I keep a statue of Mary nestled in the “V” of my cherry tree branches. During the summer, she is barely visible, but come October, when the leaves begin to drop, her hiding place is suddenly revealed. Each year I think I should bring her in, but I forget and she remains there through the dark days of winter until she disappears in cherry blossom petals and spring growth once again.
My relationship to the devotional practices of the Faith is much like my relationship with my Mary statue. I go long stretches without thinking about the Office of Readings or the Stations and then something happens, the seasons change and I am reminded once again that the sacramentals of our Church carry deep meaning.
This time of year,the sacramental that comes to mind the Rosary. (And not just because I can see Mary outside my kitchen window.)
While some people pray the Rosary regularly, I don’t. I recall reading once that St. Thérèse of Lisieux didn’t really enjoy saying that particular prayer and I immediately related. If I’m not careful, I find myself reciting, “Hail Mary, full of grace, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen” which is, practically speaking, a much faster way to get through the decades. I also have to admit that while I’m intellectually in favor of the new Luminous Mysteries, I’m just old enough so that I never think to pray them because the pattern of Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious is so deeply ingrained.
While I’m making admissions, I should also admit that my faith is fragile at times. Sometimes, drunk on theology, I walk a wavering line between doubt and disbelief. If Sue Monk Kidd hadn’t already used it, I would appropriate the title, “Dance of the Dissident Daughter” as my own.
However, this time of year, I open the drawer to my nightstand and pull out the worn blue beads I got at my First Communion and recite the prayer one more time, not pondering the deep theological questions, but thinking of a young pregnant girl, a new mom, a grieving mother and finally a peaceful matriarch. At that moment at least, because of the one we call “full of grace,” I am at peace with my confidence in the Ineffable Mystery of the Divine that entered into our world 2000 years ago and remains in it even unto today.
As we enter into this incredibly busy season, both in our parishes and the world at large, may that peace be part of each of our lives…even if it is just for as long as it takes to say a rosary.