I discovered the rosary when I became Catholic, and I was duly intimidated by it. I mean, look at the rosary, and it’s a pretty huge thing. You have to remember what everything is and where everything goes, and, being a new Catholic, I was pretty sure it was going to take me at least two hours. And where would I find two hours? I think it was after the Easter when I joined the Church that I first prayed the rosary. My future mother-in-law had given me a rosary as a gift, and I still have that rosary. It was one of the wooden ones, and she told me that she got me a wooden one in part because she couldn’t afford the fancy sparkly ones and in part to remind me of the wood of the cross. I am really fond of wooden rosaries to this day, for both of those reasons. Spending a lot of money on a rosary just doesn’t ring true to what I try to focus on as I pray the rosary.

I remember sitting on my bed, hunched over the little booklet with instructions on how to pray the rosary. I knew the Our Father already, having learned it in the varied non-Catholic churches we’d attended while I grew up. The Glory Be was familiar too, because at the Methodist church where we spent my junior high years, it was part of the service, set to music. But that Hail Mary, that was a toughie. (That sounds so silly to me now, when I can rattle it off as easily as my name, but it is a reminder to me of where I started, and of other people who don’t know it yet.)

I ended up learning the rosary thanks to an audio version that I played in my car. I had a special prayer intention and had decided a daily rosary was the ONLY way I could properly pray about it. Since then, drive time has been a special time to pray the rosary, and sometimes I picture Mary sitting in the front seat, praying along with me. There’s a comfort in praying the rosary that’s like none other for me. Here I sit, humbly asking my mother for help. There stands she, waiting to take my request to her Son and my Father. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes: “Sometimes the answer to prayer is not that it changes life, but that it changes you.” (James Dillet Freedman)