Our Carpenter’s Square, the Rosary

Our Carpenter’s Square, the Rosary. Hmm. Years ago, and I do mean years, I was in shop class, the instructor at the front of the room. He held up a carpenter’s square and said, “This is a square. Explain to me what it is.” And so it began. One guy after another telling him what you use it for. And one after another he told them that, no, that’s not what it was. It got to be confusing. because all the answers, all the things these guys were saying, all the things you use it for, well, they were all right. And then it happened. Have you ever asked a question and seen the light come on in one face? And you knew without a doubt that this person had gotten the answer from that dark recess of the mind, dug out the info, and was ready to spill. He looked at me and smiled. My face had that knowing glow and the grin to go with it. So he asked me, with great confidence, “Can you tell us what a square is?” And I replied, “Yes sir. A square is a dude that don’t know whats happening.” Ah well. He then, after the laughter subsided, told us what asquare IS. That was the crux of the question. He hadn’t asked what you do with it. And so we learned that a square IS a 45 degree angle.

Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking and considering what we think the answer must be that we lose track of the question and the reality of the thing. I think the Rosary is like that sometimes. It’s about more than one thing. Its more than a string of beads, but it’s also more than a fixed set of mysteries. It’s a tool. Its our Carpenter’s square. Jesus is the Carpenter, and the Rosary is the square He uses to help build us up in our Christian faith. At different times with different mystics Christ has refered to the Rosary as “His”. Its a safe bet that when Mary gave it to Dominic it was after God, Jesus, had given it to her. So let’s think about it for a minute in a new way. Not as beads or fixed mysteries, but as a tool that we can use, like a carpenter’s square, in lots of ways with many definitions of what it is because it IS multifaceted, and what we might do with it to help us grow in our, in His, faith. And remember that the following are just a few simple ideas to get your own mental juices flowing. You’ll get the idea here in just a minute. In the meanwhile I suggest that later you might like to get a small notebook, nothing complicated, and keep it with your Rosary so that as ideas come you can write them down for future exploration. Having said that …

Think of five saints that you feel close to, that you can learn from, that were Christlike in ways that you wish you were. List them. Your list might be; #1, St. Francis. #2, The Little Flower. #3, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. #4, St. Jude. #5, Pope John Paul II. Now take your Rosary and when you pray the decades dedicate each one in turn to one of those saints. Think about what it is in their life that you would like to emulate. Think of the issue or trait or virtue and ask them to help you with it. Make this your own personal “Rosary of Saints”. And remember that the saints can change with your needs just like the daily situations in your life change.

Ok. You’re setting in Church and it’s still ten minutes before Mass. As Paul said, redeem the time. See Ephesians 5:16. Take your Rosary and do what the Eastern Orthodox monks do with their prayer beads. On each bead repeat the Jesus Prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Let the truth of those words gently work their way into your mind and heart. Or make up your own prayer. You can invent all you like. “Mother Mary, I love you.” “Jesus, thank you.” “Father, please bless and help Bob, or Sally, or whoever.” The possibilities are as many as your heart is wide. And He can always make it wider.

Make a list of five things you need in your life. Maybe something like: #1, better control of my temper. #2, forgiveness towards folks who’ve hurt me. #3, and etc. Or: #1, the virtue of fill-in-the-blank. #2, etc. Or: #1, the rent money. #2: groceries. #3, a reliable car to get to work. And so on.

The Rosary, like the carpenter’s square and many other things, is limited only by lack of thought. As children of God thoughts will come when we ask, when we’re ready. Help is on the way. Our Carpenter? Well, the building is in good hands.

Published in: on June 17, 2012 at 8:08 am  Comments Off on Our Carpenter’s Square, the Rosary  
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