Cleanliness Next to Godliness

Clean your heart as you clean your hands.

You’ve probably heard the advice of singing “Happy Birthday” while washing your hands, that it takes about that long to do a thorough job and kill germs—anything less and you’re likely  to spread all kinds of illness to yourself and others.

A couple years ago I made the change to saying the Hail Mary while I washed up at various times during the  day, saying the prayer slowly enough to think on one of the Seven Dolors of Mary and the Holy Mysteries associated with it.

Keeping this prayer and practice in mind has given more purpose to my prayer life; it keeps me connected to prayer throughout the day, bringing focus to more than just the task, um…at hand.

I don’t know about you, but singing Happy Birthday to myself when it’s not even my birthday, that just seems silly (and most of us rush through it anyway, the resulting hand-washing less than desirable—see the accompanying image).

Reflection on the dolors (pains) of Mary, however, is an opportunity for communion with the Lord through his most trusted servant, his own mother. I’ve found it a beautiful way to bring a reflective pause in my day and help cleanse my heart and head while I cleanse the dirt of the world from my hands.


Think you do a good job washing your hands? Click here.


2 thoughts on “Cleanliness Next to Godliness

  1. Theresa says:

    I just love reading about your journey, but I really love this one. I went to the website and went through the Seven Dolors of Mary. What a wonderful way to spend some time today. But more importantly, I’ve started washing my hands saying the Hail Mary and concentrating on the Seven Dolors (each one). Maybe way more time than I need to get my hands clean, but I certainly feel better deep down in my soul. Thank you.


    • chrisco1 says:

      glad to hear that something I’ve shared can be helpful in your own journey (funny, too, cuz I know after taking all your culinary classes that ‘cleanliness’ is a biggie on your list!).


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