Slowly I came to realize that I could--and should--ask Mary to pray with me,just as I would ask any of my friends in the here and now. Learning to trust the acquired wisdom of the Church can be difficult when, as Kelly says, it is so simple and so direct and so "old fashioned." But the rosary--and the faith it helps develop--has helped many a Saint in times of trouble. Simple the rosary may be--but it is also powerful. Catholics today would find great benefit in embracing it again as their families did in the past, in an act of simple, clear, devotion. After all, does not Christ honor such simple and direct faith? And did He not give His mother to us? What is more natural than a child--even an older one l with grown children of his own--wanting to talk to his mother?
Even without a great deal of aversion to the rosary--and an instinctive attraction to it (something restful about those beads...), I found it hard to embrace the practice It somehow seemed like "putting on airs." Praying the rosary is, after all, elective. No need to get too Catholic about all this.....
But there is. It's just not possible, in my opinion, to fully understand the Christian faith, and enter into its practice in the Catholic Church without coming to grips with the importance and relevance of Mary. I found myself finding Mary everywhere I turned as I read more and more about my newfound faith, and whenever I found her, she pointed squarely to Jesus.
It ought not be a great surprise. God chose Mary to bring forth His son and to present Him to the world. Why on earth would that role stop?
It was interesting to me to read the Marian litany and realize all the titles that are given Mary (and that Protestants object to) make sense when you see her in relationship to Christ. (see: http://www.wf-f.org/LitanyBVM.html)
Mother of God--well, mother of Christ who is God, so--yes. Mother of Good Counsel? Christ is the definitive Good Counsel, she is His mother, so--yes. Mother of Divine Grace? Well, Christ is Divine Grace, so ---yes. Morning Star (which points us to our destination); Ark of the Covenant (which contained the tablets of the Law, the Manna from the desert and the priestly rod of Aaron--all foreshadowing Christ); Mother most Amiable (who said yes to god)...the list goes on and on, each one revealing a little more about Mary and thus a little more about us and our relationship to her Son.
So, I undertook to learn the rosary. It wasn't easy, and I really came to realize how much of myself prayer is intended to involve: my physical being, in voice and beads, and my mind at all levels, in trying to remember unfamiliar words and mysteries, meditate on them and still make intercessions. Had it not been for the gift of a CD, I'd never have made it.
I persevered. I came to love the devotion and the time with my mother and His, in which we just--talk. Like mother and daughter. Sometimes like two mothers. Sometimes like sisters. But always knowing that she will listen, and take my poor words, tidy them up, and as she did in Cana, simply present them to Him in expectation that He will do what is needed. And I hear her say likewise to me, "Do whatever He tells you."
In public recitation, it's given that only the traditional 20 mysteries are used. But I have found that I can meditate on the Gospel in different ways, using Mary's eyes, depending on my need. I have a list of miracles for the days when I am feeling disconnected from the power of God. A list of healings when praying for sick friends. A list of temptations for those days that threaten to derail me. A list of incidents with St. Peter when I am overwhelmed by my own ineptitude. A list that reminds me of the call to holiness, when I lose sight of my center. I pray mostly in English but have learned to pray in Latin and Spanish as well, finding that the ease of the foreign words on my tongue helps remind me of the mystery of God and frees me to meditate without the words getting in the way. And some days, I just remember the few recorded words of Mary and like her, ponder it all in my heart.
When I came into the Church, I could not imagine my life with the rosary, so foreign it seemed. Now, I cannot imagine my life without it, so much a part of my days it has become
In His Service, and under Mary's loving gaze---Martha.