Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Monday, October 7, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our first reading is from the Book of Jonah, a drama with which we are all familiar. Because of the fantastical nature of the tale, we may tend to read it simply on the level of allegory – the way we might read Aesop’s fables. But there is much spiritual depth to be found in this well-known story.
As I pray with the Jonah passages for these three days, I am using an article by Walter Bruggemann to inform my prayer.
Since today is the feast of the Holy Rosary, a prayer which has blessed the Church for centuries, Bruggemann’s consideration of Jonah’s prayer caught my attention:
The complexity of (Jonah’s) prayer is reflective of the complexity of all prayer. Prayer purports to be single-minded in its communication with Yahweh. Everyone who prays is complex, given to deception, distortion, and willfulness; our prayers are most often thick with mixed motives, distortions, and exhibits, even if only to the self. There are “saints” who are more mature and more disciplined than this in their prayer. But evidently Jonah is not among those mature, disciplined saints. For that reason his compromising and manipulative maneuvers are highly visible in the prayer. We may spot such maneuvers in his prayer and be driven to reflect on our own acts of seduction in prayer whereby we deceive ourselves, even if God is not deceived.
The Rosary, intended as a contemplation not a recitation, allows us the silence and time to sort out the complexities of our own prayer. It is a prayer not to be rushed. Praying it well requires us to lay aside our busy existence and excuses, and to place ourselves in the stillness of Divine Transparency.
The Rosary invites us to enter more deeply into the truth of Christ’s life, but also into our own. Seen in the light of Mary’s and Jesus’s lives, what is our own life teaching us?
So many of us have a Rosary in our drawer or purse that we haven’t touched for a while. Many of these beads were given to us by, or belonged to, someone who loved us – who wished us the blessings that come from its devotion. Perhaps we might like to rekindle our love for the Rosary today while remembering that beloved person. In the drawer beside my bed, my Dad’s well worn rosary is waiting for me.
Music: Ave Maria – Bach, sung by Jessye Norman