What is this pile of rosaries doing on the Lutheran’s blog? Has she lost it? 🙂
Did you know that Lutheran Rosaries are a thing? News to me. My oldest daughter asked me about them, so I pulled out my jewelry box today and showed her the rosaries I had, explaining how they work, what prayers are said on each bead. (I admit that after almost 21 years out of the Roman church, I needed to look up a few things – this is the site I went to.) The one thing I couldn’t find easily was what the medal between the small section with the crucifix and the 5 decades meant. So I asked my friend, Ariana, who is my go-to on all things Roman Catholic these days. She said that the medal is where you would say the Hail Holy Queen (and that the subject of the medal has to do with the type of rosary it is).
As soon as I read that, the prayer popped into my mind. Again, I haven’t been Roman Catholic in over 21 years – haven’t prayed the rosary in even longer. But I used to go to daily mass throughout junior high, followed by the rosary, every day. I went to Mass with my Busia every day as a very young child and we stayed for the rosary, too – often in Polish. I know I occasionally prayed it on my own as well. But to be able to remember a good 90% of the prayer was shocking to me. All those years of repetition tucked it into my memory, obviously to stay with some permanence!
So what does this have to do with my non-Roman life? The liturgy! Daily prayers! Hymns! Sure, it’s great to have some variety in life, but there’s such a treasure in repetition, too! Our congregation uses the “old school” page 15 liturgy weekly out of The Lutheran Hymnal – the hymnal that was published 75 years ago! We have visitors who come to church because they’re in the area or visiting family, and most of the time we hear some variation of “I remember this from my childhood!” In times of crisis when books might not be at the ready, your memory is (hopefully) still there. What a comfort it is to fall back on the prayers of your youth, the prayers of your Church. When we were in the hospital awaiting Sebastian’s arrival and then after his birth, our dear pastor sang hymns with us that I was able to sing along with because they were familiar from use, again and again, in church. When the pastor sang a hymn (Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart – TLH # 429) while the kids were meeting the baby, Geof and I were able to sing along, and our friend who had kept the kids for us while we were at the hospital was able to join in now and then amidst tears. This wasn’t a planned concert – we hadn’t been preparing for our choral debut for months. But it was ingrained in our memory. In sharing that video with a friend, she was surprised that I knew the words by heart as she wasn’t familiar with the hymn at all (though I’m sure she is familiar with the library of songs and hymns that are common in her church – just a different selection than what our churches used).
This is what I hope to pass along to our children. They know the prayers we’ve said every night together since they were growing in my womb – the Sign of the Cross, The Apostles’ Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, Luther’s Evening Prayer. They can all sing the liturgy without needing to turn to page 15. I’m sure they’ll have favorite passages of Scripture memorized, and they’re learning the catechism by heart through the confirmation process. These are things that will stay with them forever, to call upon in times of trouble, times of joy, times of worry and sorrow, and lest Christ returns first, at the end of their lives. May they always spring to mind as easily as the prayers of my childhood – in two languages – spring to mine, even if they haven’t been recalled in decades.