October is the month of the Holy Rosary. Last October, I shared several rosary stories at Sarah Reinhard’s blog. This year, I’ll share them here. The first story is below:
“When lovers are together, they spend hours and hours repeating the same thing: I love you! What is missing in the people who think the Rosary monotonous, is Love.” Sister Lucia of Fatima
I have been a Catholic for my entire life, but it is only in the last 26 or so years that I have had a devotion to the Holy Rosary. I attended Catholic schools until seventh grade. As a teenager, I would have identified myself as Catholic, but between television and secular influences, I didn’t totally embrace my faith until after I was married. This was only because my husband insisted that we not use contraception during our marriage.
As we dialogued back and forth in those few months before our wedding day, I didn’t know or understand why the Church taught that married couples shouldn’t use contraception to avoid pregnancy. In fact, I remember thinking that the Church just ought to come out of the Dark Ages and get more in line with the modern world.
In the end, I decided to trust my husband (and the Church). In the next year, we read Humanae Vitae, as well as other church documents, and I became fully convinced that the Church was indeed speaking the truth when she declared that contraception was a grave sin. Before we were married, we learned Natural Family Planning and we are now a CCL NFP Teaching Couple Specialist (and have been teaching NFP for 27 years).
During that first year of our marriage, a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to our door. My husband and I welcomed them and dialogued with them. Most of their questions centered on Mary: “Why do Catholics worship Mary?” “Why do you say such a monotonous repetitive prayer?” “Why is Mary so important to Catholics?” First, we gently explained to them that Catholics don’t worship Mary; we honor her. As for the other questions, I realized that I didn’t really know the answers, so I did some research.
To the question “Why is Mary so important to Catholics,” what I found out could probably fill an entire book. However, my own thumbnail answer is this: Jesus honored his mother. We, as Catholics, are called imitate Christ. He honored his mother and we should do the same. Also, as Jesus hung on the cross, He gave his mother to the whole world when He said to John, “Behold your mother.”
Mary is indeed our mother and, as our mother, she desires us to be closer to her Son. The rosary is the ideal way for us to become closer to Him, because as we say the repetitive prayers (with love), we are meditating on His life.
I have found that saying the rosary has brought me closer to my husband and to Christ. Even after 29 years of marriage, we continue to say “I love you,” just as we continue to say the rosary together, with love.
Text and rosary photo copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach
Sky photo copyright Josh Hrkach