Constant: happening all the time
Mental: relating to, or being intellectual as contrasted with overt physical activity
Prayer: an address to God in word or thought
I constantly worry. I constantly think about what I should be doing. I constantly think about what I’d rather be doing. Yet Mary was in a state of constant mental prayer. How incredibly different her thoughts must have been. But she was a human mother too. She must have had worries and should haves and could haves. “Where is Jesus now? I should have put up the baby gate. If he wasn’t always running off to the temple I could be soaking my feet in the river and basking in the sun.” Maybe that’s not quite right…
While I am sure Mary had normal motherly and womanly thoughts, the big difference is in what she did with those thoughts. She didn’t let them consume her. She took them directly to God. She transformed those worries and distractions into prayers building her grace.
I imagine this must have come much easier to Mama than it does to me (or maybe you?). Instead of looking each troublesome thought in the eye and saying, “I offer this up to the Lord and leave it at His feet. Strengthen me, Lord,” I throw up a quick, “Jesus, help me!” if I can even stop for a minute to do that. More than likely I am “too busy” to stop and pray. I have problems that I have to fix after all. Or so I often think.
To better incorporate this virtue into my life, the key is going to have to be practice. womp womp. You thought I was going to give you a miracle, right? I don’t do that. God does. Ask Him.
But what does practice look like? For me it looks like a mantra. A quick phrase I can keep in mind and remember throughout the day. Perhaps even write it on sticky notes and place it around the house, in the car, at work, everywhere. My mantra? Stop now. Look around. Pray. Come up with something that will stick in your own mind – or use mine. I ain’t mad.
And remember: constant mental prayer doesn’t always have to be a petition either. It’s in the ordinary moments too. Look at the Fall leaves and thank God. When you fail, confess to Him. Pray for others rather than being quick to judge. In quiet moments, just adore Him. When you feel like a slave to the obligations in your life, ask God to sanctify you.
Stop now. Look around. Pray.
This post is part of a series on the Ten Virtues of Mary, hosted by To the Heights and running every Tuesday until the middle of December. So if you need some help in the virtue department, here’s a great place to start ;)
October 7 – An Introduction to the Ten Virtues of Mary – Olivia of To the Heights
October 14 – Lively Faith – Molly of Molly Makes Do
October 21 – Blind Obedience – Kendra of Catholic All Year
October 28 – Constant Mental Prayer – Jenna of Call Her Happy
November 4 – Heroic Patience – Kelly of This Ain’t the Lyceum
November 11 – Profound Humility – Carolyn of Svellerella
November 18 – Angelic Sweetness – Regina of Good One God
November 25 – Divine Wisdom – Britt of The Fisk Files
December 2 – Universal Mortification – Abbey of Surviving Our Blessings
December 9 – Divine Purity – Gina of Someday Saints
December 16 – Ardent Charity – Christy of Fountains of Home
December 17 – Massive GIVEAWAY at To the Heights – Just in time for Christmas