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iconrosary-35I was not alone in finding Jessica’s post today very moving. That moment of revelation is precious. It was interesting that she should have had it while praying her Rosary. My old friend who helped soften my ancestral hostility to Catholicism was a great one for his Rosary. It was one of those things always presented to me as a sign of the devilishness of Catholicism, and I found it hard to connect that image with my old friend. When I saw him just before the end, praying the Rosary was about all there was left for him. He could no longer read his Bible, and he said he found listening to it on headphones got in the way of talking with God. He would sit there, in his chair in the hospice, and finger his beads. I visited him a few times toward the end, and on each of them he was praying his beads when I arrived. I knew him well enough to stop a moment and let him finish.

He once explained to me that he found in the Rosary a quiet place where his mind could dwell on the important parts of Christ’s life. I once asked him about the ‘Mary part’ of it all. I couldn’t, and can’t, get alongside all the ‘Queen of Heaven’ thing, but when he explained it, I understood it as well as I ever shall.

It was, he explained, only natural to suppose that Jesus loved His mother and showed her honour, and that was the way his Church explained those parts of the Rosary which made me uneasy. He explained that he found the Rosary brought to his mind the most important parts of the Gospels, and that when he dwelt there, it was as though the world was somewhere else. I think that the closer he got to the end, the closer he got to that state where his consciousness was not here.

Anything which brings that sort of comfort to an ailing man – and the content was written on his face – cannot, whatever my feelings, be bad. So I put it down, as I do other phenomena, to the fact that this is a part of Christianity so removed form my own cultural comfort zones that it makes me uncomfortable.

Could that ever be so with the phenomena Struans and I have been discussing this week? Β Has he stumbled across a part of my understanding where the narrow horizons of my own formation blind me to the light he sees? Β I should at least bear that in mind, though as with the Rosary and my old friend, I doubt I’ll ever see it. There should be, and is, a gratitude toward those who take the trouble to engage and explain – and it is a tribute to young Jessica that she’s founded a place where that can be done. We’d not be us if we didn’t now and then strain the boundaries of tolerance – but I am glad our Chatelaine does not feel we’ve abused the hospitality she extended with such generosity. Good to see her back/