Sister St. Aloysius has organzied a rosary party to pray for the downfall of Cuba. We're very excited although we haven't picked the mysteries for it yet. I say, go for broke and do them all! It's also up to her to pick the Mary statue she'd like at the party. I vote for Fatima, the obvious choice against Godless communism. Sister St. Aloysius is so excited, she had to go lie down.
I promised I'd tell you the life story of Mary and I realized that the best way to do that is to use the rosary, her very special prayer, which is also the story of her life.
Again, for the separated brethren, which is how we refer to the lesser faiths since Vatican II (somebody PLEASE tell Mel Gibson), maybe we should first explain what's the deal with those beads.
WHAT IS THE ROSARY? (and if you need one click here)
You've all seen people with their beads clacking and their lips moving and wondered...."HUH?"*
The rosary is a meditative prayer. Mediative, as in chanting and meditation and "oooooohhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmm." Except instead of emptying the mind we fill it with thoughts on the life of Christ as seen through the eyes of his mother.
Hail Mary after Hail Mary.
How did we come up with this thing? Way back when, monks had to 150 "Our Fathers" every day. It was hard to keep count. So they put 150 rocks in their pockets, walked around in a circle and dropped a rock out of their pocket for each Our Father until their pockets were empty. Then they would go drink beer. (They invented beer. I think they had the old Egyptian recipe.) I guess the nuns picked up all the rocks. Somebody had to. We didn't complain.
One of those Einsteins put those rocks on a string.
Somewhere in there the Hail Mary was invented. It's a really old prayer. It used to be just the first part: Hail Mary (which is a Roman expression of honor) full of grace, the Lord is with thee. (that's what the angel Gabriel said to Mary when he told her the big news of her impeding motherhood.) Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb. (This is what Mary's cousin Elizabeth ...who was John the Baptisi's mom...said to Mary when they got together for a visit. Then they added "Jesus"...they added that to the prayer later so everyone would know who we were talking about.
So that was the whole prayer for a long time: Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus. The end.
Then there was this big heresy going around that maybe Jesus wasn't God when he was born. Maybe he 'grew into it'. And when that heresy was finally put to rest for good, the people were so happy took to the streets, like the expatriate Cubans in Little Havana after they heard Castro was really sick, shouting, "Holy Mary Mother of God!"
So that's the next line of the prayer.
Now as long as you've got her attention you may as well ask for something so the last part is: Pray for us (notice for the millionth time we are not praying TO her) sinners, now at at the hour of our death. Amen.
That's Mary's prayer that we say 50 times while saying the rosary. But to get to the 150 prayers of the old monks we have to go around the rosary 3 times, which is what you're supposed to do but everyone's lazy and they don't. They're lucky to get through it once without answering their cell phones.
During all of this you'll be lost in thought over incidents in the life of Mary that we've divided into three easy parts: The Joyous Mysteries (happy times in the life of Mary with Jesus, like his births and whatnot), The Sorrowful Mysteries (you can figure that out, can't you?), and the Glorious Mysteries (the highly unusual events, like Jesus ascending into heaven, rising from the dead...but in the right order). There are 5 events in each set of mysteries.
And since you're too busy to go through all three sets in a sitting, we've divided it up for you over the course of the week so you still have time for a frappacino. (Please imagine the expression on my face as I say that.)
Joyous Mysteries on Mondays and Wednesdays, Sorrowful on Tuesdays and Fridays, Glorious on Thursdays and Sundays. The schedule changes during Lent adding another Sorrowful Day, and during Advent adding another Joyful day.
But then a couple of years ago the Pope added a fourth set of mysteries called, 'The Mysteries of Light!" That moves the whole schedule over and puts the Mysteries of Light every Thursday.
If you're confused just remember "Luminous Mysteries Thursdays" instead of Seinfeld.
I think this schedule might be what put Sister Mary Fiacre over the edge and reduced her to the mumbling state she's now in. I have a large chart on the kitchen chalkboard right below the grocery list to keep it straight for myself. Sister St. Aloysius has it memorized.
*The expression "knock wood" came from the days of religious persecution in Ireland. People would warn each other to stop praying so as not to get caught and maybe even killed by clacking their rosary beads together. No wonder 'knock wood' comes before good luck.