At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.
So. Well. I pray the rosary. As in, the Catholic church one, with the beads and Mary and all. I am not Catholic, nor was I raised Catholic. When I started, I had to google to see exactly what the rosary was, and how it was said.
It started a few years ago... almost 3 years ago, now. I do have a regular meditation practice (hi, Deirdre! It can change your whole life! But don't think about that, OK?), and when I meditated, I would frequently see Mary, right in the center of my heart. Yep, that Mary - mother of Jesus. I was surprised the first time I saw her! But the love I felt was so intense, and the peace so profound, that I welcomed her... well, I welcomed her with an open heart.
I have a little history with Mary, which I'll have to tell you about in another post. Hmmm... that's two "other posts" I've found to do, and I've just started this writing every day thing. Cool!
She wasn't a complete stranger, I'll just say that for now. We (my mom, sisters and I) attended a Methodist church when I was growing up, but it wasn't something we really talked about at home. We stopped going to that church when I was about 13 or so, and I never really thought about faith, religion, or spirituality at all until I was around 23 or 24. And wow, *there's* several stories there, or maybe it's all just one big story, about my awakening and exploration at that point. But none of that involved Mary at all - for me, personally, anyway. On a conscious level.
I don't identify as Christian - I'm Unitarian Universalist. I won't go into detail about my beliefs, here, but I do think Jesus is a pretty cool guy, who had some amazing stuff to teach.
Anyway, so I would see Mary, just kneeling - being Mary. This went on for months, then one day, I saw she was handing me something. What? What's she got there? I could see her, offering me something, holding it out. It was rosary beads!
My first thought? "I've gotta get some rosary beads!" Where do you even find those? Aren't they supposed to be blessed or something? I was out walking the dog the next day, thinking about all that, when I realized: she wasn't offering me BEADS, she was offering me: THE ROSARY. Bless my sweet little materialistic heart, it wasn't about the beads. Oh, I just laughed and laughed. Then called my sister, who had converted to Catholicism a few years before that. We had a wonderful conversation about the rosary, she told me her understanding of it - and she also said she believes it's a very, very powerful prayer.
I didn't get any beads (still don't have any, actually!), but I went online and found out about the rosary, and started saying it, with my little print out of what to say on which days, etc. right along beside me. I had said it for a couple of days, when one day, as I was saying it, I just started cracking. up. I mean, laughing until tears rolled down my cheeks. 'Cause you know what it says? Part of the words of the rosary are, "Holy Mary, mother of God..." Mother. of God. I mean: The Mother! Of Go-o-o-o-o-d. How freakin' powerful is THAT? If God is all, and God is love... and Mary is the MOTHER of God... Uhhh... That's somethin', right there. It sure is. And I feel like here's this secret that was kept from me for all these years, that here was a woman, and she gave. birth. to God. I mean, I know, spirit of service and all that, but - still. Wow.
I've come to believe that Mary is a protector of children, and a helper for families - among other things. I have received what felt like guidance after praying the rosary, and it's always, every single time, led to amazing things and a bigger life and more love.
I'm not suggesting to anyone that they need to pray the rosary - I just totally followed my heart on this one. I don't think about it very much, try to rationalize or mentally understand. I just know that praying the rosary brings me peace, and sometimes, a fire for love and an even-wider open heart, so I'm gonna keep doing it.
I think of Mary as a friend, now - which makes me laugh, 'cause I know some people make fun of people who believe in God by saying they have an imaginary friend. But Mary? She lives in my heart, and I can tune in to her vibe at any time, and her vibe is bright light and love and protection - and sometimes, anger and action, 'cause she's a mom, after all, and we gotta keep it real.
I've tried to write this post before, several times since I started blogging, but I felt like I'd be misunderstood or people would jump to conclusions about what it means, so I didn't, I was afraid. But in the safe space of this 37 Days cocoon, I can do it.
So I have.