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mary_rosary-31Yesterday was a notable one in the short history of this blog – Bosco, Geoffrey and my dear friend SF all agreed.  This has not happened before, and may never again, so it is right and proper that the occasion should be marked with great solemnity. It was in response to a comment from Geoffrey that when he was young, a relative who married a Catholic had to emigrate from Belfast to the mainland, to which Bosco wrote:

People who treat someone like a leper because the joined the catholic church are themselfs as bad as anyone. To shun your own family member for that shows what a lack they have of any godliness. Unsaved will do anything, but thats disgraceful, even for the unsaved.

On that point all three agreed.

It is worth noting, partly because it is fun, but also because it marked the sort of thing this blog is here to encourage, which is an honest (and temperate) discussion of what divides us.  Fond as I am of what I would call true ecumenism, I am happy to admit that too often it becomes a process of blurring differences and even trying to skim over them. Tempting as that can be, it is something we should resist.

But equally, we should, I think, resist the equally strong temptation, which is to have a go at each other on the basis of what we believe about the other church.  So, it is easy enough to accuse a Catholic of worshipping a statue when you see someone like me with her Rosary praying in front of a statue of the Blessed Virgin. I can see it might look like that, but if anyone stopped to ask me, I’d explain.

I am praying to God, the Triune God who reveals Himself in the Church.  But I am a woman, and I have always loved the Blessed Virgin, ever since I was little, and losing my mother when I was tiny, she came to be something of a substitute in my head (in real life my lovely sister took on that role). Jesus must have loved His mother, and so in loving her, I am at one with Him.

The Rosary is deeply Scriptural, and I find it helps me focus on particular and important episodes in the life of Jesus. It gives me a half hour space in my day when I can be alone and focus just on my prayers and on Scripture, and not have my brain getting in the way with questions.

I love reading the Bible, but I am always asking questions and wanting to know what a passage means. With the Rosary I can give that restless mind a rest. There are wonderfully familiar passages by now which I know by heart, and as I tell my beads, I visualise as best I can the scene, and I ask for God’s help to know Him more clearly. Spending time in the company of the Mother of the Lord is, for me, a daily comfort. I love Him all the more for loving her. Of course, I know I have no idea what she was like – but then I didn’t know my own mother, but know a lot about her from what people have told me – it feels the same here. I don’t worship her, but I do love her.