During my teenage years, I was in a relationship with a handsome young guy whom I was convinced I was going to marry. I had it all planned out in my head: We were going to have a beautiful Catholic wedding surrounded by friends and family, settle down in a small town, and raise a large family together (I wanted five boys and a girl, to be exact!).
As you’ve probably already guessed, that’s not what happened. Despite my best efforts, our relationship went from bad to worse until one day my boyfriend called me from out of state and dropped the bombshell: He had decided to break up with me right then and there.
To say I was crushed would be an understatement. As I clutched the phone to my ear, desperately trying to process this news, I couldn’t hold back the tears that welled up in my eyes and slid silently down my cheeks. At a time when I thought my life would be full of love and joy, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of profound emptiness.
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Up to that point, I’m ashamed to admit, I hadn’t been a particularly faithful Catholic. Though I went to Mass on Sundays, I more or less went through the motions and assumed that was enough. I didn’t pray consistently on my own or regularly ask God to help me make good choices in life.
But in my desperation to show my former boyfriend how “right” we still were for each other, I combed the internet for specific prayers that could help bring him back to me. At the time, my motivation was purely selfish. I thought that if I prayed hard enough, God would give me what I wanted.
And that’s when I stumbled across the 54-Day Rosary Novena. Now, I know people say this a lot, but in my case, I genuinely mean it: This novena changed my life. Completely.
If you’re not familiar with this particular novena, it’s a series of daily Rosaries prayed for an especially difficult or large request. The Rosary is prayed 27 days in petition and 27 days in thanksgiving — regardless of whether our prayer has been answered by then or not.
When I discovered this novena as a broken-hearted teenager, I thought, “What have I got to lose?” Even though I didn’t pray the Rosary regularly on my own at that point, I started praying it every single day and begging Our Lady to touch my ex’s heart so that we could finally get married.
Day after day, I prayed my heart out for this intention. And at the end of the novena, my ex still had not come back. But I was not about to give up. I went right back to praying the Rosary every day for my relationship.
And after a while, something interesting happened: As the days passed, I slowly came to terms with the fact that my ex and I were not meant to be together after all. And far from breaking my heart all over again, this realization brought me great peace and strength. I realized I had been pouring all my energy into a sinful relationship that God didn’t want, and it was time to forgive and let go.
And that’s exactly what I did.
When I look back at that relationship, I marvel at how good God is. Because as a lost, broken-hearted teenager dreaming of the guy I thought I needed to be happy and fulfilled, God sent me exactly who I needed through Our Lady.
In my weakness and sinfulness, I took a small, hesitant step toward her, and she, like any good mother, took care of the rest. With infinite love and patience, she opened my eyes to what God wanted of me and showed me that the path of ultimate fulfillment could never come from any human relationship but, rather, from a relationship with God.
Through the 54-Day Rosary Novena, Mary touched my heart and led me back to the right path. Instead of returning to a relationship with my ex, I returned to the most important thing: the grace of God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
And yes, you’ve guessed it: I’m completely hooked on the Rosary now. I went from being someone who couldn’t wait for the family Rosary to be over to someone who can’t go even one day without praying it. Whenever I feel tired or anxious, the Rosary always gives me fresh strength and courage to keep moving forward, and I have no idea how I lived without it.
Our Lady is a sure guide to heaven amid the storms of life.
Dear sister, maybe you’ve experienced the heartbreak of being abandoned by someone you loved and trusted. Maybe you didn’t get the job you thought you were a perfect fit for. Maybe you see your friends getting married and having children while you feel out of place or left behind.
No matter what heavy burden you’re carrying today, remember this: Our Lady is no stranger to pain and struggle and loss. She endured a terrifying flight into Egypt, the anguish of losing Jesus in the temple for three long days, and the heartbreaking sight of her beloved son dying on the cross. She sees your pain, and, like any loving mother, she is always ready to come to your aid and help you along the road to heaven.
If you’ve struggled with finding the time or motivation to pray the Rosary in the past like I used to, I challenge you to give it a second chance. You may not get the answers you expect, but you will definitely get the answers you need.
If it helps, follow along with a recording while driving to work, on a walk or while doing the dishes. I guarantee that if you devote a little time every day to the Rosary, particularly the 54-Day Rosary Novena, your life will change in ways you can’t even imagine.