Wednesday, May 4, 2011

365 Photos Day 124


In the Catholic Church, the months of May & October are devoted to the veneration of Mary. Before Mass, the Rosary prayers are said, usually led by an upstanding member of the community.

I have yet to learn all these prayers. The only one I can remember on a regular basis is the "Hail, Mary", and that might be because I tend to say it under my breath as any airplane I'm on is in the process of either taking off or landing.


This is my Mom's Rosary. It wasn't her first one, but it is her last one. When I look at it, I remember the conversation she and I had about the significance of Easter and the crucifixtion (which I just inadvertently spelled 'cruxifiction').

She always maintained that the Church was focusing on and celebrating the wrong aspect. Me, not knowing any better at the time would counter with, "Yes, but Jesus died for our sins, and isn't that the better part?" And Mom would just laugh. And then dismantle my reasoning.

Now, mind you, this was the same person who would invite rookie Mormon/Jehovah's Witnesses/any traveling missionaries into the house and proceed to "discuss" theology with them (at least she'd offer them some lemonade first).

This was the same person who helped me single-handedly shut down an entire half of the room's argument in my freshman Ethics class.

This was the person who made sure I attended every single freaking church in the (predominately Roman Catholic) town I grew up in; from the Baptist to the Methodist to the Church of the Latter Day Saints to the Assembly of God to the Episcopal to the Presbyterian ones...which continued until I was old enough to tell her I didn't get what the big deal was, because although it seemed like all of them had different ways of getting there, all of them were convinced they were going to Heaven--this was what she'd wanted me to get out of the whole thing, I think.

This was also the same person who, God love her, freaked out big time when I told her I was officially converting to Roman Catholicism (for reasons I shall not go into here and now...but rest assured, my role model in this decision was King Henri IV of France).

Back to the whole Easter thing...

Her point was that it wasn't just that Jesus was sacrificed for all sin. "I mean, that's nice and all, but it's not very helpful, now is it?"

No, it was that HE CAME BACK. He came back to inspire his Apostles to go out and spread the word about His teachings (which isn't always the same as what some Christians actually DO, but that's a whole other matter).

So she said that instead of celebrating His death and wearing crosses or crucifixes, Christians would be better off wearing a necklace with a picture of a tomb on it, because it was His LIFE that should be celebrated, not His death.

And if you look closely at this rosary, there is no image of Christ on the cross. No crucifix, no sign of death. Instead, there's an Ankh, which is the ancient Egyptian symbol for life, or more properly, eternal life, or life after death.

The lesson I took away from all of this was to never be afraid to look at things through a different lens, because sometimes what's presented isn't always the really important thing. Sometimes it involves thinking for myself, instead of blindly following the party line. More often than not, it will not be the popular view, nor will it be the easy path. So, this is why I do what I do, even if it's not going to be easy or fun.

And so I use this rosary, not just because it's handy (I don't have another one), not because it was my Mom's, but because it reminds me to be me.

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