Posted on October 12, 2017
I grew up in the Catholic Church … it’s a part of my heritage that goes back several generations. To make a LONG story short, I walked away from the Catholic Church shortly after high school and I think I explored most other Christian churches in the 30 years that followed before walking away from the church about 8 years ago. I was tired of the hypocrisy and hatred/condemnation that was spewed from the pulpits rather than the love, compassion, and forgiveness which is the story of the Bible. I walked away from the church, but I didn’t walk away from God. I am deeply spiritual and it was important for me to maintain a connection with the Creator and have reverence for the earth (all life).
When my mom passed from this earth plane in 2004, I received a rosary that was in her jewelry box. It was made of rosewood beads and had never been used. I think it might have even been a gift from my dad’s mom who had passed decades earlier. For several years, it sat in my jewelry box, too. I noticed it one day and felt a little nudge to place it on my home altar … a place which also honors my ancestors.
The past few weeks, I’ve felt called to return to the Catholic Church. I even went and talked to the priest at my dad’s church. You see, my practices of natural health care and honoring nature (in addition to being an intuitive) got women banished from the church not so long ago (centuries ago, we were burned at the stake). There was a lot more to my query, but that’s another story. I decided to go to mass the other day for the first time in many, many years.
As a visitor, I was given a small package with some “welcome” tokens. One was a rosary and a pamphlet about why one should regularly pray the rosary. I read through it and was drawn to pick up my rosewood beads … but not in the traditional sense.
I did some quick (and I do mean quick) research on the history of the rosary (for Catholics and other Christians) as well as prayer beads in general. The rosary is a form of meditation and connecting with God. Moving from bead to bead helps provide focus and creates a “time” with a beginning and an end. I wanted to personalize my “time” to make it more meaningful.
Rather than rote prayers, I open with a humble request to be shown what I need to know for “today” to better serve. I then ask to receive from Spirit the information and wisdom I need as I go about my day … I seek to better understand the five elements as used in the mass (air/breath, fire/transformation, water/cleansing, earth/nourishing, spirit/unity). When I pray the decades, each group is an affirmation for my personal spiritual growth … what I am working on at this time. I have been using affirmations in this way for quite some time (usually a month at a time) and simply do them as part of the rosary now whereas they used to just be a part of my morning routine. This allows my Rosary to be completely personal and more meaningful for me.
I discovered many others are using a similar, more personal approach to the Rosary. I also discovered that there are Protestant Rosaries and that Prayer Beads are a part of many religions. And I’ll likely be doing some in-depth research on the rosary which will nourish my inner geek and allow me to better understand this form of prayer. Please share your experiences, observations, and thoughts.