After decades without owning one, I have recently acquired a rosary.
I had subconsciously been looking for one for about a year, but whilst I wandering through famous cathedrals and churches, checked out websites and eBay, I never really saw anything beautiful that I connected with.
Then last week I did.
And it was lovely.
Not your average, conventional Catholic format though. Until the other day it didn’t even have a crucifix attached. I still loved how it looked, but it didn’t seem right without one, so the guy who made it for me sent me a matching cross to add, gratis, bless his heart.
Now it looks perfect.
I pick it up and admire it all the time. Pinch the cruciforms. Run the cool, dappled stones through my fingers. Ball it in my hand and press it close to my heart.
But I don’t know how to pray with it.
For someone who believes in a God, I’m certainly not great at having a dialogue with him/her/it.
It’s the same with meditation. I own all the paraphernalia but in reality I’m full of shit.
As with many things I talk the talk, but cannot bring myself to walk the walk.
Conventional Christians please look away now, because I don’t want to offend you!
When I was a kid, we were taught to pray as a duty and/or a penance, so it was never a pleasure or a respite from the world let alone a dialogue with the Almighty. We just babbled words parrot fashion under the steely eye of some embattled, bitter old bag of a nun who you knew was just itching for you to laugh, so that she could give you a smack upside the head. Not that it stopped us. I was bored. An hour or so is a long time for a kid to keep quiet whilst standing up, sitting down, kneeling down intermittently, and I lost count of how many times me and my friend were kicked out of mass for tittering away at some pompous, holier than thou twat or other, posturing in the pews.
I also have to say that, back in the day, I never ever felt the presence of God in church. But in all fairness, it’s not like we were properly introduced. It was all about us being unworthy, lowly sinners, who had to bow and scrape, kneel down on the cold floor and try and keep our bony little arses still on that slippery, artfully cheek numbing bench to make up for JC being nailed to the cross because we were such rubbish human beings.
No one explained the prayers to us, what the words meant let alone assuring us that we were allowed to have a direct relationship with God. I mean, c’mon, how would a working class, snot nosed little scrap like me know what ‘fruit of thy womb’ meant? No one would have told us what a womb was, because that was to do with ‘the facts of life’ (said in hushed tones in case a passing penis might overhear), and even if we knew, what had fruit to do with it?! I don’t even think our parents understood either. We might as well have been reciting the phone book.
So when the day came that I was old enough to rebel, I immediately refused to go to mass. My father had never gone, my brother was let off the hook a few week prior, so there was no way I was going to go back. As far as I was concerned, my local church was largely populated with nasty, small minded hypocrites that bitched/gossiped about/hit one another 6 days a week, then on the 7th rocked up clutching their plastic beads, faces devoid of make up (unless it was disguising a pending black eye), every trace of the booze they had swigged at the pub the night before ruthlessly erased by toothpaste, beaming with holiness, all sweetness and light, simpering away in front of the priest. As for him (the priest that is, not God) if he was so frigging holy, how come he didn’t spot them a mile off and pull them up about it?
Religion? You could keep it.
Yes, even at that age, I was a judgemental little mare. 🙂
It took me some years to realise that religion and God were two very separate entities indeed.
Hence here I am, with my rosary and no instructions manual.
And I doubt I can do the old Hail Mary/Our Father routine. I think both of them know what and where they are so they don’t need me to keep banging on about it.
And am I meant to kneel like I used to?
It’s a mystery.
I think I’m going to have to make up my own words and routine.
The last time I was faced with the prospect of writing my own prayer was when I was doing the Artists Way last year and I found it too cringy to even contemplate, but here we are again, and this time there’s no avoiding it.
So I will do it.
But not now.
As Meatloaf once said, with a sweaty passion, quite inappropriate for this subject matter, ‘Let me sleep on it, Baby, Baby, let me sleep on it’.
I’ll give it a go in the morning.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share this superb version of the ‘Sinners Prayer’ by BB King and Ray Charles, when they cry out to the Lord because they are down on their luck, and apologise for any wrong doing because they want to be in the money again.
Shallow, yes? But hell, unlike some of the mealy mouthed, sycophantic wankers I once shared a pew with, a least they’re being honest.
As will I. Because now I get to choose how I conduct my spiritual life.
And pray for me and my prayer.
If you know what I mean.