Pray With It, Don’t Play With It

Madonna. Joanna Krupa. David Beckham. Lindsey Lohan. Spoiled Beverly Hills children of privilege. Jamie Fox. Dennis Rodman. Drug dealers and gang members. Thousands of school kids throughout America.

What do all these people have in common?

They believe that a Rosary is a fashion accessory. Dolce and Gabanna even offers a $175 ‘must have’ set for the trendsetters.Unfortunately, the Rosary has entered the mainstream world as a piece of ornamentation.  This ‘phenomenon’ has percolated down to cheap, oversized, gold-plated trinkets that adorn countless students as they saunter from class to class. But how many of the fashionistas know what it is they are wearing around their necks? Do they care that they offend a lot of Catholics every day? Why are we as Catholics not expressing our outrage?

The Rosary has been part of Catholic life since the twelfth century when The Blessed Mother presented it to St. Dominic, and promised that if he would spread the devotion, his order would prosper. It did, and – more importantly for most Catholics – the Rosary became a cornerstone of Catholic prayer life.

In 1917, Mary spoke to the children at Fatima, calling on them to “Pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world . . . for she alone can save it.” Today at the Shrine of Fatima, the Holy Father explains the value of the Rosary aptly:

“The recitation of the rosary allows us to fix our gaze and our hearts upon Jesus, just like his Mother, the supreme model of contemplation of the Son,” he explained. “[…] [L]et us contemplate the intimate participation of Mary in the mystery of our life in Christ today, a life which is also made up of joy and sorrow, of darkness and light, of fear and hope.”

The rosary is part of a  Catholic prayer life and a tool for devotion. While there is nothing wrong with owning a Rosary that is intricate or a work of art, it’s purpose it to aid us in the meditation of the devotion Mary bestowed on us. By relegating it to a fashion accessory, a trinket that can be bought on the corners of New York, secularists are humanizing something sacred. In doing so, they are striking a blow at the faith we hold. While this trend is not actively profaning our symbols, it is an example of how the secularists seek to destroy religion as an institution by ‘de-powering’ them. Think about it; when the Rosary becomes so commonplace that it loses meaning, a vital element of our Faith is taken by secularists and turned into a adornment at best.

And the saddest part of this farce? The untold number of people who wear the Rosary without considering for a second that it is not simply the latest ‘must have’ accessory. One can argue that the Graces of Mary can influence even those who wear her rosary in ignorance – and that is likely true. But not the point. The point is the obvious double-standard in our society.

The liberal is quick to attack anything that trivializes their values. Criticize gay marriage and you are insensitive. Erect a cross honoring the war dead in the Mojave National Park and you are violating the ‘separation of church and state’.  Protest abortion and you are violating human rights. But wearing a symbol sacred to Catholics? No problem. Float a crucifix in urine? Sure – that’s art. Sculpt a chocolate Christ – complete with genitalia just in time for Easter. What a clever idea. Getting the picture yet? It’s funny when the Catholic is ridiculed. And if we are offended, we need to ‘get over it – you’re being judgmental.’

Throughout history, the Rosary has experienced boom and bust phases. Interestingly, at the same time it is being perverted for secular ornamentation, more Catholics are returning to this simple and beautiful devotion. There is hope, however. Groups like the Rosary Army and Real Men Pray the Rosary are helping educate Catholics, bringing us back to the promises made to Dominic and the children of Fatima. The promises that are ours to claim.

A lot of those ‘celebrities’ are pretty miserable – maybe they should try praying the Rosary instead of showing it off.

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