Monday, September 12, 2011

Thoughts on Rosary Wearing

Last week, the strangest thing happened to me. I went to sleep holding my clay rosary like I usually do and when I woke up to get my baby for his early morning feeding, my rosary was around my neck! It felt so sweet around my neck and I smiled and thanked Mary for this virtual hug.  Holding a rosary has always comforted me, but wearing one was even better!  This was the first time I had ever worn one, but since then I have put it around my neck a few more times when going to sleep.

So how did that rosary get around me neck?? I know I would never have put it there--even in my sleep.   Is it possible that it could have somehow got there while tossing and turning at night? I keep asking myself this, but in the end, I don't think it was totally an accident.  The way it made me feel when I woke us was proof enough for me that it was Mary's way of hugging me-- and certainly to remind me to say more of them!

At any rate, it also made me think why rosary wearing is so shunned by Catholics.  In other countries, it is more normal to wear a rosary.  When Mary spoke to the visionaries in small Catholic school in Rwanda, she told the students to wear their rosaries during one particularly strong attack of the devil. Here's the Alphonsine (a visionary) telling another student (Marie-Claire) what Mary said to her:
"Last night when the Blessed Mother appeared to me, she warned that the devil was planning to attack students a the school.  she says that we can protect ourselves from the enemy by wearing our rosaries." --from Our Lady of Kibeho
I was always told that wearing a rosary is bad so I've never worn even a rosary bracelet if I wasn't planning on praying it that day, but now I'm starting to rethink rosary wearing.  Can it be worn as a devotional just like as saint medal?   A conversation was started in my rosary guild about rosary wearing.   The question was, if rosary bracelets are OK, then why not rosaries as necklaces?  It was a very good point.  Maybe it was Madonna who ruined it with her sacrilegious display.  I can see how rosaries- or rosary bracelets for that matter, should not be worn solely for fashion.  But is there harm in wearing a rosary around the neck if you do so in all love and devotion?

Rosaries can be worn around the waist by monks and nuns, around the wrists in the form of rosary bracelets, and even hung in rear view mirrors, but if you wear a rosary around your neck, you will run the risk of being scolded by fellow Catholics.    What a shame because the peace and security I felt when I had that "rope by which sinners will be pulled into heaven" was just divine. 

So what do you think about rosary wearing?


Jamie Jo said...

Oh, so many years ago, I had this nice black dress with a v-neck and I'd wear your rosary you made for me with it every time. I loved wearing it!!

I really think the only thing that matters is to respect it. I think that Madonna ruined it for a lot of people, her disrespect for something so holy. I know lots of soldiers wear them around their necks--my dad in Vietnam.

It's really between you and God.

(I still have that rosary you made me, but the cross is broken....could I pay for a metal crucifix to be put on it?) I just might have to start wearing it again!!

Julie Cragon said...

We have a lot of people put them around their necks at the store and I try to explain that they are not really made to be worn but are used to be prayed. But, I do like Jamie Jo's comment about respect. I know some of the guys who come in use them for protection. I love this post and agree it's something to think about. How did that rosary get around your neck? And more importantly, why? I mark it all up to love for all you do to promote prayer. Her prayer to bring others closer to her Son.

AE said...

When I worked in the Liturgy Department at the Diocese of Dallas this very issue came across my desk. One of the pastors in our diocese had asked the Bishop to write a letter condemning the practice of wearing Rosaries. As was our procedure, the question came to my desk for research. My initial thought was, "oh, of course it's not right to wear a Rosary." The more I searched cannon law, and other church teachings, however, the more I came up empty handed. If anything, I found the church actually ENCOURAGED the practice of wearing rosaries. I did find one great comment from some Cardinal about how you wear a blinged out religious symbol as a fashion statement.
In the end, my recommendation to the Bishop went something like this: The practice of wearing a Rosary as a symbol and reminder of one's devotion to Our Lady is encouraged by the Church. The use of religious symbols in passing fashion fads, is not encouraged. If the faithful wear Rosaries out of devotion to our Lady it is an admirable thing. If the Rosary is worn as some sort of fashion fad, the wearer trivializes that which we hold most dear.

I think its so cool that you woke up with your Rosary around your neck. I'm sure your devotion is very pleasing to Jesus!

Allison said...

Some of my high school students wear a rosary. While many of them are Catholic, they are not necessarily wearing it for religious reasons. It is a trendy thing to do.

On the other hand, many of my Latino students wear Mary bracelets. I do believe they like the look,(I do, too!) but they also are children being raised in the faith and understand its cultural and religious meaning. They are mostly sold in Central America and parts of the Southwest. Anyway, I haven't been able to find one here in NJ.

Allison said...

One more thing, Sarah. (Kind of off topic but hey) I wore your "rose" bracelet to work today. It has been a while since I wore it and I got so many compliments. So thanks!

noreen said...

I think wearing a rosary is acceptable if it's done with respect. Like your mention of Madonna, there are young adults who wear them on MTV reality shows and behave atrociously. That's the only situation in which I object. Otherwise, it's a wonderful expression of Marian devotion. If you want to Sarah, go for it!

Meadow said...

Came over here today from Heidi's pondering in my heart and thought I'd stop back again to check out a few other posts. I've put you in my favs. on my computer so I'll be stopping by again :)

Rosaries, well I've never been sure about wearing them. My girls have put them on before and I've just let it go. They eventually take them off and put them back in the prayer area. I've mentioned that rosaries are for prayer and love of Mary our Mother and not for looks so I think the girls get it. If they started wearing them for dress-up time I would be way more concerned.