Monday, May 26, 2008
Time to Wear White
Hi Sister Mary Martha! I love your blog, I read it about as often as I pray my rosary (about 1-2 times a day). I have a question!
I grew up under super conservative traditional catholics. I was always taught that rosary's are NEVER to be worn as jewelry, yet lately I've been seeing everyone from Madonna to the "cool kid" down the street wearing rosary or rosary type jewelry, and even "catholics." Am i wrong? Is there a special clause that allows us to wear a rosary as jewelry? And the religious candles and jewelry with pictures of Jesus and Mary, and the saints. It it sacrilegious to wear/use those also if you're a non-believer? or am I just being way too uptight?
Although I love that you are a frequent reader, I would drop me like a hot potato to squeeze in another rosary if I were you.
I, too, was taught that one never wears a rosary. A rosary is an instrument for prayer. It's not jewelry. End of discussion.
But now people wear white after Labor Day all the time and nobody cares.
Here's what I've been told about our brave new world of rosary wearers:
1. People in other cultures have been happily wearing rosaries all along. Perhaps we just didn't know because we never had the internets. For example, in Mexico people wear rosaries all the time and always have. I'll bet they've been wearing white all year long all the time as well.
2. People wear rosaries as reminders. I had a reader who informed me that she wore her rosary around her neck to remind her to remain chaste. I really can't ask her not to do that, if that's what it takes. I truly can't imagine that someone would need a rosary around their neck to remain chaste. How bad is this poor woman's memory? Isn't that the purpose of a hair shirt? I told her to get a hair shirt. I doubt she listened. Far be it from me, at any rate, to tell her to stop wearing that rosary under those circumstances. I've given enough bad advice to land me in Purgatory until Pontius Pilate gets out.
(I was told by the nuns I had in school--and I believed them--that Pontius Pilate did not go to Hell. He went to Purgatory and he has to stay there until the end of time. It makes perfect sense to me. But it's just another one of those things some nun made up.)
3. Gang members now wear rosaries. This is truly horrible. It might make anyone who is considering wearing a rosary for any reason think twice about it, even if they are just wearing it to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of their purse so as to be able to get their hands on it quickly so they can pray for gang members.
If rosaries are actually becoming a fashion statement, you really shouldn't be wearing a rosary around.
That said, I'd rather see you wear a rosary than hang it on your rear view mirror. That is a really useless place to have a rosary, hanging there with the little stinky cardboard pine tree. If you want to hang something on your rear view mirror, put St. Christopher up there.
Actually, don't. He probably didn't exist. St. Joseph is my choice for travel aid. One of his many patronages is travel, as he managed to get Mary safely to Bethlehem and his whole Holy Family back and forth from Egypt. On a donkey. Tell that to your kids the next time they whine that your SUV doesn't have a backseat DVD player.
Candles and medals, though, are a whole different ball of wax. Oh. What a pun. Sorry.
Candles and medals are sacramentals. (So is the rosary, which is why I suppose, it's actually okay to wear one.) They are there for the sole purpose of reminding us about Jesus. Having a candle with Mary on it will remind you to say the rosary and help you focus when you do. Having a medal of a saint will remind you what that saint endured, how he managed to stay holy, got shot full of arrows (St. Sebastian), had his skin peeled off (St. Bartholomew), never ate anything but the Host (St. Catherine), remained chaste (St Agnes), etc.
That is altogether different than wearing an instrument of prayer as jewelry. To me, wearing a rosary would be like tying your Missal to your head and calling it a hat. But that's just me.
I never wear white no matter what time of year it is.