Spiritual ecstasy in a minivan

April 26, 2009 | 8 comments

This post was originally published on February 29, 2008. I chose this one to re-run this week because it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as I realize how wonderful my life has been since my conversion.

Yesterday the kids and I were getting a bit stir crazy, so I packed everyone into the car to go for a drive. I do that every now and then just to get us out of the house and have a moment to clear my mind. As I drove, I restlessly flipped around the radio but couldn’t find any talk shows or music that felt right. Finally, I looked down to see my favorite CD of the Rosary, and knew that that was exactly what I was meant to listen to.

I don’t know whether it was the simple beauty of the violins in the background, or Fr. Groeschel’s soothing voice, or just the fact that the children were calm and comfortable in their car seats, but as soon as the CD began to play I felt more relaxed than I had all week. And as I drove up and down neighborhood streets, saying the Rosary along with the CD, meditating on each of the mysteries of Christ’s life, I began to feel overwhelmed with joy. The act of continuously repeating the simple Hail Mary prayer occupied the frantic, analytical part of my mind, freeing my soul to just wander and experience and feel. For once I was actually consumed with some small fraction of the profound awe and wonder that one should feel when contemplating the truths of Christianity: I felt indescribable appreciation for having any kind of contact with the Creator of the universe, for his death on our behalf, for the opportunity for our eternal souls to reside in a place of perfect joy and goodness, for the fact that God loves our children and our friends and family even more than we do.

The only fitting term to describe how I felt would be “spiritual ecstasy.” Yet the irony was not lost on me that I was doing one of the most mundane things a person could possibly do: just driving a beat up old minivan around the empty streets of suburbia. What could be more boring, more unglamorous, more lame? And yet, even while doing something that to the outside world would appear to be the height of banality, I was able to experience the kind of thrilling joy that humans spend their whole lives searching for.

I think that that moment was a perfect encapsulation of the magnificence of Christian life: for the Christian, there is never an excuse for boredom or mundanity, because more excitement and wonder and beauty than we could possibly comprehend are always right there in front of us, accessible by nothing more than prayerful consideration of the truths of our faith. Once you’ve discovered God, the heights of human experience are no longer reserved for fleeting moments upon mountaintops or momentous historical occasions, but can be had any time or any place, even when you’re just driving a minivan through suburbia.



  1. Rachel Gray

    I love it!!!

    I’ve been looking at my own life, wondering if I will ever do something awesome that all will admire, or if I’ll be mundane forever– and this post says it all for me. Thank God for God.

  2. Elizabeth

    I Love Fr Groschel’s rosary CD.
    Unfortunately I haven’t had a CD player in my car…but I love to listen and pray as I iron, fold clothes or even ride the exercise bike! Another GREAT post…thanks so much. Pax, E

  3. Anonymous

    Coincidence: I just saw — and heard — Fr. Groeschel this afternoon. He gave a wonderful talk — which is amazing: He is recovering from a stroke. His voice and the fact that he had to reach for words several times revealed a great deal about the state of his health.

    I mention this fact because Fr. Groeshel’s current need for prayers is top-of-mind for me. Please, let’s all include him in our prayers.

    ~ Nona

  4. Judith

    Thank you so much for re-running this post. It brought tears to my eyes …. how wonderful our God is to draw us near to his heart and to share his joy with us!

    I have been so spiritually dry lately — my fault entirely; I have been absent from prayer — and hearing you share your experience makes me long for Him again. “As a deer pants for water, so my soul thirsts for you, O Lord.”

    Thank you.

  5. Dorothy

    The most remarkable thing about this post, to my mind, is that there were CHILDREN in the car! First, they LET you play the rosary recording. They LET you attend to it. Apparently they were not raising Cain in the back seat. This speaks volumes about, of all things, parenting!!! God bless.

  6. Tomasino

    Jennifer, thanks for running this post again. Sometimes I need a reminder that even in the most mundane moments God is still calling us to him. You’ll leave me with a smile all day tomorrow. Thanks.

  7. Beth (A Mom's Life)

    What a wonderful post!

    Some of my best moments of the day are spent in the car with the radio turned up praising God.

  8. Roz

    Thank you for the timely reminder. When I’m attuned to those moment-to-moment graces, I wonder how I can ever tolerate not being in that place. When I’m dulled to them, I don’t even think to wonder where they went.

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