Teresa Pitt Green, Founder
I carried rosary beads for years after I stopped praying them. I carried rosary beads even after I made it clear to God we were no longer on speaking terms. Here’s my simple case for why you should too.
In therapy, we all face how portions of our young lives were buried in a shroud of lies. Words, once twisted in youth, lose a lifetime of credibility. It was going to take time before words could bring God into my heart. That affects praying, or it did for me because I still thought prayer required words.
And, I made matters worse by perpetrating my own stubborn lies like “I don’t need help” or “I can figure this out.” Or, the best and most common lie, “I’m fine.”
Twisted words beget twisted reasoning. So, there I was on my own with everything figured out and ready to explain how with … a lot of words.
Fortunately, I still had rosaries tucked in my pocket. I might not be able to step into a church and sit still, but I could fiddle with beads in my hand while riding a crowded subway. And, I clutched them in times of trouble, especially during a decade-long marathon of specialist appointments and procedures and surgeries to diagnose and then to treat one (benign) brain tumor and then, years later, another. I held my rosaries at night when the pain was so great there were no words left. There I was, wordless in my raw need.
Finally, I was getting to the truth of the matter.
But I was still clutching rosaries. The connection circumvented all my artful and twisted words and all the perfectly reasonable messed-up thinking my artful and twisted words expressed.
There was an antidote. It was in my hand, an unbroken chant of the prayer ebbing and flowing all around the globe. It was a connection in my isolation. Unable to speak boldly in a faith of my own, I could draw on a collective prayer by strangers whose faith I desperately needed to borrow.
Evangelical friends insisted the rosary replaced God with Mary. Their caution challenged me. Why did I have these beads in my pocket? It was time to move beyond habit.
I explained the rosary was like gazing on the moon to see the sun. God is reflected in the mysteries of the rosary with a very gentle light, especially helpful to those whose eyes are burning in dark pain. They rolled their eyes. I finally saw my practice as one of the sanest things I could do.
The rosary was not comfortable. It was, indeed, an affront to many reasons I had not to pray with the abandon of a child. My reason told me children are not safe. I had been abandoned already; why abandon myself? My reason rejected being child-like; I became my own bad parent, breaking my own spirit, dismissing the rosary as childish.
But, Mary is a patient mother. In time, the rosary reshaped this wounded thinking and freed the child victim deep within long before I resumed praying its prayers.
So, just consider it.
What have you got to lose?
Now may be the perfect time to tuck a rosary in your pocket. No words needed. You may at some point someday say one Hail Mary, or more. For now you may find comfort having rosary beads in your pocket as an alternative to your mobile phone. Only the rosary will connect you in a tactile way to the global chant which includes the rosary I pray daily.
greatest gift of the rosary in my life is how it made me brave enough to believe that, with faith, words are secondary; what matters is the longing of the heart.
This article was first published in the May 2017 issue, which may be seen in full here.