Clickety Clack went the beads

Our Lent Course this year has been on aspects of prayer. Malcolm Goldsmith produced a wonderful wee book some time ago which looked at spirituality and Myers Briggs called Knowing Me Knowing God. It was a revelation to me. I learned that ENFJs like praying with other people and that they may struggle with silence. So this Lent Course I have tried to show different ways to pray. We started off with Icons and Art, then praying with Scripture, and last night it was Praying with the Rosary.

In the group of about 20 people only one person had actually prayed the Rosary and that was when he was about 15 (some considerable time ago, I don’t think he’d mind me saying.) For the rest it was a new experience and for some a long awaited one. “I’ve been waiting for someone to teach me for years.” Fortunately I have a wide range of rosaries in many styles and colours from the sublime to the ridiculous. Everyone came to choose one and that was interesting… who went for the modest string rosary and who was attracted by the shiny sparkly purple ones?  I remember mocking the cheap pink plastic ones once in front of Marcella Althaus Reid, my Liberation Theology lecturer, and she went ballistic. “Do you know how precious these can be to someone who has no money? How treasured to have a plastic rosary instead of using your fingers! To some people these plastic ones are the most valuable possession, more cared for and more used than your silver or gold ones!” And don’t dare mock the glow-in-the-dark ones to the local Prison Chaplain for he hands them out by the bucket load to those prisoners who find comfort in them when the lights are put out at night and you find yourself alone in your cell.

So we started to pray the Rosary. We started off looking up at the large flip-chart sheets on the wall with the words, we stumbled over saying it in unison, but within just a few beads we were together. The rhythm was set, our eyes closed, clickety clack went the beads, and the chatter in our minds settled as we focused on the Rosary prayers. It happened so quickly I was quite amazed. Our breathing was in sync and for just a moment this group of 20 were one. It was just glorious.

And if ever I was tempted into getting a tattoo, this might be the one for me!

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10 thoughts on “Clickety Clack went the beads

  1. How fascinating. I’m not a huge fan of the rosary (though I might well hold beads), but I’ve never tried doing it aloud in a group. Another one for the tool box…

    And that’s a helpful telling of why we shoudln’t shun the tacky ones.

  2. I love and love and love the Rosary – I usually say it on my fingers, because I can do that anywhere, and there is nothing to lose. Though I have a lovely set of green beads I can use. I have always rather coveted a rosary ring – once saw one with semi-precious cabochons, the most beautiful thing. My funeral plan asks for my Rosary to go in my coffin with me.

  3. I always have a Rosary in my cassock pocket to have a wee grope at when times are tough. Yes, I’d love a rosary ring too – not like the horrible base metal one I found once in a catholic shoppy.

  4. Have you heard of the Anglican Rosary? Have you seen one or used one? It is a truly beautiful circle of prayer and there is quite a choice of prayers you may use. Mine is a beautiful object in its own right, purchased from a true artisan and who makes and sells religious jewellery. Try finding “Atalya Designs” on the net. Contact me if you want information.

  5. Thanks for your comment Colleen, and for the link. Yes, I do have some Anglican rosaries which i showed but we did use the trad ones on this occasion. Love the ones at Atalya though – much classier.

  6. Dear Rev Ruth, I have jsut read your blog with great interest, and since I am at present engaged in writing magazine material for St Oswald’s Church, Kings Park, Glasgow, I wondered if I could use your blog for this purpose. I assure you I shall quote my sources! I have no experience with praying with a rosary, but admire the activity in a group. God Bless! Brigitte

  7. Your Lent course reminds me strongly of a course I helped to write and run for our Churches Together group in Mid-Wales years ago. We called it Ways into Prayer and I rewrote it when i moved parishes to england and it worked very well there too. There is a real hunger for help with prayer and people can be so grateful to be allowed to try and experience something new.

  8. Perpetua, that has been my experience too. I’ve done this sort of course before and it has always been well received. I think people get put off prayer because they just haven’t found the one that suits them best.

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