with beads

While prayer beads were used before Christ in Judaism and after Christ in Islam, it’s the prayer beads of the Rosary which focus on the life of Jesus that I am most familiar with.

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and a chance to savour the beauty of this prayer-with-beads which gives us time to focus on central mysteries of the life of Christ while meditatively using as a mantra Hail Marys and Our Fathers.

I learnt this prayer from my grandparents. Every night (often during the ads in a tv program) they would move from their comfortable lounge chairs to kneel facing the back of the chair with elbows in the seat and away they would go: “I believe in God…”

There was never a “shall we pray the Rosary now?” It just seemed to happen.

I remember too running up the paddock to catch grandad walking with shepherd’s crook shifting the sheep. He would often have the beads in one hand, thumbing his way through the mysteries.

Then on other days I would take him his lunch while he was working the hill paddock driving the D2 and notice that in the midst of the noise and the dust he was praying the Rosary.

So I started to pray it too, to the stage where I could do it completely by heart including the naming of the mysteries. When I say “by heart” that is exactly what it was. As I mumbled Hail Marys my heart was at the birth of Jesus or with him as he carried his cross.

And then there were many other times when I got to the end of a decade or even through the five decades and realised that my mind had been all over the place the entire time.

But it never worried me. I have grown to love the mind-wandering knowing that as I day-dreamed my way through the decades, my thumbs were doing the praying for me and my heart was driving prayer as a sub-conscious desire for God.

I know some families who have decided to pray the Rosary together like their grandparents did. They speak of immediate rewards.

Try it.

If you need Rosary Beads to get you started just let me know and I will send them free of charge.  No problem if you need a dozen sets for a class group or family, (as long as you promise to use them!) just let me know. john@fff.org.nz


3 Responses to "with beads"
  1. Lovely to read your story, Father. My Mum always encouraged us to pray the Rosary when we couldn’t get to sleep. She assured us that if we fell asleep before the end that the Angel’s would finish it for us! Still using this method of getting to sleep at age 73! I trust the Angel’s to be on the job!

  2. Maybe we all have wandering minds when praying the Rosary. I think of myself as a tree. The upper branches can be full of chattering birds, but at the same time there is awareness of roots deep in the earth of prayer. . In Judaism, God is masculine and all the ways God’s spirit works with incarnation, are feminine. Learning this has given me deeper understanding of he effectiveness of prayng the Rosary.

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