Three Beads

Three beads? Just three beads? Someone might ask, “What good are three beads?” And the answer is: “Plenty.”

There are three Hail Mary beads on the pendant of a Rosary. Three opportunities to change a life, perhaps for all eternity.

The First Bead … Offer this Hail Mary up to the Mother of your Lord and ask that she pray for you that you have a deeper FAITH in Jesus. A deeper, stronger faith in Christ will bring with it many things. Faith will bring a trust in the Message delivered to you by Holy Mother Church. Faith will grant you a sincere love for His Mother because you will know that just as you can trust in Him you can also trust in her. Faith in Jesus will give you a confidence that will keep the world and its threats, its worries, at bay.

The Second Bead … Give your Mother Mary this prayer, asking that she pray for you that you be given a secure HOPE in Christ. This hope will guard you well. You’ll trust in Him and be safe from putting to much emphasis on relying on self, others, and material possessions. You won’t put your hope in these things the way the world does, you’ll see them in their proper light, His Light, and so be better able to put them to good use in your life, the uses they were meant for. This is what just one bead can do. Think of the power of three!

The Third Bead … Ask the Blessed Virgin to help you have LOVE in your heart the way Jesus wants you to. This fills in all the holes and cracks that work their way into our lives and makes us leak proof, being proper vessels to carry the Love of God with us to others.

So you see, three beads can get a lot done. And if three beads can help with all of this, well, just think of what the other fifty can accomplish!

Do you have the faith to place your trust in love?

Don’t pray THE Rosary … Pray YOUR Rosary.


Why My 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.

Something to sing about … Wednesday, July 24

Queenship of Mary - Tapestry

Queenship of Mary.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption. “Sing to the Lord a  new song, for He has done wondrous deeds.” Psalm 97:1. Taking a creature and making that creature, that created being, Queen of all creation is a wondrous deed to sing about, isn’t it?

The Saints on Mary’s Queenship:

“No one has access to the Almighty as His mother has; none has merit such as hers. Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks; and herein lies her power. While she defends the Church, neither height nor depth, neither men nor evil spirits, neither great monarchs, nor craft of man, nor popular violence, can avail to harm us; for human life is short, but Mary reigns above, a Queen forever.” ~Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman.

“Just as Mary surpassed in grace all others on earth, so also in heaven is her glory unique. If eye has not seen or ear heard or the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9), who can express what He has prepared for the woman who gave Him birth and who loved Him, as everyone knows, more than anyone else?” ~St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

“She has surpassed the riches of the virgins, the confessors, the martyrs, the apostles, the prophets, the patriarchs, and the angels, for she herself is the first-fruit of the virgins, the mirror of confessors, the rose of martyrs, the ruler of apostles, the oracle of prophets, the daughter of patriarchs, the queen of angels.” ~St. Bonaventure.

Beautiful lyrics, aren’t they?

Today …

St. Kunegunda

St. Kunegunda

St. Kunegunda (1224-1292) was the daughter of King Bela IV and niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. She married King Boleslaus V of Poland at sixteen. On his death in 1279 she became a Poor Clare at the Convent of Sandeck, which she had founded. She also built churches and hospitals, ransomed Christians captured by the Turks, and served the poor and ill. She is also known as St. Kinga. Each of us has our own song to sing praising God for His goodness. Saint Kunegunda sang hers, and these few lines tell us about her tune. When we sing, do we hum or do we shatter glass like a fine opera star? 😉

Sing … “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

A Short Rosary History, with Symbolism … Monday, April 29


A catechism, a psalter, and a net, all in one.

A Rosary Meditation … Something a little different today. Just for a change. 🙂 A little history first. In Europe, hundreds of years ago, and this went on for hundreds of years also, people lived near monasteries. They did this for safety’s sake. There were any number of marauding hoards and invading forces and monasteries, built a lot like forts and built that way for many of the same reasons that a fort is, provided a safe refuge. As an aside, many of these were Benedictine monasteries and the people living in close proximity gave rise to the Benedictine Oblate, people wanting to take part in Benedictine spirituality but not necessarily as a monk living IN the monastery. But back to the people living around all those monasteries. They were religious people and seeing the example of the monks many wanted to take part, in their own way, in the monastic prayer life. This centered around the Psalms, all 150 of them. Many of the people, farmers and craftsmen, were illiterate. They couldn’t read and therefore couldn’t memorize the Psalms. Of course this was also long before the printing press and even if you COULD read that didn’t mean you had ready access to a book. Sure, there were books, hand copied by monks, available at the church, normally chained to a table so as to prevent theft because of their great value, but work was an all day ordeal and necessary for survival, and it was from sun up til sun down. If you could read when would you find the time? But just about anyone can memorize a few short prayers. And the length of a prayer certainly has nothing to do with its depth. So the people memorized things like the Apostles Creed, the Our Father, the Glory Be, and the Hail Mary. When you think about it these few prayers form a rather complete catechism and a kind of Summa Theologica all their own. Mary delivered the Rosary to good St. Dominic with its five decades of 150 Hail Marys. This is why there are 15 Mysteries, so that the Rosary will “line up” so to speak with the Psalms the monks prayed. By the way, the Book of Psalms is composed of five collections, or “books”, of psalms. Just like a five decade Rosary. Things don’t happen by accident in God’s economy. (Now I need to insert a little note because somewhere someone might be wondering, “If there are only 15 Mysteries what do we do with the Luminous Mysteries, because they make twenty and if there’s only supposed to be 15 what do we do now? Not pray the Luminous or what?”, and I wouldn’t want folks to get the wrong idea. The Luminous Mysteries are wonderful, and so are a lot of others I’ve seen. Pray all of ’em. Make up your own. How many Mysteries are there in the Gospel anyway? More than we’ll ever know or understand. But whatever we pray, whether just one Mystery or a thousand lets not forget the original symbolism because it’s a Mystery in itself. And that’s what this post is all about.)   Here is a perfect psalter for the average person. With this the people could take part, in their own way and with their Rosary in hand, in the prayer life of the monastery they lived near. Now a little more history, going further back. One day the Apostles were fishing, and like so many fishermen of their day and ours they weren’t having much luck. (Fishermen always like the rest of us to think that fishing is a skill, and it is, but have you ever noticed how they blame not catching any fish on bad luck when skill doesn’t seem to work? 😉 ) Jesus gave them some instructions to follow and they did. They caught 153 fish, so many that the net was near the breaking point. But it didn’t break and that’s important to remember. The number 153 is significant. The Greeks taught, and just about everybody in Jesus’ day would have known this because Greece had conquered the world and spread their culture and teachings and then, after Rome conquered the Greeks, they took them as their teachers because the Romans weren’t stupid, they recognized culture and smarts when they saw them, anyway, the Greeks taught that there were 153 different tribes of men total. The catch of 153 fish symbolized the universality (Catholicity) of Christ’s saving work amongst mankind. And these Apostles were to be what exactly? Fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19) Now, when you include the pendant on your Rosary, how many Hail Mary’s are there? One hundred and fifty-three. The Rosary is both our Psalter and our prayer net, the one used to bring the catch of souls to the shore where Jesus waits for them. Will it break if the catch is large? No, because He promised that He wouldn’t lose anything His Father had given Him. (John 10:28)

Today, read this … John 21:4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. 9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

And think about this … Matthew 13:47 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes. 48 Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Hail, Mary”

Praying, “off the cuff”, one on one , is wonderful. Pouring out my heart, being filled in return with His Heart. Formulae prayers, those we learn and repeat, are wonderful communications as well. Communication is always a two way street. Or should be. I cringe whenever some one says, “I want to talk to you”. “To” me? Not “with” me? It sounds rather insulting. Is my input not wanted, no response asked for? Oh, well. Formulae prayers, the memorized prayers, can get like that if we let them. Lets not let them. If we truly think about what we say we will, #1: Learn from the prayer (this would/should be God talking with us). And #2: Pray with sincerity and not from rote (this should be/would be us talking with God). Note the primary word here … “with”. Conversation as it should be. True communication. So when I pray a prayer I’ve learned by heart I need to get my heart involved. I need to listen as much, or more, than I speak. And God will speak to me and my heart will be edified along with my mind. And I will be changed. Changed for the better. One prayer I might listen to now is one I say often. The Hail Mary. If I listen, what might I hear?

“Hail, Mary,” … Hello Mother … “full of grace,” … No room for sin … “the Lord is with you.” … If I’m in her company I am in His as well … “Blessed are you among women,” … My mother stands out, she is one of a kind … “and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.” … She is my mother, she is His mother, and I am part of a family like no other … “Holy Mary,” … As mother of Jesus, with the very Word of God inside her, what else could she be? … “Mother of God,” … Jesus is identified for me by her … “pray for us sinners,” … Tells me my ranking in the family so that I don’t get confused, get proud, get ahead of myself, get ahead of you who are also a family member … “now and at the hour of our death.” … I ask for her prayers, for both me and you, now (and its always now) and when we die (because its all settled then and latter would be to late) … “Amen.” … Amen. I said it, I meant it, let it be this way.

I hear these things now. If I keep listening I bet I’ll hear more later.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm  Comments Off on “Hail, Mary”  
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