Rosary for Job-Seekers – UPDATED

UPDATE: I have written an expanded version of these rosary meditations for OSV; you can order pamphlets of it for your church or group, here

Reading about these especially horrific numbers and the endless squeezing of the Middle Class, and watching my son–still trying to find a real, full-time job now that the temporary one has ended–brought prayer.

Prayer has power. When everything is falling apart, prayer holds. Any one of us can suddenly find ourselves out of work, and looking at the job opportunities with failing hope and a growing sense of powerlessness that can truly affect both ego and spirit. Once again, we find that the Mysteries of the Rosary help us to identify with Christ, and join our sufferings to His, that all may be One.


Gallarus Oratory, Dingle Peninsula, Eire

A Rosary Meditation for Job-Seekers

First Mystery: Jesus in Gethsemane

Prayer: Lord, I feel stranded and abandoned. Although I am surrounded by well-wishers, there is a sense of isolation. Friends who had pledged support are falling away. No one can know precisely what I am feeling right now; I cannot show them how frightened I am of this uncertain path that lays before me. I know only that it is a path I would not choose for myself. Only you, Christ, understand how I vacillate between trust and heart-gripping fear, between “let this cup pass from me” and “Thy will be done.”

Meditation: As you pray the decade ponder Jesus’ desolation and fear; his humanity here eclipses his own divinity; fear is brought to the fore, acknowledged and lived through, before trust and surrender are able to take hold. Although you may be more frightened right now than you have ever been, you can bring this to Christ. He has been this frightened. He is the knowing companion who understands before you say a word.

Second Mystery: The Scourging

Prayer: When Pilate ordered your unjust scourging he was the authority figure who had no answers; to him you seemed like the minor, bothersome character in a larger drama of governance, bureaucracy and political expediency. From his perspective, your fate was tied to the zeitgeist. I too am perceived to be the minor cog in someone else’s great wheel; my humanity goes unconsidered as I endure a very public humiliation. Each day brings another reminder that I am not able to meet expenses, or to answer the needs of those around me. I fall into doubt and despair, and these tear into my spirit as the Roman’s terrible instruments tore into your flesh. I feel shredded, anonymous. Those watching my ordeal are silent; they contemplate my circumstance, and imagine themselves in my place, as they simply watch.

Meditation: The scourging of Christ was public knowledge; the crowd understood that Jesus was undergoing torture. The people who loved him were powerless to change anything for him; they could only be present. Informing others that you have lost your job and applying for assistance through various agencies are painful exposures. These can be moments of exquisite interior agony that feel like bleeding in public. Knowing your family is also watching, worried and helpless only adds to the sense of hopelessness. Mary had to watch and wait during Jesus’ ordeal, too, suffering for him. In a desperate moment, though neither of them could speak to the other of their grief and pain, each knew they were loved by the other. Though you feel unlovable right now, and there is tension and anxiety, trust that you are loved and being loved, even beyond all barriers.

Third Mystery: the Crown of Thorns:

Prayer: Jesus, we know that all crowns have metaphorical thorns, but upon your head was placed a crown of mockery, meant to further debase you in the cruel manner of bullies. For me, the mockery is not public; it is an interior jeering and snarling at myself. As I seek out jobs that do not exist, or will not be offered to me, my ego is taking a beating; my confidence in my abilities is being shaken. All of my skills, all of my knowledge and experience–these aspects of myself by which I have been defined for so long–are being weighed by strangers who find them unremarkable. The indifference of others is painful, and in that pain I find my own excesses of pride; I see that I have built my life around what I do, rather than who I am. Now, faced with less doing and more being, I feel like a stranger to myself, a false monarch in a castle built on sand. Help me to recollect that I am more than my Curriculum Vitae, that I was loved into be-ing. Remembering this, I beg you to help me see what I was born to be, and to pursue my be-ing, in you for whom there are no strangers.

Meditation: Confidence and pride, ego and attitude all manifest themselves in how we present ourselves to the world, and how we understand ourselves in response to lifelong feedback. A painful stripping off of these protective psychological layers reveals our shared vulnerability. No matter how successful one is in the eyes of the world, or how humble, when stripped of our self-trappings, we are each of us exactly alike in our need to be loved, protected and valued. Pope Benedict has written, “If an individual is to accept himself, someone must say to him: “It is good that you exist” – must say it, not with words, but with that act of the entire being that we call love.” A prolonged experience of unemployment and refusal can make one feel unloved and irrelevant. But it is good that you exist. Others believe this. Christ knows this. You are meant to know it, too.

Fourth Mystery: Carrying the Cross

Prayer: Christ, when you carried the wood to which you would be nailed, it was a long walk no one else could make. Beaten, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, you trudged along, each step heavy with fatigue. In the heat and dust, your destination seemed to waver, its location uncertain. Weakened, you must have been tempted to give up and let them kill you where you dropped. When Simon of Cyrene was called upon to help you, your burden was lessened, but that only allowed the torturous walk to go on; it was a bittersweet assist. I know something of that. As I find myself depleting reserves I may never be able to rebuild, or having to accept help I would prefer not to need, it is bitter; it feels like a downcasting humiliation. Help me carry my cross as you carried yours, with humble dignity.

Meditation: Humility is a scorned virtue – a cultivated garden our society disdains. Humility is misunderstood as weakness when, in fact, is it the strong foundation upon which dignity and blessings are built. The Messiah washed the feet of his own disciples; he accepted unjust abuse when he could have unleashed retribution. His eventual victory began with acquiescence, with a willingness to become the most vulnerable of all creatures, a human infant. Humility embraced with dignity is a perspective-changer; it brings gratitude, without which there is no room for even the smallest of joys to penetrate, and eventually heal.

Fifth Mystery: Dying on the Cross

Prayer: To be honest, Jesus, remembering your death does not immediately fill me with hope. You died! Planted amid jeering onlookers and gamblers and weeping women, all of your energy spent, you died. That seems hopeless, but because you always invite me to look more closely, I will look at you, crucified, and here I comprehend that everything I am feeling, all of my experiences in this ordeal, have been nailed with you, to the cross. You too were terrified and anxious; you too were abandoned by your friends. You too were publicly shamed, and left to the mercies of weak authority, indifferent bureaucrats and bullies. You too groaned under the weight of your trouble; you were conscious of familial grief; you were stripped and exposed, and humiliated, too. In your crucifixion, you are with me. I join my suffering to yours. Help me to die to my fear, die to my doubt, die to my own narrow demands, so that through you, with you, in you, I may yet arise, again.

Meditation: Dying to self, to one’s own plans, to a worldly ambition, takes great trust. Trust now. Laying your cross upon the cross of Christ, empty your hands; allow your fearful heart to pour itself out before him. Be emptied that you may receive what Christ has for you. In this sort of death, there is only consummation, and therefore a promise of future glory; “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans of fullness, not of harm, to give you a future, and a hope.” From Christ’s death on that awful Friday came, finally, the sweetest of Sundays. Time ended with the tearing of the veil, and the rolling back of the stone. The rest is illusion and catching up. There is nothing to be afraid of.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Special prayers for job seekers are sorely needed now. A Rosary is just the thing!

  • Philomena

    Thank you for the beautiful meditations, from someone who has been searching for God’s will for her career life for many, many years. May the dear writer, and each person who reads her words, receive consolation and blessing.

  • Louise M

    Thank You, Anchoress, for conveying Pope Benedict’s words, “it is good that you exist” with your reinforcing application…” Others believe this. Christ knows this. You are meant to know it, too”.

    I needed to hear this today. Thank you for serving a faithful vessel and conduit of Truth and Grace. It is good that you exist!

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  • Paul

    Thank you for this beautiful prayer. You nailed it so well. It’s like you were writing this specifically for my circumstance. Obviously the Holy Spirit is guiding you’re words and my reading.

    Peace be with you and all who are searching-out God’s path for their lives. May He show us the way.

  • saveliberty

    Thank you for these prayers and meditations!

  • Bender

    my son–still trying to find a real, full-time job

    This is what made yesterday’s Mass reading so uncomfortable. It is nice to have a little financial security, to know that you don’t have to worry about how you are going to pay the rent and put food in your belly.

    When have known what it is like to not be able to find a job, and you start thinking the worst, e.g. that you are only moments away from being homeless, when you finally do get a job and make some money, you naturally want to save up some in case of a rainy day, take some of the seven years of plenty and store them so that you might have something during the seven years of famine.

    And yet, we hear the Gospel yesterday — don’t be so foolish, all that worry could go to naught if you were to die tonight. And then that first reading — we work in vain, sweating and toiling to save up a little something, when someone might come along and snatch it away from us (government taxes anyone?).

    Oh, but those readings just apply to the rich, don’t they? They simply mean, “don’t be greedy,” don’t they? Yes, there is that, but then we remember the lilies of the field, about how even us poor schmucks shouldn’t be anxious and filled with worries about where our next meal is going to come from.

    These are uncomfortable teachings, if you must know. It is not easy to simply trust that “the Lord will provide.” It is so much easier and more comforting to have that financial security, to place our trust, even if just a little, and even if it seems entirely reasonable, in material things. How blessed, then, is the person who can, indeed, trust entirely in Him, to not have to bother with the worries of this world.

    [I don't think they're meant to be uncomfortable, though, I think they're meant to be reassuring and relieving. Our priest laughed about we all get sucked into the notion that we need more, that we're not secure enough...he finds himself buying into the idea, himself, sometimes...but it's a very american idea, in one sense, and perhaps that's b/c so many Americans came form impoverished backgrounds as immigrants, so we devil ourselves with the idea that "if we just have x in the bank, we'll be okay," when in truth, we could die tomorrow...all we need, to be "doing great" is a job, a roof and food...but we forget that -admin]

  • Bender

    Argh. I saw it just as my finger was hitting the “submit” button –

    That should be — “When you have known what it is like to not be able to find a job . . . “

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  • Kristen

    These are beautiful meditations. Would you consider writing a book of Rosary meditations along the lines of Father Peyton’s Rosary Book? I would sure buy it — you have a gift.

  • Suzi

    I’m underemployed. And I realized this week that circumstances may leave me in this state for the rest of my earthly life. While there were parts of your meditations that did not apply to me at all, there were others that opened my eyes.

    Thank you.

  • F

    No, Anchoress, I’m with Bender on this one. I feel like the disciples who said in the bible, “This is a hard saying.” They are hard. Even when one is not overly stashing, but only stashing enough to NOT be homeless ever (or again for some folks), these words can shake up the ones who use not have money for food, housing or transportation. Yes, God does indeed provide, that I do not dispute, but, the challenge in the words remains. I recall having no food money, and, not even money to get home on the train. Those are disorienting days. I’ll never forget them. It was God who provided for me during them. Now that I’m in a better place I try to help those back on the gameboard in the place where I used to be. And, I am looking to save something for someday.

    Well, today I got a discouraging email. It showed the taxes that are coming our way. (They guy who sent it is a registered independent and involved with the tea party or something.) When I saw that Bender mentioned the taxes:

    “And then that first reading — we work in vain, sweating and toiling to save up a little something, when someone might come along and snatch it away from us (government taxes anyone?).”

    this came to mind:

    Taxes will soar in a number of critical areas, read below to see just how our bloated government plans to take more and more from all of us:

    First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief
    In 2001 and 2003, Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These are all currently set to expire on January 1, 2011:

    Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

    - The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
    - The 25% bracket rises to 28%
    - The 28% bracket rises to 31%
    - The 33% bracket rises to 36%
    - The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

    This will affect people of all income levels!

    Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut. This will affect all people who are married and/or have children.

    The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

    Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

    It came from some online petition to Congress. I say, good luck with that, like they are going to listen to a petition.

    It would probably behoove all of us to pray that rosary, employed or not, as it does enhance a sense of gratitude for those employed.

    Its a beautiful meditation and I’ve sent it on to folks who’ve been out of work over 1.5 yrs.

  • http://blog.adw.org Msgr Pope

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have many parishioners who are searching right now. It’s touch and an understanding prayer is a great consolation.

  • Raymond

    Having had experience with long and harrowing unemployment, I must give the writer plaudits for this piece- it is good work indeed, and of real value to those being badly beat up by this miserable job situation. Much is being done by lots of people to find ways to help and we all know trouble often brings out the best, (and the worst). Before I run on too long, let me say two things. First, the use of credit reports to deny hiring is a very serious defect in the way we do business- it must be stopped !! These reports give no reasons for financial difficulty in way of explaining how it came about. Illness, Divorce, bad decisions, etc. are given no weight.
    Second, PRAY. Pray as hard as you work, pray as hard as you hope. You will get work. God bless us all. Raymond

  • Carl Eppig

    Among our offsprint and spouses we have six wage earners and four of them are without jobs right now. This gives us an 80% family unimployment rate! I sent this out to them and one daughter and husband came back and said they loved it. They printed in out and are going to have it laminated today! They have already prayed it two times.

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    Unlike “The Boy King” I am actually going to create ONE job opening, come January 2011. I am going to retire from my legal secretarial position in The District and allow someone else to put up with a 51 miles each way commute and all the fun and frolic of riding the Virginia Railway Express which is undependable at best!

    From each according to her means or something along those lines. My feeling is that I am receiving social security and am at the age (thank goodness) where I can earn as much as I wish. And I’m actually earning more than I need to supplement the Social Security. So I’m planning to get a part time job near home and the heck with it! The plan is to have 3 months rent in the bank, the car paid off and no other bills other than electricity, and the like!

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  • Michael Donahue

    Opus Dei has a novena for jobseekers and workers:

    link

  • http://Radiopatriot.wordpress.com Andrea Shea King

    Bless you Anchoress. God speaks through you in these times of awful need for many. So many are in the situation you’ve described (with such sensitivity and understanding). They are doing their best to control the panic they’re feeling. It has affected their health, their sense of self, their worth… Your insight has helped me to better understand their heart and their torment. And why they do what they do. I’m quietly praying for them, praying for all of us. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

    Andrea

  • William

    Thank you.

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  • Jack

    Bless you for this inspired meditation. It is a great gift to those of us out of work. It really needs to be circulated. You do more good that you know. Gratefully, Jack

  • Jack

    Bless you for this inspired meditation. It is a great gift to those of us out of work for whatever reason. It really needs to be circulated. You do more good that you know. Gratefully, Jack

  • http://www.stgabrielradio.com/ EWTN Radio Listener

    Just heard the morning show on EWTN Catholic Radio encourage the praying of these meditations – thank you for sharing it with us.

    To those listeners who will show up due to the referral to your site, please look through the archives! There is always something worthwhile to read. :)

    [Thanks for telling me -admin]

  • James

    This headline would indicate that those with jobs and who do not pray the rosary have somehow have had granted their jobs by divine providence. I would rather see people praying the rosary for what it was intended, not for personal gain. Remember in order to gain a job, one has to create a job, otherwise you are potentially taking a job from someone who needs it and the outcome would be self-serving. Read the Book of James for clarification.

    [Did you actually read the post, or did you stop at the headline? Perhaps read it, for clarification. :-) admin]

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