Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, Monday....

Today in NOTL:   A chilly day, with a high of only 54F/12C and a light breeze under mainly cloudy skies.  A beautiful day!

Yesterday I spent the day working on rosaries.  While I imagine a professional rosary maker could get lots of rosaries made in the five hours I spent on the task, I only completed two.

For me, rosary-making is a time of prayer.  How can I string the beads and spacers without praying the Hail Mary's and Our Father's as I go?  Of course I can string without praying, perhaps stringing while watching television or listening to the radio, but I don't want to make them that way.

I remember a friend, Shanida, our teacher for ceramics class when we all arrived for class at the same time one evening.  As we students began spreading our supplies on the table, one woman took Shanida's handbag and set it on the floor so she could lay out her materials.  Shanida dashed over and grabbed her purse, setting it carefully on a shelf.

"No, no, my purse cannot sit on the floor," she scolded.  "I have my rosary in it!"  Well, replied most of the group, so have we our rosaries in our handbags as well, and Shanida was horrified. "You PRAY with your rosary," she told us.  "Have you no respect for it?"  We appeased her, setting our handbags on the counter in her shop, but I know I was not the only one who reverted to the floor for my handbag in other settings.

Nevertheless, her words had an impact.  Rosaries and other tools that link us to Creator deserve our respect for the holy function they serve, so when I make rosaries, it seems appropriate to me to create a holy space in which to do so.

And so I assemble my materials, quieting my mind and turning my heart to Creator.  I begin to pray as I lay out the beads, the familiar Creed and Our Father's and Hail Mary's of the rosary descender, the words as soothing and comfortable as a warm blanket on a cold night.

I pray for myself, for my own healing, longing to be out and about doing the work of Love.  I pray for the ones in my life who have asked for prayer and the ones who have not.  I think of my dear Cousin Mickey, asking his help as I do the work he did so many many times.  I dedicate the time to divine Love, sending loving prayers and blessings to all the world.

Especially, I think of the one who will purchase the rosary and the one who will pray it.  I ask abiding blessings for them, the sweet consolation of spiritual union with the Divine, a life filled with joyful service to Creator.

Often, as I work, I feel the presence of my angels draw near. I feel the shift in energies as spirit fills the room.  The air gets that feeling of heavy peacefulness that one often finds in ancient cathedrals and in the midst of dense forests.  Even Mr. Murphy knows spirit is present, as he flops beside me and heaves a heavy sigh, then settles, watching me and the ceiling before drooping into sleep.

As the beads are strung, one after the other, Hail Mary's and Glory Be's in succession, insights come.  Everything leads us back to love, I realize.  Everything is holy.

A wayward space fights me, skipping away from the beading wire.  I recognize my own stubborn nature in that of the bead.  As I patiently, finally get it in place, I am reminded of God's own patience with the stubborn children that we are, running from the one reliable source of comfort we could ever find.

Working with the tiny delicas, I see that I have miscounted the spacers between two beads and slide the decade from the wire.  After restringing, I discover that now there are too few spacers between two different Hail Mary beads.  Puzzled, I remove the decade again and restring.  And then do so again.  I cannot figure the puzzle; I am being so careful - how could I continue making the mistake?  I am not angry or irritated, only wondering at the mystery.

As I remove the decade yet again, a tiny delica falls from within a Hail Mary bead.  Ah, the mystery is now solved.  The delica had nestled so close to the larger bead that it slipped within it.  I replace the delicas in their tube; I cannot make a rosary that will have its user doubting her sensibilties!  Another delica falls from the center of another Hail Mary bead, and I realize that like the delica, I too am surrounded by the love of Creator.  It is the safe place the scripture writer speaks of, the secret place of the Most High.

But the Hail Mary beads have a lesson for me, too.  They are crystal, but an odd colour, a beige-y brown that could be rather unappealing.  The transparent aurora coating, though, highlights the reflective nature of each crystal, and they glow with fire.  Truly, despite their drab colour, they are stunningly beautiful.  Much like prayer, the beads are more than what they seem.  To the uninitiated, the rosary or mediation or other prayer tradition may seem dry and sterile.  Ah, how wrong they are.  They will only learn the truth, however, when they set forth on the path that seems so uninviting.  Only then can they discover the richness and joy of spirituality.

Little by little, the rosary is made and the afternoon is half gone.  I debate momentarily whether I will stop and read my book or string another rosary.  It's no contest; I am reluctant to leave the place of deep peace in which I work.  It is what I wish for other pray-ers as the prayer beads slip between their fingers: that they, too, my find themselves dwelling in the peace and security found in the presence of the Most High.

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