jueves, 10 de diciembre de 2009

46 Evenings

This month, I've found myself turning into a middle-aged Mexican woman. Why? We'll need to rewind a few weeks to answer that one.

Remember how I was all excited about being invited to join a Bible study with the ladies from my church. It's still fairly exciting (or a good opportunity to get to know other women). A week or two into the class, Panchita (the woman who invited me) busted out a list for the Great Rosario Host, for lack of a better name.

What is the Great Rosario Host? For 46 days before the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, women in neighborhoods all over Mexico get together to pray the rosary. Every night. For 46 nights. Yikes.

Why 46? Because the Virgin of Guadalupe has 46 stars on her robe. Of course.

Panchita asked me if I wouldn't want to host a night. While I still don't know quite what to make of the rosary, and the thought of praying it for nearly two months every night was a bit daunting, I added my name to the list with relish. After all, it gave me the potential to meet 46 more neighbors! Sweet!

I meant to attend quite a few of the rosaries, but what with Mario working second/third shift during November and Clara deciding that bedtime was sometime around 7, I wasn't often able to make it, as the rosary ladies met up at 7:30. Regardless, Panchita took me out last week a few times, and then I hosted it at my house on Monday night. I loved opening up my house for my neighbors and I truly did feel blessed as they prayed for any number of good things for our home and family.

But, as mentioned above, I'm conflicted about how I feel about praying the rosary. I do it because it is a great meditation tool. All those Hail Marys give the distracted part of my brain something to do while the rest of my brain can reflect on various stages of Jesus Christ's life and ministry. The times I've prayed it, it's been a positive and powerful experience. However, as one who grew up Protestant, it does pose a few sticking points for me.
  1. I realize that we only pray to Mary to ask her to interceede for us. It's just like asking any friend to pray for us, and that's totally accepted in any Christian circle. I'm down with that. Were I simply sending Mary a shout out to keep a certain situation in mind as she hangs on the ear of God, that would be fine in my mind. However, it takes roughly a half hour to pray the rosary. Isn't it a better use of time to spend that time talking directly to God?
  2. In Matthew 6:7, Jesus instructed his disciples, "when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words." What do we do when we pray the rosary? Say the same thing over and over and over and over. Yes, it's a great tool for meditation, but if Jesus said not do, why do we do it?

If anyone has any good answers to my hang-ups, please comment.

When all is said and done, it has been nice to get to know a few more people in this neighborhood and I've enjoyed being included in a community again. After moving around as often as I have, it's that sense of community that I miss the most, and I thank mine for including the "new girl" in their prayers this year.