January: is there a month quite like it for the blahs? We’re fresh off the Christmastime wave of indulgence and entitlement. We’re exhausted from providing indulgence to others—buying, wrapping, baking, entertaining, keeping our cool (or not) in the face of cranky family members of various ages. January charges us with the task of dragging others cheerfully back to the reality (school, work, taking down the tree and candles and putting the regular art back on the walls) that we ourselves aren’t so delighted to rejoin, either. By the time you’re reading this, you already may have abandoned your New Year’s resolution. And all this kicks off a long stretch of no holidays, brutal weather, sunrises that come too late, sunsets that drop too early. There’s even evidence that worldwide misery levels may make their fastest climb in January.
January can feel like a deep, dark, very cold pit from which there is no rescue. It’s a pit of sameness, of lost progress, of dragged feet going nowhere. Thankfully, when you’re Catholic, there’s always rescue, even from our Januaries.
Psalm 40 promises us that, when we wait for the Lord, He will draw us out of the pit and set our feet on solid rock. I remain convinced that the Rosary is in the shape of a loop for a reason. God knows we are prone to falling. Mary knows we need something to hold — not just spiritually but physically — if we are to get our feet again. Just when we feel like we can’t feel anything anymore, when January has numbed us, the Rosary gives us something to touch, something that marks our progress for us with each prayer said, something that reduces our decision fatigue by guiding us with holy words to say and holy thoughts to think. It is not babbling our own words, which Jesus warns us not to do. No, the Rosary gives us Christ’s words to cling to, his Mother’s prayers to clutch, the truth about God’s undying, ever-warming love for us to lift us up when our own strength is gone.
The Rosary is our escape from even the worst January.
If I use my imagination, I can see my hands clinging to that loop of beads and Mary giving her Son the other end. The Rosary becomes my rope out of the pit of despair, with Jesus and His Mother pulling on the other side. I cling. I am set free. I stand firm on solid ground again.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Copyright 2018 Erin McCole Cupp