Why My Rosary?

Rosary

“My” Rosary. This is personal. I want to share a reason why my Rosary is such a precious thing to me. And this is, admittedly, a tad different.

When I was little I had a mild form of epilepsy. The doctor said I’d outgrow it and I did. The “attacks” were very odd. No one but me knew they were happening. Sound and movement changed for me. Sounds were very loud and at the same time muted as though they were far away and stuffed with cotton, and movement was very, very fast and in slow motion both at the same time. All this went on inside me with my seeing and hearing. And even though I outgrew it there was and is a certain kind of “residue” left over from it. Certain types of movements make me a certain type of dizzy. If I get that kind of dizzy for very long I get nauseous. And that can last for hours or, at its worst, days. An example would be this: Someone holds up a piece of paper, maybe something they are trying to call my attention to because they want me to read it, “Hey, look at this letter from Ed I just got! You’ll want to read this!”, and my eyes fix on it, follow it, I get dizzy, and the rest is nausea. I have to avert my eyes at a time like that. Other things trigger it to, like looking up and down at a stationary thing through mu bifocals (got sick for three days once because of that), but I’ve learned to look away or down so it doesn’t really happen very often.

After I became a Benedictine Oblate I tried praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Guess what turning the pages back and forth did? Right, it made me dizzy. I tried different books, prayer books, but nothing I found seemed to work for me. The books were fine but they either made me dizzy with page turning, back and forth, or they were over simplified and boring, or … Well, anyway, I couldn’t find a book that I could use. And the books were fine, they just didn’t work for me. So I went to my confessor and explained everything to him that I just shared with you. What could I do? I mean, I don’t have to have a book to pray but I do, personally, need some structure. It helps me focus, it helps me share with God what I need to share. But I need a little creative space too. Remember that some of those books got boring? I need to have structure with leeway. So, what to do?

My Rosary. It gives me the necessary structure, discipline, and room to let my mind explore. The Mysteries are infinite in depth because they deal with our Infinite God. So my Divine Office is a string of blessed beads. And it works well for me. It’s why I write a daily Rosary devotion here on my blog. Bottom line, its kind of all I know.

Centuries ago the simple peasants that lived near monasteries saw the lives the monks lived, their prayer life in particular, and wanted that sort of spirituality for themselves. But they couldn’t read. For them, saying 150 Hail Mary‘s on their Rosary beads took the place of the 150 Psalms that the monks prayed. It was their prayer-book, their liturgy. They lived close to the monastery, close to God’s good earth, close to God. I consider myself to be in blessed company. I am happily satisfied with My Rosary. I figure the epilepsy and its aftermath is a blessing in disguise.

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Worried? … Monday, July 29

Worried!

“Oh, great. Now what?”Worried!

A Rosary Meditation … The First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. “When she heard him she was troubled at his word … ” Luke 1:29. In this scripture Mary has just been told by the angel Gabriel that she will have a baby. Something like that ought to be good news. Of course, given Mary’s vow of perpetual virginity, we can understand her being troubled. But, setting that fact aside for just a moment, think about it. How many times have we received good news and been worried about it because we either misunderstood or didn’t have all the facts? It’s easy to do, being human and all. But why do we so easily jump to a negative conclusion? Granted we aren’t all natural worriers, but enough of us are, at least part of the time, to make this sort of thing familiar to most if not all of us. So why do we do it? Have we been conditioned by the media to expect the worst? (Yes.) Is it simply a matter of  negative attitude? (Maybe.) Do we subconsciously think we deserve only the short end of the stick? (Possibly.) Maybe a little bit of all these things and several more. Personally I think that the bottom line can be summed up, given all the possibilities and probabilities, in one word. Training. From childhood on we are all more or less trained to expect the worst. And just how often does the worst happen? Well, how many times have I ( and trust me, I was trained by my grandmother who would’ve, had worry been an Olympic event, brought home the gold Olympiad after Olympiad ) thought to myself, “Oh, great, now … “, fill in the blank after that. But Mother Mary, just a little while after having been troubled at the news she had received from Gabriel, gives us the antidote to worry and a troubled mind. “And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” Luke 1:38a. It’s OK to worry a little, God knows we’re human so we may as well admit it too. The point being: After the initial reaction of trouble or worry its time to leave it in His hands and rest in that.

Today …

St. Martha

St. Martha

St. Martha. She might easily be considered the patroness of worriers. Many of us find it easy to identify with Martha in the story Luke tells. Martha welcomes Jesus and His disciples into her home and immediately goes to work to serve them. Hospitality is paramount in the Middle East and Martha believed in its importance. Imagine her frustration when her sister Mary ignores the rule of hospitality and Martha’s work, and all the attendant worries, in order to sit and listen to Jesus. Instead of speaking to her sister, she asks Jesus to intervene. And that’s not a bad place to go with our frustrations and worries.  Jesus’ response is not unkind, which gives us an idea of His affection for her. He observes that Martha is worried about many things that distract her from really being present to Him. He reminds her that there is only one thing that is truly important — being with and listening to Him. And that is what Mary has done. In Martha we see ourselves — worried and distracted by all we have to do in the world and the world itself while forgetting to spend time with Jesus. It is, however, comforting to note that Jesus loved her, despite her worrying, just the same.

Jesus says … “And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit?” Matthew 6:27. So why worry about it?