Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Thought-Provoking Question

I'm filling out a questionnaire this weekend. One of the questions is how my faith relates to my rosary making. I've noticed that not everyone who's had their replies posted so far has answered this question, but I'm going to try to tackle it. The following will be a "thinking out loud" to figure out what I'm going to say.

As I said in an earlier post, I don't pray the Rosary much, which makes this a more difficult question. I certainly wouldn't be making them if I weren't Catholic (although some non-Catholics do) and I wouldn't make Franciscan Crowns if I weren't Franciscan. I don't mind making Anglican rosaries because, at the base, they're ecumenically Christian. But I don't plan to ever make a Lutheran rosary, even though they exist, because they're specifically Lutheran, based on Luther's Little Catechism; I'd feel as if I were poking my nose uninvited into someone else's religion. Same thing with Buddhist malas or Islamic prayer beads. If a Lutheran or Buddhist or Moslem asked me to make a religion-specific set of beads for them, I would, because they'd be inviting me to (that's how I got started making Anglican rosaries).

So, in that sense, my "faith" has a lot to do with my rosary making. I'm a Catholicism geek, so I love all the little in's and out's and why's of putting rosaries and an occasional chaplet together. And being Catholic means I'm part of the family, so I don't mind providing spiritually useful things to other members of the family even if it's not something I would choose - kind of like making sure someone has a birthday cake if that's important to them, even if all I care about on my own birthday is the ice cream. 

But, of course, talking about "the Catholic faith" is a very limited use of the word "faith," and I don't think it's all the writer of the question had in mind. It's a bit tougher to explain what rosary making has to do with my spirituality.

One of the things I miss about the Carmelites is how the work that's done each day is meant to be work that can be done in a state of recollection. I spent a lot of time working in the garden and the kitchen. This is a luxury I don't have at my current job, where I pretty much have to be actively using my mind all the time. But it is something I have while I'm making rosaries. If there's something I specifically want to watch on TV, I might turn it on, but it's usually off, I'm not someone who fills silence with the radio or other music - I love music, and when I listen to it I tend to get completely pulled into the music, so listening to it while I'm doing something else is really difficult. I also love silence - I'd probably make a good anchoress if the job still existed (I don't know about a hermit - anchoresses tended to have lots of people come to visit them for spiritual conversation). Since I live alone, there's not much to bother me while I'm engaged in rosary making except for the cat, the occasional phone call, and the constant feeling that I should really be cleaning my apartment. Rosary making does take some thought, but most of it usually precedes the actual work, while I'm deciding what beads and findings to use.

This could be an ideal situation. The fact that it isn't is mostly my own fault, for a couple of reasons. First, I'm not involved enough in Christian community, specifically my Secular Franciscan fraternity. Several years ago I overloaded on "involvement" and the house of cards finally collapsed under its own weight, so I'm more leery than I should be about any involvement at all. Second, I need to pray the Liturgy of the Hours more regularly, so that thoughts coming into my head are related to psalms and other scripture passages instead of the latest song I heard piped in while at the grocery store (currently we're working on "Good Morning, Starshine"). My recollection would also be better if I actually did clean my apartment and then kept up with it, so I could spend my rosary making time without feeling guilty.

I'm grateful for this question, since it got me thinking about what I need to do to make the experience more faith-filled.

A few of my rosaries that I'd pick for prayer, if I used such things. As usual, clicking on a picture will take you to more photos and a full description:

1 comment:

  1. Yeah that question has been avoided by some. But I have not finished my meet and greet yet either. I will take the challenge to answer it as well. I think in most part when other create rosaries they do it as a service. I find myself so drawn to the blessed virgin and want to make my rosaries in her honor. As well I get in a prayer state of mind when I create my rosaries