Friday, January 18, 2008

Why Mary?

Growing up non-Catholic, I used to think of the Rosary as a "ladies prayer," insofar as I had any real understanding of it at all. This was probably from the images on 70's TV where only little old ladies nervously massaging their Rosary beads was a common image of the Catholic Church. I really liked watching Magnum PI, Barnaby Jones and the Rockford Files, but none of those great police dramas probably helped my faith journey all that much.

I don't pray the Rosary enough, that's for sure. I really admire those who do one or more Rosaries every day! When I do pray it I have a wonderful experience so why and how I've NOT put this into my daily routine is a "shameful mystery," so to speak. It's also fodder for another post. I just wanted to share some reflections that have occurred to me during the Rosary, with the understanding that these are only from my little brain (and maybe I hope some guidance by Our Lady and the Holy Spirit!)

Here goes:

The Rosary is for men. Yeah, I know it's for everybody but I'm just making the point that no man should be self-conscious about praying it. Serviam! was kind enough to make me a heavy duty version of a Rosary that I carry EVERYWHERE. What a gift to occassionally just reach into my pocket and touch the metal links or the beads or the Crucifix and get a little strength, serenity or even just joy. (Not a substitute for the Rosary prayer of course but it helps me everyday in this way)

I still remember the first time I really KNEW that this whole "Mary thing" was okay. I had already converted and was definitely in a Rosary Streak, even as the occassional doubt would creep in about Marian devotion. So I was over at the school waiting for some other parishioners to arrive for a meeting and decided on a quick Rosary in the car. During the repetitious "mother of God" phrase it just suddenly hit me that those words really conveyed something more profound than Jesus' descent to earth as a human being. After all, Jesus' human body could very well have been formed from a rock, and at an adult age; or even just popped into existence as an infant that Mary could have found (ala Moses); or any combination that didn't include an actual human birth. But instead, God became man through the physical womb of a woman, and not just some fuzzy anonymous archetype but through the womb of one particular woman, Mary. That's why she is so special; she was chosen and she gave her assent. I often think back to that moment in the car whenever I need to boost up my Marian Quotient. I helps me get back to the fundamental nature of Mary's participation in Salvation.

A related theme that I've been working on and pondering, is the placement of Mary as our intercessor and why SHE is so important when we men need help. Think about it: if I'm praying for my deceased mother, Mary obviously knows the profound relationship between mother and son; my deceased sister and grandmother?-- Mary is blessed among all women, shares a human and now glorified existence with them and can relate to them directly; for reconciliation with my dad, or for myself to become a better father?-- Mary watched Joseph help teach and raise Jesus, and thus witnessed that part of the human family dynamic; priests?-- sure, proxies for Jesus, see first example. Etc. Etc. It just seems like having a human mother to pray to, in addition to our Father and the Son our Savior, gives us an absolutely essential intercessory way to give thanks to, and ask for blessings and help from, God.

Don't know if these thoughts make a whole lot of sense, and maybe I'll keep refining my message for future posts. I do know that the Rosary, although really a walk through Jesus' life, has opened up in my heart a better appreciation and justification for Marian devotion.

Mary, pray for us!

1 comment:

Mike E said...

I to didn't get the hole Rosary and Mary thing - especially when I was on the Catholic bashing band wagon before I found faith. I knew enough to hear a few friends who were not Catholic bash the Chruch, and I jumped on board. Anyway, At a point in my life when conversion started to take place, and I started to discover even the smallest bits of faith, I had a very special friend placed before me from God - who showed me what a real man did. He prayed the Rosary non stop. I didn't know it or even understand it, but a funny thing happened, I began feeling the holy spirit working within me. Right now some members of my wifes faith sharing group began a 32 day devotion to Marry, and although I felt kind of funny doing this with a bunch of ladies, I jumped on board - sure why not. Although many morning I get done with the readings wondering what the point of the reflection was - SAME thing - I have felt closer to Christ. However you sum it up, don't mess with Mary as an intercessor.