01 October 2009

Praying the Rosary

Tonight, for the first time in decades, I said the rosary. Ironic that I said it tonight, Oct. 1, the month of the Holy Mother. I must admit, I was a bit rusty. I had to dig around for a crucifix, a candle, and an actual rosary. My altar is pretty pathetic. After I started, I had to stop, go to Google, and print out the words to the Apostles' Creed. I'd completely forgotten them. Then I went back to my makeshift altar with my printout and had to start over. Embarrassing, no? This from the girl who'd consistently received a 95 in religion class back in St. Scholastica's Academy.

After the Apostle's Creed, I tripped again, this time over the Glory Be. But not as bad. And I'm happy to report that the Hail Mary flowed from my lips like buttah. I did, before I started, look up the Sorrowful Mysteries (and since when did we have the "Light" Mysteries, now said on Thursdays?), and referred again to my cheat sheet at the start of my first set of ten beads.

So far so good. I was kneeling and the words were flowing. It actually felt good to say the prayers. Comforting. It took me back to grade school, when my entire class would say a set of ten beads between each period, and sometimes I'd lead the prayers. I had quick flashbacks when the statue of the Holy Mother would visit my house in Marikina for an entire week, making its rounds in the neighborhood, and my mom and I would say the rosary for every night that the statue was visiting our home. Saying the rosary was such a part of my childhood I'd taken it for granted. I'd even resented it. I wanted to play, to get a snack, to watch TV. Anything but say the rosary!

After I finished my first set of ten, the Glory Be came more smoothly. But then I tripped over the "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins..." prayer. I don't even know what the official title of that prayer is. Anyone know? Anyway, onto my next set of ten.

I couldn't help but think of my own mother. I felt like she was saying the prayers with me. She was a devout worshipper of the Holy Mother, back in the Philippines and after we moved to the U.S. After saying the rosary at school, my biggest association with those set of beads is my mother.

After my second set of ten, and saying the Glory Be, the "Oh my Jesus" prayer surprisingly got easier. Maybe saying the rosary is like riding a bike. The next set of ten came even more smoothly, and the one after that even more so. Unfortunately all the words to Hail, Holy Queen didn't instantly come back. I had to improvise a bit. I hope the Holy Mother didn't mind. But my mom would've looked at me with disbelief.

I read somewhere that saying the rosary was meant to transport you to a different plane of existence. The prayers, chants really, are meant to be soothing and otherworldly. There is some truth to that. On the eve of the next big typhoon about to hit the Philippines, sometimes the only defense against 230 kph winds is a set of beads, especially when you have nothing else to fight with. Tonight, I felt some of the helplessness at not being able to help my friends and family, of being away from them, ebb somewhat. Not totally; I'm still keeping vigil over weather.com tonight. But as I said the familiar words, a sense of comfort wrapped around me, like a long-lost yet much loved childhood blanket.

1 comment:

Bonggamom said...

The prayer you are thinking of is

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls into heaven, especially those who are most in need of your mercy

I haven't said the rosary in a while either but it only took a couple of seconds :) Just don't ask me to recite the Litany!