I’d like to share a fun story with you.
There was a young bride-to-be at her bridal shower. One of the gifts she opened was a roasting pan. When she opened it, she looked at her mother and said, “You know, Mom – I’ve been meaning to ask you. Every time you make a roast you always cut the end off it before putting it in the pan. Why do you do that?” Her mother said, “Your grandmother taught be everything I know about cooking, and she always did that, and I never questioned it.”
With that, the young bride turned to the grandmother and asked her the same question. The grandmother said, “My mother was the best cook in town. Everyone loved her cooking. So, when she taught me to do something in the kitchen, I never questioned it. I always just did it.”
Well, luckily, 92-year-old great-grandma was at the bridal shower. The young bride went to the great-grandma and asked the infamous question, “Why do you cut the end off of the roast before putting it in the pan?” The Great-Grandma shrugged her shoulders and said, “Because I never had a pan big enough.”
WHY Questions are IMPORTANT!
I love this story because it helps us realize that “WHY” questions are important. They’re important because they push us to dig to find answers. When we ask WHY questions concerning the things of God, it brings us closer to God if we are brave enough and persistent enough to get to the answer.
I recently read a book entitled, “Champions of the Rosary” by Father Donald Calloway. Father Calloway has an amazing conversion story. I encourage all of you to look him up on YouTube. He had no religious upbringing and then somehow after a long series of misfortunes, finds himself in a Catholic Church watching five Filipino women pray the Rosary. He had no idea what they were doing.
For those of you like me raised in the Catholic Church, I’ve seen both my mother and grandmother pray the rosary every day. But I really didn’t know what they were doing or why they felt it was important to do it every day. That WHY question led me to Father Calloway’s book.
Saint Dominic and the Rosary!
Saint Dominic is the founder of the Rosary as we know it today – five decades with meditation on mysteries of Jesus’ life. The Rosary, as stated in Father Calloway’s book, was crafted by God over a span of time. So, although Saint Dominic is the founder of the Rosary, the development of the Rosary existed decades before Saint Dominic.
The Rosary – Our Spiritual Sword
The Rosary is also a spiritual sword based on scripture which tells us that “the Word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword….” and encourages us to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17)
The two main elements of the Rosary – the Hail Mary and the Our Father – are prayers found in scripture which is why the Rosary is referred to as a sword.
Prayer Beads were very important – used as early as the third century to keep track of how many prayers were said. During the first Crusade 1069-1099, monks/priests wore prayer beads – not rosary beads – but prayers beads. They wore these on the belt to understand the beads as a sword that is worn on the belt. Many of us remember the nuns and priests – back in the day – that wore the rosary beads on the side. I never knew why they wore them there – but it was to signify a sword. These prayers are the Word of God, and the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit.
Our Weapon of Mass Conversion
There is a story of Saint Mother Teresa traveling in India by train when officials boarded the train asking if anyone had weapons. Saint Mother Teresa reached in her pocket and took out her rosary. This truly is a weapon – a sword.
In 1208, Saint Dominic is struggling with a heresy in southern France without any success. His preaching was not effective. The heresy was teaching that God would never take on human form. Pope Innocent III initiated a 20-year military campaign to eliminate the heresy. Finally, Saint Dominic decides to retreat and pray for help. After three days of prayer and fasting, he receives a vision from the Blessed Mother.
Our Lady instructed Saint Dominic to take the Marian Psalter – the 150 Hail Mary’s – out of the monasteries – infuse it with sacred mysteries and meditation – and take it into the streets to become a weapon of mass conversion.
There are so many wonderful stories and detailed history in Father Calloway’s book about the Rosary. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the WHY of the Rosary.