This magnificent image from Thomas Mainardi was shared on Fr. James Martin’s Instagram feed. It’s one of the most powerful depictions of the Mary I have ever seen. I carry a rosary with me everyday and pray it frequently. Maybe it’s all the heartache and crisis of this year. Maybe it’s because in the middle of this pandemic we had our own Madonna born in August. A beautiful granddaughter born amidst all the tumult and chaos of this year. In all the darkness there has been incredible light
His mercy is from generation unto generations to them that fear Him.He has showed might in His arm: He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.He has cast down the mighty from their seat, and has exalted the humble.He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
I woke this morning to a tweet from Christopher White who shared that National Catholic Reporter had named President – elect Joe Biden as Newsmaker of the year.
Joe Biden has been an inspiration for me. He was slow and steady in this race. He was unflappable in a day and time when the country was in panic mode. His election has been a lodestar for democracy. Sixty-percent of Americans approve of the job he’s doing as President-Elect. Despite little cooperation from Republicans and intransigence from the White House he remains calm. That inner calm comes from the practice of his faith which includes a daily meditation of the rosary. May God bless Joe Biden as he tries to mend the fabric of our broken country.
I have been praying the Franciscan Crown Rosary almost everyday since the quarantine began. I have not missed a day in the month of May trying my best to follow the example of Pope Francis. I use a five decade rosary which is the one most folks are familiar with and then after the fifth decade I go back and pray the last two decades again. This brings me to a total of seven decades. There have been days and times when I have questioned the effectiveness of my prayers and whether there were any results.
Today I received some good news about our family and I knew immediately that my prayers are being answered. I gave thanks for the good news and tomorrow when I’m walking I’ll be praying the Franciscan Crown again. Hail Mary is a metaphor for a desperate pass to win a game. I don’t know how that came to be but I do believe that Mary does intercede for us.
One of the reasons I like the Franciscan Crown is that it’s easier for me to remember the mysteries that I’m supposed to meditate on. Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Visit of the Magi, finding Jesus in the Temple, the appearance to Mary after the Resurrection and the Assumption.
I can’t remember the Pope’s prayers each day so I substitute my own. Each day my prayer focus changes and I continue pray for leadership in this pandemic and for the people and patients on the front lines.
One of my friends read yesterday’s “Morning Thoughts” post and didn’t scold me for not having faith but instead said he was praying to help his unbelief. Questioning the existence of God is part of an mature relationship with a power greater than myself. A careful reading of the bible provides numerous cases where prophets despaired and called God out. My friend said he was following the example of Pope Francis and was praying the rosary every day in the month of May. I’ve been doing that too, but God wasn’t answering my prayers with the speed and accuracy I had been hoping for. God never does. One of my favorite biblical writers is David and throughout the psalms David battles with God. Jonah ran away and Job battled despair and depression.
“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?”
Sharing your despair with others is actually the secret to emotional and spiritual maturity. We’re as sick as our secrets. Finding someone we can confide in and share our pain is the touchstone of progress. Do I see God in the sunshine, flowers, trees and the life that surrounds me? Yes, I do. Will I continue to pray the rosary even though I don’t see any results? Yes, because when I’m praying I’m not overthinking. Enjoy your day.
During Lent I began a process of trying to remove toxicity from my life. Lent is always a time of new beginnings and since I don’t like giving up Chocolate and other goodies, I thought how can I get more positivity in my life. Since the election last year I had become pre-occupied with politics and the changes happening in our country and though I tried to be loving and accepting it wasn’t happening by merely trying to think nice thoughts. There is a wisdom tradition that states that if you pray for the person or persons with whom you are at odds that you will come to love and accept them and you will be free of the resentment that you have. So I began to pray the rosary each day during Lent and one day I realized that I didn’t feel resentful anymore and though my own policy preferences for the country were different than some of my friends I had lost the toxicity. What began as an experiment has become a daily prayer time in the car or walking down the street. Until now I’ve not been a rosary prayer but I have found in it’s rhythm and intention a quiet peace that has overtaken my life and I’m grateful for that. I’ve also rediscovered the creativity that I had lost. I’m not sure how long I’m committed to this practice but I’m here to say that it worked for me and maybe it can work for others too. Peace be with you.