Venerable beads: Weekly Message for 10-05-16

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

An endearing trait of the Catholic faith is the ubiquity of symbols and sacramentals that seem popular in every age.

Among them is the rosary, a prayer much identified with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Rosaries themselves tend to be very personal items. Styles often match personalities. Grandmoms and moms seem to favor delicate rosaries with crystal beads and shiny metal and light colors. Granddads and dads tend to favor somber shades, with leaner trimmings.

Oddly enough, one gets the sense that the fanciest rosaries, such as those using diamond-shaped glass, thick chains and outsized crucifixes, don’t get the most use. The ones that seem to be used the most are the ones with simpler designs – those with smooth, oblong-shaped beads that glide gently through the fingers.

Rosaries send signals at different levels. Even when they just hang from a rearview mirror, they let the world know that somebody nearby is Catholic, at least to some degree.

But rosaries have a communal dimension, too. They can help us identify with the piety of past generations. Parents and grandparents who went through wars and economic depressions might have taken up the rosary often for consolation and strength.

In that sense the rosary is every bit as relevant and powerful today. What else can we do in the face of so many problems in the world, but pray? And who better to have intercede for us before Jesus, but his Mother?

To help mark this month so much identified with the rosary, RC Spirituality is offering a retreat guide “River of Wisdom.

Think of it as a fitting way to give the beads their due.

God bless,

Father Edward McIlmail, L.C.
Ask a Priest contributor

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