Hard to believe it's been more than three years since I wrote this:
I've got a confession to make.
I'm regularly praying the Rosary. There, I said it.
For months now and daily during the work week, I'm up at 4:15 AM. It's still dark. Quite dark. I find my Droid X and the Rosary App I downloadedfor free, I find my beads given to me by the angel who ran our RCIA program at St. Joan of Arc's and I head quietly downstairs to my living room, my dog Harley following sleepily and looking at me as if I've lost my marbles, communicating with his eyes that he'd much rather be back in his bed.
I've hesitated to write about it for a variety of reasons, most having to do with an ego yet too large. Doing something I once vigorously opposed is somewhat problematic and of course I'm not the most pious feller publicly and so this sort of thing is likely seen as unusual by those who know me (or who think they do). And frankly there will be some who see it as a weakness, as something less than manly, as something done more usually by females, most of them of the blue haired variety. All these folks are wrong and I'm as wrong for worrying an iota about it.
I continue to pray the Rosary daily though now it takes me less than 20 minutes usually, I combine it with a walk and I no longer need an app to git'r done. It's become something I seriously look forward to doing every day and I know that it's changing me. I do.
I was reminded of that post when this morning I read Patrick Briscoe's piece on why the Rosary should be seen by men as a manly prayer:
Growing up, I’d occasionally catch my father as he finished praying the Rosary early on Saturday mornings (begun in peace when the rest of us were asleep), or notice he’d left his handsome set of beads lying out on a coffee table. I had the blessing of his example. Other men know their fathers have placed a Rosary in their locker at work (try and find a Catholic firefighter who doesn’t have either a Rosary or a saint’s medal) or even just keep one in their pocket, where from time to time they’ll pause and touch the beads. But for those men who haven’t “seen” or “heard,” how do we make sense of the Rosary as a manly devotion?
1. The Rosary is covert. A fierce point of intimidation of being a man of faith in our culture is the fear that we will amount to being hypocrites (and we know how much Jesus loved that…). In the face of our own weakness, we want to be authentic about who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we believe. Rather than broadcasting or projecting a false image of ourselves as mighty saints, men prefer to keep things on the down low. The problem is this principle of authenticity—which is truly noble—can be our undoing. When we’re not grounded in something solid, we’ll drift away. We’re not all called to some kind of grandiose witness, like martyrdom or preaching, but we do need to be faithful. The Rosary offers a structured program for building up the foundation of faith in our souls in secret, so that when the storms come our hearts will be strong enough to be true.
2. The Rosary arms us for spiritual warfare. The fact of the matter is that spiritual life is war (cf.CCC 2725). St. Paul puts it this way, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). To contend in the battle, we must put on the armor of Light (Rom. 13:12)! Dominican friars wear the Rosary on the left side, the side which bore the sword for knights of old. In the battle of the spiritual life, prayer is the only weapon, and it must be used. Frequently. Unceasingly. Devotion to the Rosary reclaimed the life of the 19th-century Italian lawyer Bartolo Longo (who had become entrapped in the world of the occult and often dreamt of taking his own life), and without a doubt, devotion to the Rosary will help us overcome the evils which plague us. The temptations and cycles of sin of the 21st century do not own us, for the Rosary narrates the greatest conquest of all time: the victory of life and light over sin and death.
Br. Briscoe has two more reasons to substantiate his thesis.
Read the whole thing. And pray the Rosary.
Be a man about it.