Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Lassoed by the Holy Rosary

The Holy Rosary is one of the favorite and popular devotions in the Roman Catholic Church. It gives victory to the Church in times of crisis especially in dispelling heresies during the middle ages, and triumph against the Mohammedans when Rome was threatened during the reign of Pope St. Pius V. This devotion is also a powerful armor against the devil by instilling in our minds on what our savior did to us, and through the help of his mother to keep us closer in His heart. This prayer is also very powerful in times of need and necessities. This powerful devotion also helps us to meditate on its mysteries of our Salvation through the help of his mother who points s to his son to do whatever he tells us. (John 2: 5), through her example of accepting the Word made flesh in her life, and sharing the good news of salvation to others, in visitation, and to ponder and keeping everything that happen to her and her son in  her heart. This devotion really serves as my strong connection between my God through some of my experiences in the powers of my rosary.

 This rosary that I am holding in this picture is one of the gift I received from my officemate before in my first job. She gave me a Benedictine rosary from Italy. Whenever I gazed upon this powerful prayer, tears began to run in my eyes as it brings back some of the memories I had when some of my family members shared some of my childhood memories about it, some favors and graces I received, and the maternal love of the blessed mother that it really transforms me to be a better and a strong Catholic. Whenever I recall these experiences, it  realy feel me blessed and guided my our mother who really brings us close to her son and embracing us in times of comfort, just as a mother comforts her child.

I recall when my mother used to tell me, that when I was in her womb, she used to pray a lot, and always keeping a rosary in her pocket. Wherever she goes, even though she is just lying in bed, she used to hold it and never let it loose in her hand. She used to pray a lot on that time and among our siblings, I was the only one who really draws her more to be more religious and prayerful on that time. It helps her more to understand her faith and having a peace of mind in times of difficulty. My aunt used to tell me when I was an infant on that time, when my grandmother put two objects on which I am going to choose, whether it is a Php. 10.00 bill or a rosary. If I choose the paper bill, I will be a businessman, if I picked the rosary, I would be a priest. I picked up the rosary and she exclaimed, "Ay! Magpapari iyan!" (AY! She will be become a priest!) Although it is funny story, but I realized that there is something that God stored for me even before I was born. Like Prophet Jeremiah who was consecrated in her mother's womb.
This devotion that has been taught by my grandparents, became my habit during my elementary days. I used to bring the rosary in school, and I feel uncomfortable if I do not have a rosary in my pocket. My teacher was used to call me to lead the recitation of the rosary everyday, because I was the only one who has a rosary  among the students and know how to recite it. Because of that habit, I won the affection of my teachers, which some of my classmates began feel a little bit jealous on me. Aside getting their affection, I got the highest grade in religion, because I got the perfect score in quizzes and exams when it comes to writing the formula prayers, especially the prayers in the rosary. This prayer is also my companion. During lunch break, I used to pray the rosary together with my other classmates in adoration chapel. I really feel peace and calmness whenever I pray. I also feel that there is an unseen arms that taps my shoulder and embraces me as I sit down and pray.
When I was High School, this rosary  serves as my strength in times of trouble and difficulty. It really slowly forms my vocation to be a priest. Because of this prayer, it really slowly understand my faith and my vocation on that time becomes stronger. This prayer also draws me to serve as an altar boy for five years. When I entered in college, the rosary became my companion and my strength in times of trials. I remembered that I almost did not able to graduate from college, due to financial problem in payment of my graduation fees. My mom and I prayed the rosary and asking our Lady to send someone who could lend us some money in order to pay my graduation expenses. After we pray, one of our neighbor knocked on our door and informed us that there is someone who could lend us some money, to help us in our problem. We were filled with joy on that time and we thanked God and Mama Mary for this blessing. I also remember that when I headed home after my class, I was short in my budget for the fare. I was confused on that time how can I reached home. On the way to Sta. Rosa, Laguna, I prayed the rosary and asked for help. As I reached waltermart Sta Rosa at 11:00 PM, I waited at the tricycle and thinking that I will wake up my mom to pay the tricycle driver as I reached home. A woman approached me and told me, "Sabay ka na sa akin pauwi." (Join me as I headed home). I was blessed on that very moment. As it seems I am going to pay, the woman told me that she will be the one who pay the are. As I entered in my room. I knelt down at my altar and thanked Our Lady for this favor I asked. When my grandparents died, darkness began to enveloped me. They are the one who taught me to pray and lived on my faith as a Catholic like them. Most of the reactions of the sympathizers during the wake, that they died peacefully. My grandfather died on the stroke on October 19, 2004, while my grandmother died two months afterward on January 5, 2005 on a cardiac arrest. I recall one of the promises of the Blessed Mother to St.Dominic that those who faithfully will not die a bad death (#6). Truly the Blessed Mother, granted the grace of a holy death to them.  

After college, I entered in the Order of Servants of Mary (OSM) on the Solemnity of Pentecost, May 15, 2005. Because I was young on that time, my superiors decided that I should leave. Although I had a vocation, but it is not a proper time for me to undergo formation. I need to expose more outside. They told me that they expected that I would not reached the rite of acceptance in pre-novitiate, but it seems that God's ways is working within me, I was able to reached my pre-novitiate. I left the seminary on November 16, 2005. I was lost, devastated, and confused. I began to complain God why he let this happen to me. As I went out, I met some of the Iglesia Ni Cristo brethren, who consoled me and taught me their doctrines. As I get along with them, I began to be an anti-catholic and criticizing the Catholic Faith. I began to neglect and even reject the rosary and spent my time in spontaneous prayers due to the teachings I learned from them. But because I still believed in the divinity of Christ and I reject the exclusivity of salvation, thankfully, I was not baptized. Longing and confusion still darkens my life on that time.
 Sparks of hope began in my life on May 2006. When there is a strong urge within me to pray at our chapel. I only brought is my rosary. Neither my cellphone, wallet, my Bible, and even a bag, but only a rosary. There was a mayflower activity on that time. It seems that there is a lasso that pulls me to kneel in the pew and pray. Tears began to run in my eyes. I could not explain why I am crying. I just realized that as I finished my rosary. One of the youth members in our chapel approached me. She was happy to see me and invited me to join in LCM (Lectors and Commentators Ministry). She called Bro. Jimmy Estera, the president on that time, and he encourages me to attend the seminar, trainings and meetings. I accepted their offer. Although there is still a struggle in my faith, God is really shedding His light in my dark moments, although I missed sometimes in reciting the rosary, God still blessed me with a lot of opportunities and aiding my needs. The rosary that I rejected before became a lasso that pulls me back to Christ and His true Church..the Catholic Church. Truly, Mama Mary lead me to her son, and she really comfort me in times of darkness and sorrow. Just as a mother comforts her son and carries him in her lap, so the Mother of God comforts me and carries me in her arms and it feels me secure and safe.
Today, the rosary is my daily habit until right now. This is my prayer before I read at the mass, especially the mystery of annunciation, where Mama Mary humbly accepts and obey the word incarnate in  her life. It is a must for a lector like me to accept His word with humility and obedience, so that Jesus will be seen in my words and actions. As I contemplated my life, I could say that my life is full of mysteries, like the mysteries of the Rosary. In this world, we experience joy and surprises. But as we go along our way, we encountered sorrows that it inflict pains in our lives, but as we endure it, we look forward to the glory that awaits us in heaven, where there is no more pain and suffering, death and sorrow. But for now, as we journey in this world, we need a light that guides us in order to reach this glory that awaits us. It is like a water that I cannot live without. I feel thirst whenever I missed praying my daily rosary. This devotion is also my source of strength in times of difficulty by meditating on the mysteries of the Son of God who became flesh and dwelt among us. Truly, the rosary is a lassoed that it draws us closer to Christ through His mother who comforts us and guides us to her son and His true family he established, which is His Church.  

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