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How The Whimper Of A Sick Child Is Like The Rosary

As you know I am Catholic. Recently a friend of mine asked me why I, and Catholics in general, say the rosary. It seems like such a boring prayer. I gave her a simple answer, simple and inadequate. And then I said to her I’d think more about it and answer her again in a better way.

So I have been thinking about this and a day or so ago, suddenly, like a curtain opening, I knew exactly what I was going to say. An insight I had from an angle I’d never even thought of before. As usual, I’m going to tell you a story but first a little background.

If you are Catholic I hope this rings true and if you are not Catholic, or not Christian, I invite you to read on for the next few minutes and maybe glean some understanding into this Catholic custom.

I can fully understand how people think the rosary is a boring repetitive prayer, more suitable as a cure for insomnia than anything else. Hail Mary … Holy Mary … Hail Mary … over and over again, the same thing every day….

It has always been there in my life. As a child it was a cue for giggling misbehaviour; just make sure you knelt out of swiping distance of the long arm of the parental law. As a teenager something to be more or less abandoned until exam time when out of desperation it would be resorted to in the hopes that Mary would put a good word in for us in the ear of her son that he would overlook our laziness and procrastination and all those TV shows that filled our study hours … Hail Mary … Holy Mary … Pray for us … I promise I’ll be good forever … now and at the hour….

As a young couple we prayed more fervently, every day together, again and again, praying for help to overcome all the seemingly huge obstacles which stood between us and our longed for wedding day. Mother of God … Pray for us….

And then children come along and it’s an ideal we so often fell far short of. A hit or miss in the hustle and bustle of nappies and laundry and copy books. We’d fit in shortened versions, look out helpful tools for the children and try our best to make this prayer a part of our family life and all too often long-fingering it till bedtime and closing eyelids … Mum and Dad, Husband and Wife, Me and John praying in half sleep and promising that tomorrow we’d do better.

However I cannot say I ever really understood this repetitive prayer. I knew it, I loved it and could see the palpable differences it made to my young family whenever it was part of our family life. But understand it? Not really.

Now you know the story of our little girl and her diagnosis and all that went with it. I’m not planning to drag the rear end out of that tale but it is a story that has so many facets to it, many of which are only unfolding with the passing of time. This story is one of those things which completely passed me by when it was actually happening.

So back we go to a few years ago. A little girl, not quite three, is in distress … my own little girl, back on the ward after her very big operation. Her ragged little heart has just been stopped and restarted, patched, shunted, stitched and changed. Her bones have been wired back together, she has three painful drains coming out of her little body, machines and monitors are attached to her small limbs and her chest. Every vein has been exhausted from blood being drawn.

I have a little camp bed set up beside her with a sleeping bag which is calling me because I am exhausted. But I’m not as exhausted and worn out and wretched as the little girl beside me. I am her mother and that gives me all the energy I need to stay awake.

I am longing to do something for this suffering child who cannot sleep though she needs to. All night she reaches for me to hold her hot little hand in mine. All night she whimpers:

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you”

“I’m here, Baby”

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you“

“I’m here, Baby”

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you”

“I’m here, Baby”

All night long, over and over and over again “… I want you … Mommy … I want you … I’m here Baby.”

A hundred times, a thousand times and then the sun starts to rise and she wakes up from her fifteen minute sleep….

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you”

“I’m here, Baby”

All day and all the next night. What could I do but hold that little hand and stroke it and assure her I’m here … I’m here. That’s all she wanted. She could say nothing else, a little child who clung to her Mommy in her time of distress.

Was I bored of this little conversation repeated incessantly? What do you think? No I wasn’t bored. I wasn’t bored because it wasn’t boring. Every time she uttered those sorrowful words “I want you” my heart filled to overflowing, it’s capacity increasing with every little whimper. Of course I wasn’t bored and it was an honour to be able to say “I’m here, Baby” to be the one who was able to give that longed for comfort. The assurance that her mother who loved her was watching her and was never going to let go that feverish little hand.

And THAT my dear is why I will never not say the rosary till the day I die. Mary is not bored of our repetitive plea Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners. She’s not bored, because it’s not boring. She has no intention of letting go of our worn out and wretched hand. She is awake because she is the mother who loves her child and loves us all the more when we turn to her and say over and over and over again

“Mommy … I want you.” How The Whimper Of A Sick Child Is Like The Rosary

Jennifer Kehoe

Jennifer is a young mother of six, living in Co. Kildare. She runs a blog ‘Raindrops on my Head,’ at http://jenniferkehoe.blogspot.ie

5th Jubilee Mystery: Revelation in Word and Sacrament at Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

“They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” 

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

Discussing the things which had happened, all seemed lost and the hope that once attracted them to be disciples appeared to have been dashed. But, we are reminded that elsewhere in the Scriptures Jesus said, “When two or three are gathered in my name there I Am in their midst.”  As they walked away from Jerusalem, Jesus “drew near and went with them.” Faith is a fragile gift – suffering from discouragement, the disciples listen as Jesus opened the scriptures to them. The flame of faith begins to be kindled once again, yet they are kept from recognising him.  “Stay with us,” they ask Him, as he motioned to go on: this is the prayer of the Christian. We no longer see Him in the flesh, yet He is no less present. They recognised him in the breaking of the bread, we too, in faith, see Him before us truly present in the Sacrament of the altar.

“They returned to Jerusalem.” Our Lord shows us that the Eucharist is the place and the moment where we now encounter him most fully. His Word and his Body feed us and nourish us for the journey. It is when we are united around Christ, as His Body the Church, celebrating the Liturgy, that we truly know him and he reveals himself to us.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

Hail Holy Queen.

Prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary

O Virgin Mary, grant that the recitation of thy Rosary for me each day, in the midst of my manifold duties a link of unity in all my actions, a tribute of filial piety, a sweet recreation and a help to walk joyously in the path of duty. Grant, especially, O Virgin Mary, that the study of thy mysteries may gradually form in my soul a pure, bright, fortifying, sweet-scented atmosphere which will penetrate my will, my memory, my understanding, my imagination and my entire being. Thus will I acquire the habit of prayer while working, without the help of formulas, by interior movements of admiration and supplication, or by aspirations of love. I ask this, O Queen of the Holy Rosary, through Dominic, Thy son of predilection, the illustrious preacher of thy mysteries, and faithful imitator of thy virtues. Amen. (Bl. Hyacinth Cormier, OP)

Prayer in honour of St. Dominic

Father, through the intercession of St. Dominic, Doctor of Truth and Light of the Church, make your love glow in our hearts. After the example of so great a saint, make us heralds of your Gospel in a world that hungers for you but often does not know its needs. Give us St. Dominic’s unswerving loyalty to the Holy Church and may we, like him, be founts of true wisdom for our weary world. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

4th Jubilee Mystery: ‘Go tell my brothers,’ Mary Magdalen, Patroness of Preachers.

John 20:11-18

“Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.”

Mary Magdalen received the grace of being the first to see Our Lord after His Resurrection. At first she did not know Him, then He called her by name. She heard His voice before witnessing the glory of His resurrected countenance. Christ then commissioned her to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles, His brethren. She is the apostle to the Apostles. I am a Christian. I am united with Christ by Baptism and already participate in the life of His Resurrection. By my Confirmation I am called to be an apostle. Christ invites me to imitate Mary Magdalen and tell the world that I have seen the Lord.

Jesus wants me to share in Mary’s profound joy, a joy which stems from being close to Him and communicating His Gospel in a cheerful, generous and authentic manner.

May I follow Mary Magdalen’s example and proclaim Christ as my living Lord – by courageously defending the teachings of His Church. May I persevere in this task until the day He calls me by my name and permits me to see the glory of His resurrected body in Heaven.

Holy Mary, my Mother, you are the Queen of the Apostles. Help me to proclaim your Son’s resurrection to my family and friends – by my thoughts, words and deeds.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

3rd Jubilee Mystery: The Commissioning and Sending Forth of the Seventy-Two Disciples.

Luke. 10:1-9

“Say to them, the kingdom of God has come near to you.”

While travelling toward Jerusalem, Jesus appoints, and sends out in pairs, seventy-two disciples. He sends them ahead to visit all the places he himself will visit. The disciples were sent out with very particular instructions about how they were to travel, what they were to bring with them and how they were to behave when they found a place that welcomed them.

To those who welcome them, Jesus tells his disciples to announce that the Kingdom of God is very near to them. To those who do not make them welcome, Jesus tells them again to say that the Kingdom is God is very near. Jesus makes it clear that the presence of the disciples and the kingdom that they bring with them, will be seen by some as a blessing and seen by others as something less positive.

In either case, Jesus insists that the response of the disciples should ultimately be the same. His disciples are to draw attention to the proximity of the Kingdom of God, both as something to be welcomed and something to give pause for thought. For those who welcome the representatives of the Kingdom a great peace will be imparted, whilst those who do not welcome them, will miss out on this peace.

The peace that the disciples carry with them comes from the place they start their journey from, in the presence of Jesus. They go before him to announce his coming, bringing the gifts he wishes to give. It is the job of the disciples to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus, so let us pray that we may be true disciples of the Lord, realising that as he sent them, so he sends us now.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

2nd Jubilee Mystery: The Epiphany of the Lord.

Matthew 2:1-12

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him.”

The grace of God came to the Magi in the form of a star. Having observed this star they began their long and arduous journey in search of the Lord. The Magi followed the guiding light of the star and were rewarded by finding the divine Christ-Child.

The star which has risen in my life is the gift of faith given me at my Baptism. Faith is the kindly light and compass which leads me along the path of life. The Christian life is a pilgrimage which can encounter many dangers and obstacles. If I but follow the beaming star of faith which God has placed in my sky, I am sure to reach my destination. If I remain strong in faith, no obstacle, no Herod, can throw me off course.

The Lord Jesus bids me to journey towards him. He is my guide, my path and my destination. He has chosen me and called me to the faith. If I follow Him, I will come to behold Him in glory.

O Mary pray for me, hold my hand and help me always to follow the light of grace which will bring me to your Divine Son.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

1st Jubilee Mystery: Announcement to the Shepherds of the birth of the Messiah.

Luke 2:8-20

“Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

The Shepherds upon finding themselves in the presence of the angel with the glory of the Lord shining around them were filled with fear. This fear is dispelled by the words of the angel when he says, “Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you news of a great joy.” This joy comes from the knowledge that the Saviour which all Israel had been longing for had finally come to his people. Overcome by what they had witnessed and filled with expectation the shepherds “went with haste” to see the Christ child. As with the annunciation to Mary, the angelic visitation fills them with a joy that cannot be contained, and moves them to action.  The darkness of the night in which they laboured in the fields gives way to the light which they now see before their eyes, the true light of the world; the King of the Universe, in a manger.  Changed forever by this experience the shepherds become messengers of joy, making known to others what they have seen and heard.

Let us pray that we may experience anew the joy that comes with knowing Christ our Lord. Like Mary, who pondered the mystery of her Son in her heart may we by meditating on this mystery be changed by grace and become messengers of joy to all we meet.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

Rosary Letter Winter 2016/2017

The New Year of 2017 brings the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order to a close. It has been a year of many graces and blessings for us here in Ireland with many celebrations and pilgrimages nationwide. It was a year to look back with thanksgiving in our hearts for 800 years of our family’s existence and its faithful service to the Church. The Order of Preachers was born in the heart of a man who passionately loved the Church, the mystical body of Christ on earth. Dominic de Guzman set fire to the Church of his time with zealous preaching on the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. These mysteries he studied, contemplated and preached with passion for the salvation of souls, that the world of his time would once again embrace the saving mysteries of the incarnate Saviour. Dominic brought the faithful to an understanding of the love of God for the world in the person of Jesus Christ. He lived for Jesus and his Kingdom, and like the sower going out to sow, he planted in the hearts of the faithful the seed of renewal and conversion. The mysteries Dominic preached are the mysteries we contemplate in the Rosary. Tradition states that Our Lady appeared to him and gave him the Rosary, asking him to preach the mysteries she herself contemplated in her Immaculate Heart.

A few months ago, two friars were travelling across Ireland by car to a parish mission and in a discussion about the rosary, considered its place in their spiritual life. The discussion developed into a question, ‘If you could add new mysteries to the Rosary, what Gospel mysteries would you pick?’ The mysteries chosen and agreed upon, are presented as a Jubilee Rosary in thanksgiving to God for our founder St. Dominic de Guzman and for the patronage of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. We share them with you and pray that they lead you closer to Jesus whom Dominic loved and preached with all his heart and soul.

Fr. John Hyacinth Walsh. O.P.

Director of the Rosary Apostolate.