Help! My Mind Wanders While Praying

The rosary is a meditative prayer and it is very common to have a wandering mind while praying the rosary or any other prayer.  In the rosary, prayers are said while meditating on the mysteries of the life of Jesus.  A prayer can become so commonplace that our minds wander or we forget what we just said.  Sometimes a person’s mind wanders on other things while praying and meditating.  This can be very frustrating because you want to stay on track with the lessons the meditation has to teach us.  You can start the prayers with good intentions and do well through the first part of prayers but then your mind wanders to:

  • What should I make for supper?
  • Wish I could lose weight.
  • The heartbreak of a family member who left the Church.
  • Daily struggles
  • Family struggles
  • Miscellaneous thoughts

As your mind wanders, you begin to think that you are doing something wrong or get frustrated and try to get your mind to stay on task.  This is where you should see where your mind is wanting to go.  As long as it is not entertaining thoughts that would lead you away from God, pay attention to where it wanders.  Maybe God is trying to help you resolve a problem in your life, or maybe God is trying to lead you to something He wants you to do or something He wants you to pay attention to.  This can be very helpful in your life.  Listening is part of the conversation with God.  We can say a lot of prayers but if we don’t listen to Him, we won’t hear what His will is for us.

The other side of wandering thoughts is important.  When your thoughts wander, offer them up to God as a prayer for that intention.  Yes! What you thought was a hindrance is actually a prayer!  It’s asking God for help with that intention.  He hears you.  Doesn’t matter what it is, offer it up as a prayer.  Put your wandering thoughts to good use. Offer them up as prayer.

Wandering thoughts during prayer can be something that God wants you to hear from Him, a prayer offered up to Him, or God helping you to resolve a problem in your life.  Sometimes we need to be still and listen to where God wants us to be.  Keep praying!

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100th Anniversary of Fatima

Back in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children on the 13th of each month from May through October.  The children were Lucia, who was nine years old, and her cousins, Francisco who was eight, and his sister, Jacinta who was six.  This apparition of the Blessed Virgin is one of the few apparitions approved  by the Catholic Church.  To be approved, it has to go through scrutiny and investigation by the Church.  You are not obligated to believe in this apparition even if you are Catholic but if it strengthens you faith, then learn more about it.  This is a long story and there is a lot of details so I encourage you to look for more on the story but I will try to do it justice.

The Angel of Peace came to the children in 1916 (possibly early spring) and taught them prayers and gave them Holy Communion.  He taught, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love Thee.  I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee, do not love Thee.”  In the summer, the Guardian Angel of Portugal appeared again to them, asking them to “Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended…”  In Autumn, the Angel appeared again, holding a chalice and a Host was hovering over it from which drops of Blood were falling into the chalice.  He let go of it and it suspended in the air while the Angel prostrated himself on the ground in adoration, while he prayed this prayer, “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ, present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges outrages and indifferences by which He Himself is offended.  And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”  He gave Lucia the Host and the contents of the chalice to Francisco and Jacinta as he said, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men.  Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”

(First Apparition) On May 13, 1917, the children were out in the Cova de Iria where the sheep grazed, they saw a flash of lightening so they were going to start for home when they saw a small holm oak tree and above it was this beautiful Lady.  She was “dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun”.  She said to them, “Fear not! I will not harm you.”  She wanted them to come to the same spot for six months on the 13th of each month.  She asked them if they wanted to offer themselves to God to “endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?”  They agreed.  She said, “Then you are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” and “Say the rosary everyday to bring peace to the world and the end of the war (This happened during WWI).”

On the second apparition on June 13th, Our Lady taught the children another prayer to be said between the decades of the rosary, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.”  She stated that she would take Francisco and Jacinta soon (to heaven), Lucia, however, is to stay here a longer time.  Jesus wants to use Lucia to make Our Lady known and loved…”

(Third Apparition) One July 13th, Our Lady wanted the children to say the rosary daily, in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, for the end of the war “for She alone can save it.”  She promised them a miracle she would perform in October “so that they would believe“.  She asked again for them to sacrifice themselves for sinners.  She opened her arms and the light from her opened up the earth.  The children saw a “sea of fire and immersed in that fire were devils and souls with human form, as if they were transparent black or bronze embers floating in the fire and swayed by the flames that issued from them along with clouds of smoke, falling upon every side…amidst wailing and cries of pain and despair that horrified and shook us with terror.  We could tell the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures and baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire” according to the words of Lucia.  Our Lady told them “You have seen Hell–where the souls of poor sinners go.  To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”  She predicted WWII and persecution of the Church, which came true.

On August 13th, the Chief Magistrate told the children he was taking them to the Cova in his carriage. Lucia realized he had lied to them and was stealing them.  He took them to the County House and questioned for the secret the Lady told them.  They were threatened with many punishments including being boiled in oil but wouldn’t tell the secret.  They were thrown in jail with hardened criminals.  The children prayed the rosary in the jail and got the criminals to pray with them.  The Magistrate released them because of an angry mob outside.  Our Lady came to the children on August 19th instead and told of the miracle that will happen in October.  She said that “St. Joseph will appear with Baby Jesus to give peace to the world“.  She wished for a chapel to be built in the spot of the apparitions.

September 13th, Our Lady told more about the miracle that was to take place in October and asked for the rosary to be said.

October 13, 1917 is the day of the “Miracle of the Sun”.  It was very rainy that day and the night before and everyone’s clothing was drenched and the ground was thick with mud.  There were about 70,000 people there in the Cova.  The sun danced for about 10 minutes and appeared to come closer to earth as if it were crashing but then went back up to the sky.  After the sun danced, the ground and all of their clothing was dry when before this they were all muddy.  St. Joseph and baby Jesus appeared and blessed the world.  This miracle has been documented accepted by the Catholic Church.

Please click on the link below to see a poster about the miracle.


The message of the Virgin Mary is to

  1. Go to Confession often
  2. Say the Rosary daily
  3. Repent of sin
  4. Make sacrifices and reparation for poor sinners and for our sins
  5. Go to Mass
  6. Make the Five First Saturday devotion (Go to confession, Holy Communion, Rosary, and 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the rosary, in atonement for the sins of the whole world on the First Saturday of each month for five Saturdays.)

This May 13, 2017 is the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the shepherd children.  October 13th will be the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.  Please consider beginning a devotion of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary for She will lead you to Christ and you will see Him for the first time through her eyes as a mother.  You may say, I don’t need His mother to lead me to Jesus, but in this world of instant gratification, we need to slow down and contemplate the many facets of Jesus and this is one of them that many people miss.  Jesus loved and honored His mother and we should too at the very least out of respect for Jesus, but also for the Mother of God.

The Blessed Virgin Mary wants us to amend our lives, pray the rosary for peace, sacrifice for poor sinners and come to the Her Son in the Eucharist to change the world.  This has been her consistent message for about 150 years in all of her apparitions, yet she has been rejected repeatedly.  When will we listen…when it’s too late?  She is the Arc of the Covenant, like the Arc of Moses.  When things get tough, will we turn back to her after the door of the Arc is closed?  It’s too late then.  Please pray the rosary for peace and please don’t reject her.  She comes to you softly and lovingly as your Mother too.  (And you don’t have to be Catholic to ask for Her intercession and to honor Her.)

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Lent is More Than Fish Sticks

When you think of Lent, most people think of fish sandwiches or fish sticks.  What is Lent anyway?  We are preparing for Easter, and not just for the candy or bunnies.  We are preparing for Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection.  This is the most important religious time of the year.

Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter.  After Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, was killed, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days before He was crucified.  He fasted for those 40 days.  Satan confronted and tempted Jesus and tried to prevent Him from being crucified because He didn’t want Jesus to succeed in His sacrifice for our salvation.  We as Christians go symbolically into the desert with Jesus for those 40 days (estimated) and try to better our relationship with Jesus.  This is a time to purify our religious lives.

During this time, we do different devotions to help us.  One thing we do is fast.  Fasting is only eating the equivalent of one meal in a day.  Abstaining from meat is also done.  All meat is refrained from except fish.  (This is where the fish sticks come in.)  Fish is the symbol of Jesus sometimes.  These are done on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays in between.  These are sacrifices we do for Jesus in reparation for our sins.  We also usually give up something during Lent as a sacrifice such as sweets, chocolate, smoking or something.

On Good Friday, we have Mass to remind us of Jesus’ Passion or His crucifixion and suffering.  This is a very important day and the time of 3:00pm is also very important because that’s when Jesus died.  This Mass is very emotionally moving because we read the Scripture of Jesus’ suffering.  I cry every time thinking of His pain because of my sins but it also makes me want to be a better person for Jesus.

The evening before Easter, we have a very beautiful Mass called the Easter Vigil.  We light candles and read many Scriptures of the Apostles waiting for Jesus to rise from the dead.  This is the night usually when people who are new converts come into the Church after going to the RCIA classes.  They receive the sacraments they need to come into the fullness of the Faith.

During Lent, Catholics can strengthen their faith by praying the rosary, praying the stations of the cross, reading scripture or other religious devotions daily.  There are also more opportunities for us to go to Confession/Reconciliation to repent and leave sin behind.

If a person takes Lent seriously, this can be a life changing experience.  You might end up with a closer relationship with Jesus after those 40 days in the desert.  Satan tempts us into thinking we can’t change but if we persevere, we can resist that temptation and change our lives for the better.  It may sound like it’s not much fun but you can make it fun and an interesting experience if you try different things and learn more about Jesus.

So when you see all of those advertisements for fish sandwiches at fast food restaurants on TV, remember that Lent is more than fish sticks.  It’s about the love Jesus has for us that He suffered for 40 days and then suffered and died for us so that we could have a repaired relationship with God after it was broken by Adam and Eve.