There's a commercial where a husband and wife are waiting in an airport and the lady next to them admires the wife's beaded bracelet.
"The ballet slippers?" the lady asks.
"I used to dance," replies the wife.
"Suitcase?" asks the lady, pointing to the charm.
"Anniversary trip," the wife says with a smile.
"It's called the red hot love bead." Uncomfortable giggles and squirming ensue.
"Oh, I've said too much," says the wife, and the husband nods awkwardly.
The camera cuts to a picture of a bedazzling bracelet full of meaningful charms and the voice-over says,
"Celebrate life's unforgettable moments with a fabulous selection of Pandora charms and bracelets...Telling your life story with just a turn of your wrist..."
As a recent convert to Catholicism, the practice of praying the Rosary is something I have tried to wrap my mind around. My Protestant upbringing didn't make room for a practice like this, but I have found great comfort in it. Last year, I gathered materials to make a rosary for my sister's wedding present. The beads I used all had significance between the two of us--remnants of a necklace she had given me years ago, the same blue roses she had used in a gift of decorated hairpins to me, the whistle cross that we got a kick out of in high school (you literally blew into the bottom and it was a really shrill alert whistle--odd, I know). As I strung the beads together, I thought about what the beads meant, and it occurred to me--the Rosary is like a beaded scrapbook of memories for Mary.
When Catholics pray the Rosary, they are immersing themselves in the life of Jesus. Each day has 5 events from the life of Jesus and the Church to meditate on. Here's a little chart I made:
A lot of Protestants get uncomfortable with the idea of the Rosary because they don't like the concept of praying to saints (which I talk about more in-depth in this post). I have found a great delight in praying the Rosary, though, because it is immersing me in the life of the Lord, connecting me, through Scripture and prayer, to the most important events of His earthly life.
The Rosary is a physical manifestation of what Mary does in Luke 2:19--
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
It's just like a mom who pulls out her old photo album (or Facebook memories, or a charm bracelet) to look at the events of her children's lives and plays them over in her heart and mind. She experiences a flood of emotions--thankfulness for the miracle of life and the plan of God, awe that it has been so long and still feels like only yesterday, sadness at the pain, joy at the healing.
Through the Rosary, I get to experience Mary's memories of the life and passion of her most beloved Son Jesus. It's a beautiful thing and I am so thankful to have this practice in my devotional life. It presses me into the life of Jesus and encourages me to find rest in the practices of the Church, at the direction of the Holy Spirit.