I think what ever you reach for in a time of crisis is something you hold dear. When I finally made it from Manhattan to my house in New Jersey on September 11, 2001, the first thing I did was to grab my rosary, even though I hadn’t actually prayed it in years. Honestly, I am still not a great Rosary-sayer today, but that was the moment the prayer came back into my life. I still reach out for my rosary today in times of need, times of meditation or times when I don’t know what else to do. Catholic moms, who among us has not reached for the beads once in awhile in the car line? October is the month of the Rosary and it’s a good time to reconnect with the Holy Mother.
I don’t know why I stayed away from the Rosary for so long. The sisters at my Catholic elementary school actually did a great job teaching me the Rosary and instilling reverence in me for Our Lady. In my mind, it seems like we saw a film strip on Fatima about every week and made enough plastic rosaries for missions to violate child labor laws. By high school, I was ready to rebel a little against my faith. I am sure Mother Mary didn’t take it personally. Most moms understand snotty teenagers.
My own mother used to always try and provide positive role models for me in my teen years by recounting stories about the two perfect daughters of one of her perfect friends. This method backfired, as these things so often do. The girls were about four years older than I was, and while I liked them personally, they appeared to be unparalleled in school, athletics and the faith. Ugh. In one inspirational tale, my mom’s friend was visiting her daughter in college. The girl had to get up early for class (of course) and hadn’t made her bed (ha!) so the mom went to spread it up for her and – lo, and behold, her daughter’s rosary fell out of the sheets! “Wasn’t that wonderful?,” mom said, “She fell asleep praying the Rosary.” I think I promptly went to my room, gathered every rosary I possessed and locked them away in my jewelry box until 2001.
Now, we have the added pressure of everyone insisting we pray the Rosary as a family. I remember the two of us discussing that we never did this growing up. My mom was in her eighties before we ever said a Rosary together. I have a bunch of rosaries we keep in the kitchen (because why not put more pressure on mealtimes?) and we do make the odd Rosary attempt, usually in Advent or Lent. I haven’t cracked the code with my kids yet. I mean, we even have Lego rosaries, come on! I think I just need to come up with the variation that works for us. Part of it is attention span. YouTube and video games are not excuses but they haven’t done us any favors, here, either. I am not too worried, though. We’ll get there. As important is is for us to try and pray as a family, I think is is just as important that they see me praying the Rosary and know it is part of who we are.
Plus, there are so many types of rosaries! You can get beads in all sorts of configurations, from special wedding rosaries, to ring rosaries.There are all manner of prayers that can be prayed on rosaries. There are devotional Rosaries, intentional Rosaries, scriptural Rosaries and chaplets. You can shorten a Rosary, lengthen it into a 9-day novena — the possibilities are almost endless. You know, your mother doesn’t care as much about the length of your call or what you talk about as she cares about the fact that you reached out to her in the first place.
So why do I like to pray the Rosary now? I like talking to my Mother. Now that my own mom is slipping away, my reliance on Mary has grown. It keeps me calm, acts a security blanket and reminds me of who I am. It also really freaks out the TSA and other airport security personnel going through your bag, especially if you have one with a nice, big crucifix on it. Win-win.
So, this month, go ahead – call your Mother! She wants to hear from you.
Hey, readers? Do you have a favorite Rosary app or way to pray the rosary? Share it with us in the comment section. You could win a rosary!