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!