-Sister Lucia of Fatima
I have been a Catholic for my entire life (51 years), but it is only in the last 25 or so years that I have had a devotion to the Holy Rosary. I attended Catholic schools until high school. As a teenager, I would have identified myself as Catholic, but between television and secular influences, I didn’t totally embrace my faith until after I was married, and this was because my husband insisted that we not use contraception during our marriage.
As we dialogued back and forth in those few months before our wedding day, I still didn’t know why the Church taught that married couples shouldn’t use contraception to avoid pregnancy. In fact, I remember thinking that the Church just ought to come out of the Dark Ages and get more in line with the modern world.
In the end, I decided to trust my husband (and the Church). In the next year, we read Humanae Vitae, as well as other church documents, and I became fully convinced that the Church was indeed speaking the truth when she declared that contraception was a grave sin. Before we were married, we learned NFP and we are now a CCL NFP Teaching Couple Specialist (and have been teaching NFP for 26 years).
During that first year of our marriage, a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to our door. My husband and I welcomed them and dialogued with them. Most of their questions centered on Mary: “Why do Catholics worship Mary?” “Why do you say such a monotonous repetitive prayer?” “Why is Mary so important to Catholics?” First, we gently explained to them that Catholics don’t worship Mary, we honor her. As for the other questions, I realized that I didn’t really know the answers, so I did some research.
To the question “Why is Mary so important to Catholics,” what I found out could probably fill an entire book. However, my own thumbnail answer is this: Jesus honored his mother. We, as Catholics, are called imitate Christ. He honored his mother and so we should do the same. Also, as Jesus hung on the cross, He gave his mother to the whole world when He said to John, “Behold your mother.”
Mary is indeed our mother and, as our mother, she desires us to be closer to her Son. The rosary is the ideal way for us to become closer to Him, because as we say the repetitive prayers (with love), we are meditating on His life.
I have found that saying the rosary has brought me closer to my husband and to Christ. Even after 28 years of marriage, we continue to say “I love you,” just as we continue to say the rosary together, with love.
Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach