditate on the Scriptures, the deepest parts of our hearts begin to surface. Do not be afraid to let this happen and converse with your God about even the most secret parts of you.
1st Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary
I beg for the grace "no" to my fears and "yes" to the great things God has in store for me. In this mystery, Mary was "greatly troubled at the saying [of the angel,] and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be." Holy Spirit, help me to ponder what is going on in Mary's heart as she wrestles with her fears and seeks the courage to say "yes," ("fiat"), to God: "let it be done to me according to Your Word."
2nd Joyful Mystery: The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
I beg for the grace to live in the present moment and to experience God here with me no matter where I'm at physically, mentally, or spiritually. In this mystery, Elizabeth's child leapt in her womb and she is "filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry" blessings upon her cousin, Mary, and the fruit of her womb, Jesus. Holy Spirit, help me to ponder what the encounter and conversation between Mary and Elizabeth would have been like as they share their joys and struggles with each other in the midst of miracle pregnancies and the chaos of life.
3rd Joyful Mystery: The Nativity, the Birth of Jesus Christ, Savior of the World
I beg for the grace to put all of my trust in God who is always faithful to His promises. In this mystery, the angel proclaims to the Shepherds "good news of a great joy" that "to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." The child Jesus is the fulfillment of all God's promises. Holy Spirit, help me to hold the child Jesus in my arms and gaze upon Him with joy and gratitude as my heart is moved with love for Him who has loved me so much.
4th Joyful Mystery: The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
I beg for the grace to be open to hearing God's voice by continually offering my treasures to the Lord to do with them what He wills. In this mystery, Joseph and Mary "brought [Jesus] to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord." Holy Spirit, help me to ponder what is going on in the minds and hearts of Joseph and Mary as they offer Jesus, their greatest treasure, to God without knowing what is going to come in the future.
5th Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
I beg for the grace to be willing to daily respond in obedience to God's will which I know leads to true freedom. At the end of this mystery, Jesus "went down with [Joseph and Mary] and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them." Holy Spirit, help me to imagine what life in Nazareth would have been like for Jesus as a [middle schooler / teenager / young adult] and consider how he would have demonstrated obedience to Joseph, Mary, and God in His daily life.
Marie Kondo, Dave Ramsey, and Brené Brown all propose a way to happiness in a certain area of life through the use of a method they have come up with.
Many people are familiar with the methods of these people, if you're not, you can click their names above and check out their websites.
Ultimately, I want to focus on what these three best-selling authors have in common.
So, here's the thing. Millions of people have found some essence, if not a whole heaping of peace, joy, freedom, serenity, wholeheartedness, and happiness by following the wise counsel of these people.
IF THIS IS TRUE, WHY DO I NEED JESUS?
Why not just adopt a vague spirituality that I can customize to my liking and mix with the best data-based ideas like the ones above?
There is a problem if I use these data-based strategies and mix-in my own customizable spirituality.
I was just listening to a podcast. This man finally did it. He wrote a book that went viral. He reaped the financial successes and the popularity. As he put it: everywhere he went, people were high-fiving him and excited to see him. He took his wife to Paris, played a lot of video games, and lived life however he wanted.
Then, he said it sank in. His greatest dream, to write a best-selling book, was accomplished. Now what? He began to feel hopelessness and despair sink in. What was he living for now?
I don't think this is an isolated occurrence for those who achieve fame and fortune.
How many other famous people could we also say "had it all" but then took their life or ended up addicted and unhappy? Some quick Google searching will tell you that the statistics are showing America to be on the rise for drug addiction, alcohol abuse, suicide rates and the like.
Maybe you have followed one of the methods of Marie, Dave, or Brené, or all of them. Are you really happy yet?
What these three people share in common can point us in the direction of complete happiness but only if they have as their foundation and center the one thing that is needful.
Jesus shares a lot in common with these three people:
JESUS' WAY TO HAPPINESS IS NOT THE EASY WAY
In fact, He said not to follow the easy way which "leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many" but rather to follow the narrow way which "is hard... and those who find it are few" (Matthew 7:13-14).
Jesus' way to happiness is hard. He doesn't just say this, He shows us. To get to the happiness of Resurrection and heaven, He goes through the cross. He takes up his execution tool. Why? Because people around Him are furious at Him for accepting who He truly is and living it boldly. He is the son of God. He is God*.
The way of Jesus to happiness isn't the only real way to true and lasting happiness because it's got similar themes and nuances that are also seen in the counsel of Kondo, Ramsey, and Brown.
Radical methods which follow the narrow way and emphasize discipline and commitment work because they follow the pattern of Jesus. Jesus is God. God created the world to work in this way. The easy way won't do it.
I hope to share the wisdom and experience of Marie Kondo, Dave Ramsey, and Brené Brown with many people by passing their books along and sharing how their methods have made my life better.
More than that, I hope to share the Word of God with whomever I can and invite them to follow the one person who has had the biggest impact on my life: Jesus Christ.
JESUS IS THE ONLY SURE WAY TO HAPPINESS NO MATTER WHAT COMES
How could His Apostles still rejoice and sing hymns of praise when put in prison or flogged in public (see Acts)? They had the one thing that was needful. Oh, and it wasn't just those guys from 2,000 years ago. So many Saints through the ages mimicked the same unusual freedom, joy, peace, and overall happiness in the face of the most horrendous situations.
Why do we need Christ if we have Kondo, Ramsey, Brené, Whole-30, Yoga.... must I go on?
Because in truth, when everything else fades, falls apart, or turns out to be false, only God remains. We long for more than just a "way to live." We long for truth and for love, the kind that stays forever. No matter what earthly methods you try, there's one person who has that kind of everlasting truth and love (and so much more), and its the one being who is eternal.
10 out of 10 recommendation: Jesus is the answer.
Feel free to email me or comment below if this has sparked questions for you and you want to talk more about it.
* By the way, Jesus is a real historical figure who claimed to be God. The evidence shows that the Gospels are not just the end product of a game of telephone which probably means they are filled with errors that people made up, rather, they are more likely historical biographies of the life of a man named Jesus of Nazareth who claimed to be God and who was seen by many people to have risen from the dead after being killed for His claims to be God. He is not just some nice idea. He is real. Check out this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ1osU9nkJ4) or read the book The Case for Jesus by Brant Pitre for more of an in-depth honest look at this claim.
I really wanted to see a whale. How cool would that be?
As we cruised toward our next port, I rose early with high hopes to see something majestic. I sipped my coffee and looked out over the perfectly glassy ocean. It was quiet and calm. And then it happened! I saw it! Amazing!
Then, as if it knew I was watching, it jumped again! Beautiful! Amazing! Rising up out of the still, glassy water, in the calm of the morning, I saw something I'd never seen before. Something that was, before that moment, hidden within the vast depths of the ocean.
The depths of the ocean contain a beautiful, amazing, complex, and sometimes scary world.
It seems that our hearts hold equally beautiful and fear-provoking realities.
We Are Professionals at Avoiding the Depths of Our Hearts
We are brilliant at avoiding, numbing, distracting, masking, and doing every possible thing to not deal with what is in the depths of our hearts.
What if what I see in my heart is something so beautiful I can't handle it? What if that beautiful thing is then taken away from me? Better to not go there and not risk being heartbroken.
What if what arises from my heart is something painful? Better to not deal with it. If I hide it away, it will go away. Right?
Silence and Stillness Let the Important Things Come to the Surface
I realized, just this morning, how long it takes to truly let my heart calm down enough to see what's in there.
I probably waited at least a half hour, just staring at the glassy water outside of our cruise ship, before I saw what I was hoping for. This morning, during my quiet prayer time, it was about the same amount of time.
First ten minutes: Kneel. Try to praise God. Distracted thinking about my to-do list. Praise God again. Ask Him for some things.
Second ten minutes: Sit. Try to focus on my breathing and be attentive to what my mind is on. Ask God to speak and try to listen in the quiet. Still distracted by many things. Surface level. Consider that it might be nice to reflect on some wisdom from the Book of Proverbs in my Bible.
Third ten minutes: Read Chapter 25 of the book of Proverbs because it's the 25th day of the month. Ponder some of the wisdom and talk to God about it. Sit and silence and see if Jesus has anything else to say about it.
Then it happened, about thirty minutes into all of this. I started thinking about something that happened recently. I wasn't happy about a conversation I'd had with a family member. It didn't end well. I knew that it would take humility and vulnerability to reconcile the relationship. I didn't want to deal with it. During this moment, I even felt myself resisting this thought.
But I did think about it and pray about it. I didn't leave this prayer time feeling super confident in how I was going to approach the situation. It wasn't magically resolved. Still, I recognized the Holy Spirit moving me to deal with something important and giving me the prompting I needed to become a better me.
What would have happened if I just kept distracting myself from this reality in my heart? What if I left my prayer before the my intended amount of time was up (one hour)? How long would it have taken me to admit to myself that I need to resolve this?
Set an Amount of Time for Prayer and Don't Leave Early
If you are already on the Christian journey, you know that silence is essential to hearing the voice of God. On a human level, silence and stillness are essential if we are to recognize what is going on in the depths of our hearts. Often, these things are some of the most important things in life. The things that, when experienced, lead to happiness, belonging, freedom, and fullness of life. They are sometimes beautiful. They are sometimes scary. They are always worth the experience.
When we allow our hearts this time of stillness and silence, it's then that we can truly offer our whole hearts to God. Not just our thoughts or hasty and shallow words, but the depths of what is going on in our lives.
Let us commit to a certain amount of daily silent prayer and NOT LEAVE EARLY!
What if I'm distracted?
The Church recognizes distraction as a real difficulty to prayer:
"The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction... To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified" (CCC 2729, emphasis mine).
"All that is necessary" in prayer "is to turn back to our heart" and "offer him our heart to be purified."
So, let us turn back to our heart. Let us wait for that amazing or difficult thing to rise to the surface. Let us offer our heart to God and go out from prayer with Him to live full and meaningful lives.
Praise is Recognizing Who God is
When we recognize who God is, we remember who we are.
If God is King and I am His child, that makes me a prince or princess.
I am endowed with dignity (worthiness of respect) from on high.
I have access to the, "unfathomable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8).
If I do not praise, I do not remember who God is.
When I forget who God is, I forget who I am.
In my mind, God becomes an angry master who simply points out my faults.
I think I am just a bad person and God is mean.
In my heart, God becomes someone who doesn't really care about me.
I think I have to deal with life on my own and become overwhelmed.
Without praise as a regular part of my life, I forget who God is and I forget who I am.
Forgetting Who God is, and Who I am, is NO BUENO
Many people in our culture have forgotten both and thus we have been led to:
Now, this might seem pretty extreme, nearing morbid.
To be completely honest, I'm sick of ignoring it.
To be utterly frank, I'm not 100% sure what the answer is to it all.
I do believe, though, that God is the only answer.
And I'm not trying to over-spiritualize the matter.
God works to heal and restore in physical ways.
He Himself was incarnated as a man and lived a human life.
He works in a mixture of human and divine ways.
Still, we must turn to Him.
And I believe the first move is praise.
I realize that the issues of our culture highlighted above are very complicated.
Some may argue that there are plenty of non-God-praising individuals not dealing with those issues.
I get it. We can discuss it more. This is not meant to be a final say on the topic.
I just hope you'll reflect with me on the power of praise to change one person at a time and therefore the culture.
Why Do We Praise?
We don't praise because it feels good; though we might get some satisfaction from it.
We don't praise because we can see all of the good things God is doing; though we can and should thank God for His good works in our life.
We don't even praise because it reminds us of our dignity as a child of God; though praise does remind us of this.
We praise God because He is worthy. Period.
This can be proven simply on an intellectual level, though probably just as easily backed up scripturally.
Intellectualy, if God is the creator of all things, we exist only because He made us to exist.
We only continue to exist, because He allows us to continue to exist.
He provides us with what we need to continue to exist.
Now this is pretty basic, existence.
And surely we know, and have come to believe in our hearts, that God wants more than existence for us.
He wants blessing and goodness and true happiness, a hundred fold: "now in this time... and in the age to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30).
Yet, if the only way we begin to exist and continue to exist, is because of God, then....
"It is truly RIGHT AND JUST, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.........
.......And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim" (Order of the Mass, emphasis added).
Then, right after we silently follow this prayer being spoken by the words of the Priest at Mass (or one very similar to it), we all sing together: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD OF HOSTS..."
We praise. We tell God who He is. Holy. That is, set apart. There is none like Him. Blessed is He...
He is worthy because without Him we would not exist.
My earthly parents, no matter their defects, are worthy of some kind of thanks and praise.
I would not exist without them.
How much more our perfect, good, loving, humble, powerful, awe-inspiring, wise, just, and amazing God!
How Do We Praise?
And so we must praise.
It's as simple as this.
God, you are _______________.
God, you are good.
God, you are wise.
I feel not good... but God, you are good, and I am your child, so I am worthy of respect and love and kindness.
I feel so dumb... but God, you are the wisest of them all, and I am your child, so I can't be as dumb as I feel because you let me share in Your wisdom.
Who do you need God to be for you right now? Praise Him for being that. Maybe it'll be in a poetic song like David. Maybe it'll be a few simple spoken words. Maybe it'll be a litany of all the things He is.
Just remember, we don't praise Him because we experience some amazing change in our hearts right away or because it feels good... we praise God because HE IS WORTHY.
I invite your comments, especially regarding praise as the answer to heal our culture of rising suicide rates, depression rates, and the Opioid Crisis. I don't claim to have all the answers nor the ability to yet explain that praise is the answer. I just know that God is the answer, so it seems logical. What do you think?
The Three Things I Was Reminded Of
Praying in a chapel surrounded by college students who have given part (or all) of their summer to serve the Lord at a camp for teens is an entirely different experience from praying in my living room, on the couch, by myself.
There's a different spirit in the room. It's refreshing.
For the past two weeks, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve at Life Teen Camp Hidden Lake.
I spent time speaking to and investing in the college summer missionaries for the first week and acted as the worship leader for week two which brought over 200 high schoolers to a camp whose mission is to create space where Christ can be encountered through parish-based discipleship.
I was reminded of three essential aspects of the Christian life.
1. Community is vital
2. The Gospel is central
3. Life in the Spirit is exciting
Community is Vital
The strength of a Christian's community life is a "vital sign" of their spiritual life.
Without one, the spirit slowly loses life.
This is best understood simply through experience.
Anyone who has spent time on a mission trip with even a small bit of an open heart has surely realized a renewal of their spirit. Part of this has to do with the giving of self that takes place on the trip. Certainly time in prayer has to do with this. But even more so, it's the people with whom the service and prayer takes place with. It is a shared life.
The early Christians understood the necessity of a shared life in strengthening them to live like Christ and spread the Gospel.
Commentary from the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (RSV) on the the community life of the first Christians in Acts 2:42 says this:
"Thus, in every aspect of life, the earliest believers were united as a family: they learned together, lived together, ate together, worshiped together, and prayed together."
As the greatest missionary of all-time, St. Paul knew the importance of "sharing life" with the communities he witnessed to; not just preaching to them. He writes back to the Thessalonians saying:
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
His heart was invested.
When our hearts are invested in the Christian communities we belong to, our faith increases.
We are sanctified by the challenges of community.
We are inspired by the sharing of faith and the mutual discernment of the Lord's will.
Community, shared life, is vital to the Christian journey.
Finding this community can be challenging in modern American culture.
You can skip to the end for my comments on this.
The Gospel is Central
As a Theology teacher, it's easy for me to get lost in the intellectual side of our faith.
It's true that God has given us an intellect that we might know Him intellectually.
We can use logic to discover many beautiful things about the nature of God and the world He created.
Even so, if the intellectual parts of our faith are disconnected from the centrality of the Gospel, they are insufficient.
In Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis comments on these "extracurricular" things saying:
"Some Christians spend their time and energy on these things, rather than letting themselves be led by the Spirit in the way of love, rather than being passionate about communicating the beauty and the joy of the Gospel and seeking out the lost among the immense crowds that thirst for Christ."
Gaudete et Exsultate, No. 57
The intellectual parts of our faith...
They are insufficient for our own spiritual growth.
They are insufficient in winning souls for the Kingdom of God.
The intellectual parts of our faith, as interesting and profound as they can be, are insufficient without the core of Christianity: The Gospel.
The Gospel is this:
1. Man was created for a relationship with God.
2. That relationship was ruined by sin.
3. Jesus Christ, God's only son, gave His life to redeem us from our sin and reunite us with God, the Father.
4. We are invited to respond to Christ's invitation and live in relationship with God, the Father.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, more eloquently, says it this way:
"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1
The central aspect of this message is the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ where our salvation was won.
The Cross of Christ reveals God's outrageous love for us that He would be willing to become like the ones he created and take on the greatest suffering imaginable in order to free us to be with Him in happiness forever.
The Resurrection of Christ reveals His power over death and gives us hope to one day be resurrected with Him to eternal life.
In a world starving for meaning, this message, when presented by a joyful disciple of Christ living in the Spirit, has the most power to transform lives. All doctrine, all study, all good works, all preaching, all aspects of the Christian life must begin with this message and return to it.
Life in the Spirit is Exciting
Can you imagine someone presenting the Gospel to each person they meet in the same exact way?
Without a life in the Spirit, even the power of the Gospel is diminished. The message comes across dry and educational.
But presented by a person living in the Holy Spirit, the Gospel is fresh and relevant to each group or each person it is witnessed to.
It is spoken, yes, but by a person who is also living it. The joy of redemption radiates from them. The peacefulness of their heart, not caught up in the GO GO GO pace of the world brings a calmness to the recipient. The Gospel is attractive.
Life in the Spirit is simply this:
Remaining free from serious sin which separates us from God and His Spirit.
Regularly begging for grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Seeking to do the will of God in all things.
It's to pray and live this verse from the song "Open Space" by Housefires, a contemporary worship band:
Do whatever you wanna do
Say whatever you wanna say
Move however you wanna move
Change whatever you wanna change
An Invitation For You
As I'm writing all of this, I realize I'm not really proving my convictions here.
Maybe I will in the future.
But, to be honest, these are the kinds of things in the Christian life that are best understood by experience and through self-examination. Not by intellectual proofs.
I invite you to consider the three things I mentioned above, as they pertain to your own life.
1. What is my Christian Community life? Does it exist? How does it refresh me in the Spirit? How does it aid me in becoming more holy (usually in challenging by necessary ways)?
2. How have I experienced the power of the Gospel in my life? Who, in my life, most radically lives the Gospel in a way that impacts the people around them? How can I better live and speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
3. What would a Christian community alive in the Spirit look like compared to a Christian community not open to life in the Spirit? Am I open to the Holy Spirit working in me? Do I daily invite the Holy Spirit to change me and use me?
I am most fully alive when I am sharing my Christian life with others (community), I'm boldly living the Gospel of Christ, and I'm allowing the Holy Spirit to be with me and work through me in all things.
The world needs more people who are fully alive.
Lastly, I mentioned I would comment on the difficulties of finding community life.
This is especially difficult after college when the Catholic Student Union is no longer an option.
I would invite us all to reflect on how we can make a difference in our parishes.
How can we be the difference makers?
What can we do to bring our parish communities to life?
This is a question we must ask before we flee a struggling parish to find a parish which is already strong.
We need to find a small group of people to begin with.
As we are strengthened by this group, we must help to strengthen the whole community with our own individual gifts and inspirations.
What do I have to offer? How can I serve?
As we strengthen our communities, openness to the Spirit increases. As the Spirit increases within us, the Gospel pervades all that we do.
These are my reflections from camp. They may lack intellectual support but they are not lacking in power and relevance. I hope you will spend some time reflecting on my thoughts and maybe even comment your own thoughts below.
Praying the Rosary is Hard
Sometimes, I give talks on the power of the Rosary and internally I think: "Am I really convinced about the power of the Rosary?"
The Saints praise the power of a well-prayed Rosary.
The Church echoes the words of the saints.
And yet, for me, it's really hard to pray.
The goal of the rosary is to meditate on the mysteries of Jesus' life.
As I imaginatively ponder the Resurrection of Jesus, my heart is supposed to be moved by the glory of the scene that lay before my mind's eye.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (AKA Important U.S.A. Catholic People) say this:
"The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ's spirit dwells."
Hey, important Catholic people! This is not my experience of the Rosary!
Instead, I get distracted.
I get caught up in focusing on the words I'm saying.
Usually, I forget what bead I'm on multiple times in the course of my 20-minute fight for focus.
Discovering a New Way of Praying the Rosary
Just a few days ago, I had a different experience of the Rosary. Maybe it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Maybe not.
I was praying the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary and meditating on the Crucifixion of Jesus. As my fingers passed from bead to bead I began to see a different wound on Christ's body and ponder the pain he felt. Even try to feel the pain he felt...
Bead one - his left hand
Bead two - his right hand
Bead three - his head (crown of thorns)
Bead four - his feet
Bead five - his wounded side
Bead six - the scars on his back from the scourging as the rubbed against the cross
Then it went deeper.
Bead seven - his emotional pain as he knew his Mom had to watch this
Bead eight - his intellectual pain as he battled in his head to remember the goodness of His father
Bead nine - his spiritual pain as he fought to forgive amidst possible temptations to hate his persecutors
Bead ten - the pain he felt at the mockery and betrayal of both loved ones and enemies
This time of prayer flew by versus the typically slow drag of repetitive pious prayers.
I felt near to Christ.
It was a natural progression of meditation that led me deeper and deeper into the story of my Savior.
Make Your Rosary more Meaningful
What I realized was that I had been trying too hard to pray the Rosary and follow this perfect flow of meditation from the beginning of the scene (like the Crucifixion) to the end. I found too much difficulty trying to say the prayers and follow this perfect flow of imagery.
Now I just focus on one thing at a time.
And sometimes, it's not one thing per bead.
Maybe, I pray the Glorious mysteries and as I ponder the Holy Spirit coming to the Apostles at Pentecost, I focus on what it must have been like to suddenly hear all these different languages (Acts 2:8).
Four beads go by.
Then my mind is led (hopefully by the Holy Spirit!) to consider the sound of loud wind that accompanied this story (Acts 2:2). What must that have been like?
A few more beads.
You get the point.
Try it. Especially if you usually avoid praying the Rosary.
Or maybe you pray the Rosary but have never really meditated on it's mysteries.
My challenge to you is to pray just a decade (one set of mysteries, an Our Father and 10 Hail Mary's).
Ask the Holy Spirit's guidance and go for it! Take note of what your mind and heart are led to.
Then, if you want, post below and share any good fruit that came from your experience.
Lastly, offer up your Rosary for ONE SPECIFIC INTENTION.
Something really important. The conversion of a friend or the consolation of someone you know who is suffering.
Then when you're tempted to distraction, the efforts of your refocusing can become a grace for someone in need.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
A link to the mysteries of the rosary --> www.catholic.org/prayers/mystery.php