I recently purchased a purple rosary from a fellow CF Mom, purple being the “awareness color” for cystic fibrosis. Its centerpiece is a rose on one side with a tiny image of Mary and Bernadette at Lourdes on the other. Roses are a special symbol for CF (“cystic fibrosis” sounds like “sixty-five roses”). Not much about CF makes me cry anymore; I’ve steeled myself because I’ve had to grit my teeth and hand over my children too many times. I don’t get too excited over stories of healing or sainthood or miracles. But when I opened my package from Maine and the shiny purple beads fell into my lap, I fought tears and swallowed hope.
I read about the rosary; I love the idea of the rosary; I agree with the wonderfulness of the rosary; I just don’t actually do it. But I want to.
I want to sit with Mary and have her point to pictures in the photo album, “Here’s when I visited Elizabeth and her John leaped; here’s when He was born and the shepherds came; here He is telling stories of God’s kingdom…” I want to hold her hand as she remembers with me His crucifixion. I want to smile with her as she is reunited with her Son in heaven.
I understand that my body reflects my soul and that as my body absorbs the rhythmic motion within a set structure of sweet words, my soul can imagine, contemplate, and learn the great stories of our Lord. I understand that using such a sacramental is not a good luck charm but can help me focus my attention and inspire me to greater devotion. My soul can be brought closer to Jesus and in turn, my body can do better things.
The ex-protestant in me sees that it is not the repetition that is condemned by Jesus but the vanity (Matthew 6:7), that He Himself repeated prayers (Matthew 26:36-46), told His followers to pray in a certain way (Matthew 6:9-13), told a parable about persistence in prayer (Luke 18:1-8), and that the angels in heaven repeat prayers (Revelation 4:8). I see that the first half of the Hail Mary is Gabriel’s and Elizabeth’s words and that the second half reflects theology handed to us in the first few centuries of Christianity (“Mother of God” was defined and approved at the council of Ephesus in AD 431 in response to the roiling Nestorian heresy that Jesus was not fully God and fully human.).
And so I shall begin. I ask you, my Sistas that pray rosaries, to think of me when you pray your own- just one thought for this little child as I try something new in my walk with Christ, sitting with His mother, remembering Him and praying for my children with my new purple-rosed rosary.
Allison is a 40-something mother of seven, living in Alaska, accepted into the Church (together with her husband, thank God) in 2004. She spends her days homeschooling and packaging meat that her menfolk hunt and bring home. She cannot garden to save her life but picks wild blueberries like a champ. She has been published in an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and keeps a blog at www.northerncffamily.blogspot.com, writing about living out the Faith with children with cystic fibrosis.