A Catholic Monthly Magazine

From the back pew: The Holy Beads of prayer!

Mark SteeleMark Steele, who describes himself as the most ordinary of Catholics, writes:

When I go back in thought to my First Communion days, I remember receiving my first prayer book, a medal of St Christopher, the saint recognised at the time as the patron saint and guardian of travellers on a silver chain which was placed around my neck, and a small rosary described to me as ‘beads for prayers.’ Like many of my friends as I advanced in years, though the chain remained around my neck, use of both the prayer book and the rosary grew less and less, the former duly remembered by my mother and taken out for its weekly Sunday Mass outing at the Cathedral in the early years.

How things have changed in these my adult (or should I refer to them as ‘ancient’) years, and how important regular prayer has become to me, and what regular use I make of the large bead rosary. I am not unique in this I am sure, for the older we get the more responsibilities we acquire, the more problems crop up and the worries and concerns that confront us on a daily basis, the more we turn to regular prayer.

It took some digging to find this but I remember seeing and had retained a quote by an American Pastor and author that described prayer like this: “Prayer pushes us through life’s slump, propels us over the humps and pulls us out of the dumps!” Pretty apt, I’d say, but it does not mention the wonderful feeling of hope and love, even silent assurances we get from God and from Mary his divine mother to whom we also address our prayers when we use our rosary. Rosary

In St Joseph’s Church Takapuna in the transept three feet away from where we sit for Sunday mass, stands the most appealing statue of Mary the Mother of Jesus, her realistic eyes always appearing to me to be very slightly opened, her expression attentive, comforting and compassionate as I briefly talk to her before going to my seat. As I stand before her I feel her warmth as I thank her for all the blessings given to this son, and beg her to have angels guard my loved ones while they still breathe life. I have come to believe that this statue of Mary must have the same effect on many of the other parishioners and every now and again I have noted one or two rosaries placed over her graceful fingers.

My rosary has become an important part of my daily life, and in addition to the one that my wife and I say together I often feel the need to get closer to God and then I know I am securely in his hands.

Not anything to do directly with the beads of prayer but there is a wonderful little true story shared with me by email. Few may know that when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the surface of the moon, Aldrin who was an elder at his Presbyterian church in Texas took communion on its surface and some months later wrote about it in Guideposts magazine. After only a few moments on the lunar suface he read a verse from the gospel of John and took communion during a radio blackout with earth.Buzz Aldrin

He poured the wine into a little chalice which his church had given him and in the one-sixth gravity of the moon read the scripture “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoesoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit ... apart from me you can do nothing”. He then consumed the bread and wine.

It would not surprise me if on the spot where they landed is a rosary somewhere on the Sea of Tranquility, but that of course is pure conjecture on one man’s part!


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