I used to commute from my rural/suburban small city to the downtown hub of a major U.S. city three times a week for a part time job. I drove to the train station, rode a commuter train for about an hour and ten minutes, and then walked another fifteen minutes to my office building. Door-to-door, the entire commute was approximately an hour and a half each way. If there was inclement weather or an accident of some sort, the commute could be a frustrating two to three hours.
My commute was a huge challenge for me mostly because, at the time, I was a mother of a toddler and an infant. Even though I only worked three days a week, I felt a lot of stress. Due to my commute, my work day kept me out of the house for twelve hours. I was also a nursing mom. In addition to my laptop, I also lugged my Medela pump kit including bottles and pumping accessories to and from work. When you are a commuter with crowded city blocks to walk, that’s a lot to carry. I had a heavy load and not just in the physical sense.
I desperately wanted to be at home with my kids during their early years of life. I felt like I was starting to lose my mind a little bit, losing hope. I think it was upon the suggestion of my mother that I had downloaded a bible onto my Nook. I tried to remember to read it on my commute into the city in an effort to reduce my stress and help me pray for help in dealing with my situation. I felt a little lost just reading the bible. I didn’t have any direction. I didn’t always remember what I read. Despite all of that, I thought it was still worthwhile. And so, I carried on in my bible reading efforts.
One Sunday after mass, we were sitting in the community room with fellow parishioners, eating donuts. A group of older couples all had their smart phones out and were discussing apps. My husband and I exchanged glances. We didn’t even have smart phones and were shocked at how technologically advanced these senior parishioners were. They were talking about an app called Laudate, an app that housed all sorts of Catholic goodies. The feature that stood out to me was the interactive rosary. I could not remember the last time I prayed the rosary and I wasn’t sure I remembered how. With this app, however, I wouldn’t need to remember how to pray the rosary because the magical little app walked you through the whole devotion. How intriguing.
Although I did not have a smart phone, I did have an ipod touch. When we got home from church that day I promptly downloaded Laudate. I began to pray the rosary during some of my commutes. I would like to say that I did this during every commute, but that would not be the truth. Perhaps once a week would be more accurate. I didn’t know it at the time, but as I look back I see that this new devotion to the Blessed Mother was the start of something bigger. Looking back, I realize that the commute that I thought was the biggest cross in my life turned out to be a kind of blessing. It gave me the quiet, alone time that I needed to be able to pray the rosary. I now know that this was a turning point in my life. Without really realizing it, I had invited Mary into my heart and my life began to take a new direction.
Mary leads people to her son, Jesus. And that’s really the point of the rosary. If you’re not Catholic, you might think that praying the rosary is a crazy way to worship Mary. It’s actually really just a way to ask Mary to pray for you and a tool to help you meditate on the life of her son. I believe that when I started to pray the rosary on those train rides, something started to change in my life. After several months of praying on the train, I had a renewed hope and the beginning of a deeper faith. Mary’s intervention in my life helped to jumpstart my desire to have a relationship with Jesus. It’s so true that God works in mysterious ways. Who would have thought that He would reach me through a Smartphone?