October is both the month of the rosary and respect life month. Those two intentions are tied together intimately in my heart. It’s not such a stretch, though, when I look at what the rosary is about: human life in its most divine and perfect form.
As we walk—or, in my case, stumble and plod—through the rosary, mystery to mystery, we see human life in all its forms.
Jesus is in His mother’s womb in the Annunciation, and even there He impacts Elizabeth and John the Baptist at the Visitation. He’s born during the Nativity, and in the Presentation Joseph and Mary take Him to the Temple, obeying Jewish law and custom. Then there’s the Finding in the Temple, one of my favorite mysteries, one that speaks to me over and over and over.
And those are just the Joyful Mysteries. How about the miracles of His life in the Luminous Mysteries, the sorrow and heartache we witness in the Sorrowful Mysteries, the wonder we can’t help but contemplate in the Glorious Mysteries?
Every time I pray a rosary, however haltingly and failingly, I can’t help but remember respect life in some way. I can’t help but think of the small white casket that changed my life.
You see, I used to not care about abortion. It was a woman’s right, after all. I was an enlightened modern woman, and despite the fact that my tall and handsome boyfriend was a quietly devout Catholic and I was intrigued, there was no dissuading me.
I KNEW I was right. No question about it.
And then…everything changed, though it was a thawing more than an explosion.
When I watched his family bury a baby, when I saw the small casket in front of them…well, it became harder to justify my position.
In October, I can’t help but think of this, even as I hold Mary’s hand tighter in grasping her rosary. I don’t pray it well. I’m often distracted and in a hurry. For a long time, that was my excuse for not praying it.
But, in case you use that as your reason for avoiding the rosary, let me encourage you the way our Mother in Heaven must long to encourage you.
Have you ever received a drawing from a young child, imperfect and yet enthusiastically given? Have you ever heard a made-up song from someone who’s off-key and making up the words, though it’s sung with love? Have you ever had a hug from someone who’s not a touchy-feeling person, but who needs the human touch?
This month, as Mother Church reminds us to give the rosary special attention and also reminds us of our responsibilities to keep human life sacred, let’s put aside our pride for a moment. Let’s give a rosary to Mary, in honor of the babies who won’t be born, in honor of the parents who grieve, in honor of the sins that happen against human life in so many forms and ways.
Will you join me? Can you try?
May Mary hold your hand and help you be open to the graces that are found in the rosary, even as she steps aside to allow her Son to hug you close.