There have been times when my non-Catholic friends shook their heads at repetitive and rote prayers. The "Hail Mary" is a lovely prayer, but after you have said one, why on earth would you need to say fifty? I on the other hand have often wondered how mothers can raise children without a ready "Hail Mary" on their lips or a Rosary in their pocket.
These last few days have taught me a few things about rote prayer. Most of the time I have no problem carrying on a conversation with God. Unfortunately, I am sure that I also am apt to do more talking than listening. I happily chat with Blessed Mother, St. Monica, and many other holy men and women as I ask for their intercessory prayers. But sometimes, as in the last few days, the need is so great and the pleading so intense that mere intellect cannot formulate the words. That is when my words return to the familiar. A "Hail Mary", an "Our Father", the "Anima Christi", or the "St. Michael's Prayer" fill the void. With my memorized words I turn my voice to Him and allow Him to sort out what I am really asking for. I trust that God knows what I need before I even ask. There is no need for me to explain all the details.