Thursday, January 31, 2008

Then the Rosary Beads, Count Them 1-2-3...

Please excuse the ramblingness of this post; I'm tired.

I drove from Williamsburg to Roanoke and back today, and on the way I did two things of note: prayed the Rosary twice and did some thinking on Hobbes, Locke, Marx, the Fall of Man, the Labor Theory of Value, and economics. The latter was very deep (or seemed so at the time), and I may write about it later, although I'm still sorting it out.

As for the Rosary, the first one was said for the intentions of a friend of mine and the second for the petition of the Traditional Anglican Communion for union with Rome (I'm new to this, so hopefully these were both proper subjects). I've seen it recommended before as a good, useful, and edifying way to pass the time while driving, and there's a lot of merit to that. I'll confess that I have a tendency to get impatient and wonder how many beads are left in the decade I'm on, although I seem to be getting better at it as I become more familiar with things. Getting familiar is also a gradual process: unless I have a guide before me, I tend to slip into the Nicene Creed rather than the Apostles Creed, and in either case to use the Anglican version of it (the only differences are in word choice, not in substance). I also tend to forget how the Fatima Prayer goes; I called a friend to ask her while I was on the road and she told me she didn't normally pray the Rosary and couldn't remember (I think she felt bad, which made me feel bad, as it was for her intentions that I was praying).

The Rosary is one of those things which is (or at least seems to be) completely meaningless if not done in sincerity and contemplation. The Lord's Prayer is the same way. Why am I asking Mary for intercession instead of going straight to Jesus? Apparently it's a compliment to Jesus to pay respect to His mother and ask her to ask Him, which I suppose makes sense (the Fatima Prayer helps smooth this in my head, as it's directly addressed to Christ Himself, meaning that I'm not neglecting Him). The Glory Be is a prayer that I've always liked, probably because it's a short and succinct statement of unfathomable depth. I actually use the Lord's Prayer as a way to submit, as I think "Forever and Ever" is much preferable to "Now and Forever," but then it's not one billion Catholics knocking at my door.

It also helps for me to have a bit of a visual. Virginia highways tend to be bordered by trees, leaving a narrow bit of horizon straight in front of me. It's just the right shape to permit me to imagine a truly giant image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, although in my head it's got much brighter colors and is more realistic. As for visuals, I had bought a glow-in-the-dark Rosary for use in the car, as my long trips tend to be at night. Tragically (and I fully expect some playwright to pen a work on this), the beads only stay glowing for a few minutes, leading to me, who doesn't have a ton of manual dexterity to start with, trying to steer with one hand while blindly advancing beads with the other. It's a hard-knock life.

The one problem I have is the "Hail, Holy Queen" at the end. I don't say it. Maybe it's just a defect from Anglicanism and Evangelicalism, but it just seems beyond the Pale. The Hail Mary I get, but the Salve Regina just seems to take things too far.

I'm also thinking of replacing the "Holy Mary, Mother of God" with "Our Lady of Walsingham" when praying a Rosary for TAC union with Rome; is this permissible?


Catholic Mom said...

Please relax about what is permissible! The Rosary is a private devotion. There are no hard and fast "rules", just customs. You can offer it for any petition. You are not offering your petition to Mary, but rather asking her to pray along with you. So it is not like you are bypassing Jesus. Mary knows Jesus like no other human. She is the perfect disciple as well as the Mother of God. Therefore, we turn to her and ask her in her maternal loving way, to show us the fruit of her womb, Jesus. Another concept to meditate on is that the Hail Mary calls to mind the Annunciation where Mary said, "Fiat!" She gave an unconditional "yes" to whatever plan God had in store. By meditating on this perfect obedience 10 times (10 Hail Mary's) we are more ready to mean it when we say "Thy will be done" in the Our Father. The Catholic Church has hundreds and hundreds of wonderful devotions. You will find different ones speak to you at different times of your life. The Rosary is probably the most universal, but none of these are required to be Catholic. All devotions should point you to Christ.

God Bless You on your spiritual journey.

TS said...

Re:(I'm new to this, so hopefully these were both proper subjects).

Very proper indeed!

The difficulty is not so much getting the prayers right as concentrating on the mystery, putting yourself in that scene. That is more difficult while driving, though that's when I tend to say the rosary too. (John Paul II said that saying the rosary without meditating on the mysteries is like a body without a soul.)

Peggy Noonan wrote about the rosary here.

HokiePundit said...

Thanks for the comments. I definitely agree that the mysteries make much more of the Rosary, and I like the "Scriptural Rosary" booklet which includes a verse for each mystery when I'm able to pray at home.

I think saying a Rosary a day for someone will be the "positive" thing I do during Lent (the "negative" being giving up meat). We'll see how it goes.

Mike Bradley said...

When I was at Tech I used to pray the rosary also when I would drive from Blacksburg to Roanoke (where my parents lived), and also thought of Our Lady of Guadalupe when I saw the blue skies along 460. As per Catholic Mom, don't sweat the details. If memory serves, the Rosary sort of developed as a way for the laity to substitute an easy to memorize prayer for the 150 psalms that priests and Religious recited in the Liturgy of the Hours. Therefore I believe the basics are the Pater Nosters, Aves, and Glorias. The Fatima prayer is obviously a 20th century addition. The beginning Apostle's Creed, Pater Noster, 3 Aves, Gloria, and final Salve Regina were also later additions. In fact I used to belong to a Dominican parish and on Fridays in lent, rather than the Stations of the Cross, they did the Office of Readings and the Rosary without the beginning prayers and final Salve Regina.
I also enjoy scriptural rosaries. One in particular is From Genesis to Revelation: Seven Scriptural Rosaries by Christine Haapala.I also like The Rosary with Fra Angelico and Giotto which in every Hail Mary adds a phrase to the name of Jesus which recalls the mystery being recited. Another devotion that I like while driving is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which is even easier to recite.

TS said...

Unrelated, but this first track from "Casualties of Retail" is just fabulous. (I've got the CD player on "track repeat" now.)The CD has some weak songs but on balance it's better than a lot of Irish cd's and I'm glad I bought it.

HokiePundit said...


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