Knot Again….

Remember this?

Yeah, I wrote about this here.   Go, read it if you will and get caught up. Yes, it’s a rosary, but this one…we think it’s kinda special.  Just to recap: that rosary, right up there, is the rosary the Tom/Coffedoc/theDad made for Chris/Brother Peter Joseph as he entered the Novitiate.  All Dominican’s (like many or most or all living in a Catholic religious order – brothers sisters monks priests nuns) wear a full 15 decade rosary attached to the belt of their habit.  Thus, this was one of the items of a very short list we actually were to send along with him as he entered his Novice year.  Tom, being who he is, thought to make the rosary.  And so he did.  Again, read all about it here, it’s kinda cool.

The rosary was working great…so to speak.  Peter Joseph prayed it daily, it hung just right on his habit and all was well.  Until sometime midway through the year…and then, it hit a little snag.  Or, to be precise, it got caught on a doorknob as Peter Joseph was running along a hallway to go grab a guitar (boys are boys are men are boys….).  And it didn’t exactly break.  But it did rather streeetch the rosary out and pull on the (vintage, weaker) loop of the crucifix.  So.  Peter Joseph asked his Dad if anything could be done.

Now, we know the answer to that one:  Of course!

So, Tom decided it was best to not just fix it.  No, it was best to REMAKE it.  You know, We can rebuild it.  Better. Faster.{..ahem, ok mabye not that part} Stronger...”  And so he did.  It took him months to research a better source for the cord – one that won’t stretch out if pulled, hard, with the translational momentum and torque of running friars.  The loop attaching the crucifix has been finely welded together to be stronger and more secure, despite it’s age.  The knots have been redesigned and retied, my math isn’t up to the precise number of knots but there are knots between each bead and there over 150 of those.  Yeah, my fingers ache just thinking about it….

The knot for the centerpiece has been redone, and in fact created from an original knot design by Tom because he couldn’t find a suitable and strong enough knot that he liked; though he tested out too many to count.  So he designed his own.  Each bead has been prayed over and with.

This rosary, the beads the knots, once again. still, carry Toms heart and head and hands.  They are a gift of himself to his son, in the most complete way. And I’m not trying to blather on about this to  boast…but rather to point out the joy in the effort and the meaning of these simple beads.  

They are, of course, beautiful in and of themselves.  They are beautiful for the prayers they represent and encourage.

But for me, they are beautiful for the simplest reason of all: These beads carry our prayers with them, to our son, and join his.  

Exhale

I do it.

I pray the rosary, every day.

  • It’s a breath
  • a balm,
  • a comfort,
  • a fixture,
  • an exercise,
  • a respite,
  • a gift,
  • a present,
  • a journey,
  • an attachment tool,
  • a joy,
  • a mediation,
  • a love,
  • an exhale.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
I think, sometimes, people who get all worked up about the rosary forget that we are ASKING FOR PRAYERS, not worshipping.  Just like we ask each other, our friends, our pastors, the clerk at the market….. And they forget that Mary prayed too.  Better than anyone else, ever.  And still does.  For us.  And she’s the  mom.  Christ’s mom! And he’s the perfect son.  And what does a perfect son do? He listens to his mother!  And if he knows better, and can’t do what is asked, he gently explains….. So, I’m just saying, those prayers are worth much.  And regardless of that factor, the rosary is a meditative time that makes any day better and deeper..and so too, me.
Happy Feast Day!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

About Those Beads….

Oh boy, what beads? I love beads! Always have!

I want to talk about the most special set of beads I know or have seen, ever.

These beads are beads from my husband, made for and given to his son.  These beads, they are special ones indeed.

Yup, you guessed it, this post is another in my series on my son’s entry into religious life.  As you all surely know, my Chris is now living this year as a Novice with the Dominican Eastern Province of St. Joseph.  He now goes by the name of Brother Peter Joseph – a whole ‘nother post coming on that one.  {I need to get a sidebar for my posts that are in the ‘mini-series mode’…it would make my life a bit simpler, at the very least. Hmm, site maintenance on my to-do list…}  There is still so much to talk about with this new step in my son’s life.  So much change and so much adjusting going on, for him, for us, for the family as a whole.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s almost all good.  But it’s, well, it’s a lot of adjusting and transition too.

Anyhow, THIS post, this post is about those beads.

When Chris was getting ready to go to the Novitiate, he was given a list of things to bring. (I’ve decided to use Chris when talking about prenovitiate time and Bro Peter Joseph when talking about the time after he took his new name…keeps my head from spinning.  Hope this helps you keep up too.)    It was a VERY short list.  It was the basics, really, because that’s all he really needs. Heck, it’s all any of us really need, right? Right.  But, it was the usual stuff: a set of work clothes and exercise clothes, underwear, socks, tennis shoes, black shoes, limited personal toiletries, a breviary, bible, etc.  Then, there were two “habit specific” items: a 1.5 -2″ black belt and a 15 decade rosary.  That’s it.  That was the list of must bring items, with any additional items strongly discouraged.  Vow of poverty, simple life, and all… These list items were things he already possessed, except the belt (oddly enough) and the rosary.  The belt was an easy get, of course.  The rosary..well, it could have been an easy get.  A quick drive down to St Mary’s bookstore, where they have a lovely selection of rosaries of all types and stripes….

But, in thinking of it, this rosary was kind of special.  It needed, ideally, to be one that can last.  Stand the test of time flying and fingers praying.  Stand the test of wearing, day in and day out, through the bumps and knocks of any given task, however mundane: dishes, serving, laundry, singing, praying, studying, and so on. So this rosary needed to be durable, but also have a good feel.  Not flashy, but not cheap and breakable and something to worry over.   No surprise then, that Tom, Coffedoc, the dad…he had the idea to make one.

Now, permit me an aside: we parents were keenly feeling this move approaching.  But you already know that.  And, as parents are wont to do, world over, we wanted to send something with our boy/young man/beloved son.  I had even made him a small painting of St. Dominic, in case he could bring such a thing for his room.   Chris said he couldn’t take it with him.  Ouch.  But. Ok.  We couldn’t give him money – vow of poverty and all.  We couldn’t give him lovely THINGS – vow. poverty. simplicity.  No  cashmere socks, ha! No fancy watch.  We couldn’t give him electronics – vow. poverty. simplicity.  You get the idea.  I know, I know, it was desperation of the departure taking it’s toll. Foolishly or not, we had the very strong urge to give him a part of ourselves…somehow.    Even though of course, he was and IS a part of ourselves, built in, and that travels with him no matter where he goes.  Still.  The urge was there.  Thus, when Tom hit on the idea to make the rosary, Chris kindly said, ok.  It was a kindness, he was unsure if it was a good idea or if there was time.  But he knew, we all knew, that if it could be done in time, it would be.  So he said, “Ok, Dad, that’d be great.”

Thus began a kind of lovely intense time leading up to the departure for the novitiate.  Chris and Tom spent a lot of time together…looking for the crucifix, selecting the right one.  Finding a crucifix prayed over by another Dominican, a sister from years ago, worn just right and with the heft of time and prayer.  Simple, lovely.  They pondered what made a good feel to a rosary, the materials used to string it: wire, links, string…what would be best, lasting, have a good feel.  What size beads, what material, what heft, what feel?  It sounds like a lot of fussing, but it wasn’t fussing, it was a joint project and it was time together, talking, evaluating, hanging out.   Chris didn’t want it too precious, needed to pull back his father’s natural urge to find the most amazing special coolest ever parts of this or that….remind dad again of the simple life he is thinking of, being possibly called to.  Nudge, pull, push…listen, understand.  Both of them.

Finally, the parts were in.  All materials needed to be and ended up the simplest, not expensive, but strong.  The crucifix and centerpiece found and arrived, agreed that they were “just right.”  The beads arrived, wooden black beads, just right.  The cord to string it all, finally, located and brought home (harder than it would seem, that one).  The length determined, adjusted, fixed.  The knots practiced, tried, adjusted.  Different knots for between the beads, then the decades. Special knots for the crucifix and the centerpiece; complicated beautiful and secure.  Thus, finally, the actual making of this special rosary could begin.  This sweet dad, he stayed up into the wee hours many nights, he knotted and he pulled and measured and tested, knotted, reknotted, redid it to perfection.  Almost.  Tom would point out, here, “No, not perfect.”

But it was perfect. It IS perfect.  The entire process was pure gift of himself.  To his son.  It makes me cry to type it, it means so much to each of them, but so too, to me.  The hours put it, a prayer over each bead, each knot, for his boy.  Each time our son, now Brother Peter Joseph, prays that rosary (which is daily) his fingers slip across the same beads and knots that his father too held in prayer and love.  He carries that, all that, tied to his belt with him, at all times.  That very rosary stays hooked on his belt and habit.

Thus, my son, carries a huge piece of his father’s heart and love with him, always.

And  yes, of course, he does anyhow.  With or without that particular rosary.  We know that. He knows that.  But, those beads.  Those deep brown black beads…. They are a tangible touchable reminder, for him and for us…that we are linked through prayer and beyond time.  That particular rosary – I can say because I only watched the whole deal, I have no personal glory here – it is stunning.  It is simple.  It is beautiful.  Not only because my husband can tie knots like nobody’s business, not only because he is a master craftsman.  But because that rosary is the tangible embodiment of a father’s deepest love and prayers for his son and entrustment to our Blessed Mother through those seemingly simple brown beads.

Now, Brother Peter Joseph, receiving the habit and with it, the beads

So, yeah, it’s about the beads…in so many ways, they are kinda special.

>May. Month to pray.

>And now it is May!

It is a month to pray the rosary; to start if you haven’t ever done it and wondered about it. 
To learn a bit more about it if you don’t understand it (no it’s not deifying Mary, it’s asking for prayers). It’s a month of springtime and beauty, and I have found such comfort and grace in this prayer of contemplation.
This video above is from last year and is about praying for our dedicated priests.  Most of the priests in this world are good holy men, who give their lives in service and prayer, for us.  They can certainly use some of our prayers, right back.
Think about it.
It’s easier than it looks and it’s May!
All the hip folks are doing it!
Happy May!

>Feast o’ Beads: Our Lady of the Rosary

>It’s the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary!

While there is much to say about the rosary and our Lady of the Rosary, I’m just gonna say this:
I pray the rosary.
Not as often as I should or as I mean to.
It comforts me, soothes me, strengthens me….
But it also is one of my best tools for intensively praying for others, and I have a long list and it does me good to remember them all.
Praying the rosary lifts my eyes off my sorry selfish self and helps me help others in a tiny yet big way.

So today I will pray a rosary, for the intentions of you all who are on my prayer list (you know who you are, well, most of  you anyhow) and in thanksgiving for this beautiful meditative prayer.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.

>Don’t forget that it’s May

>Because May is a special month, this is a last reminder.  Better late than never. And, never too late.

It’s true, so many religious…not only priests but also monks, brothers, sisters…they pray the rosary for us, every day.  For you. For me.  And I know it makes a difference.  I count on it.  I think the least we can do is say thank you by praying back for them sometimes too.  Think about it.

>I do, too. Every day.

>

May is the month of Mary, and the rosary.
I would challenge you to try it if you don’t already.

It’s probably the best thing I do every day, even when I don’t do the best one ever.
Doing this makes every day just a little better, on all levels. Period.
So. Yeah.
I pray the rosary.

>Feast Day: Our Lady of the Rosary

>

Madonna of the Rosary, by Lorenzo Lotto 1539

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Yup, another Catholic feast day. But this one devoted to our Blessed Mother and a particular and wonderful Catholic devotion and prayer: the rosary.

{I know, more Catholic stuff, I warned you: ’tis the season! And if you are thinking “hey I thought this was an Ethiopian adoption blog! What gives?” Well, it is, but read the header, it’s also about life in this family as a mom of a pile of kids, which means, Catholic, food, family, adoption, travel, Ethiopia, kids, whining, venting, opinions, links, drivel, and cool stuff…..the whole package.}

Now, the rosary can be a really confusing devotion and set of prayers, especially if you’re not Catholic or if you’ve not practiced it. It takes time to learn. It seems all complicated but it’s not.

Basically, it is a serious of meditations on the life of Christ. Yes, you’re saying “Ave Maria’s” (or the “Hail Mary” prayer) for much of it, but at the same time you are saying those words of the prayer you are invited into meditation on a ‘mystery’ of the rosary, or a particular scene or even in Christ’s life. If you make through an entire full rosary, all twenty decades, you have pretty much just walked through the gospel in your mind. How cool is that?

Now, I have to admit, my praying of the rosary is erratic. I get busy, I get tired, I get lazy. Too much so to make myself stop and take the 20 minutes it takes to pray the rosary. Sheesh. But, I love the rosary. I love the prayers, the calm that comes with praying it, the storytelling aspect of it, the results, the feel, the sound – all of it. But, as with anything regular, there is a discipline to doing it daily or regularly. And I’m not always so great at steady discipline (check out my utter lack of running of late: talk about NO discipline!). But all I can say is that when I do pray the rosary regularly and often, I see benefits. I see our family doing better, I feel myself calmer and more capable of coping with the harried life we live, the mundane irritations and feel my teeny weeny well of patience be a slight bit fuller.

The rosary is not mindless babble; it is often accused of this. Now, to someone who doesn’t understand the fullness of the rosary or what it really is or how it’s done, it could seem so. At it’s worst, it is a distracted attempt at turning our mind to Christ, through His mother and her pointing out scenes from His life. And heck, that’s not so bad: A- for even trying, right? At it’s best, it can be a transcendent prayer. It can not only change our hearts, I really believe it can change others and the world, just a bit. But every bit counts.

So, don’t short change this prayer. And of course, NEVER short change or underestimate our Blessed Mother. If she gave this prayer to the world and hears it, and I believe she does…well, great things can happen. I’ve seen them and so have many others. It’s an oldie but one of the very best prayers and devotions. It’s not a requirement as a Catholic, you don’t have to do this. But, oh, always, I am glad I did!

Happy Feast Day!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!