I had just returned from an RCIA retreat last Sunday (5th April). It was my first time attending such an event cos' as a cradle Catholic I was baptised just a month after I was born. I also received the other Sacraments one at a time, at the appropriate age of my childhood, teenage and adult life.
God truly answer prayers. As a cradle Catholic who doesn't know much, God sent me to this retreat as I had recently prayed to understand my faith more deeply.
What started out as a favour to my relative Kerry-Ann (who's conversion story will be featured here soon, I hope), He turned it around as His Favour to me.
You see Kerry-Ann's Godmother and sponsor could not make it for the retreat and she needed someone to stand proxy. I agreed.
To cut a long story short, we were in Port Dickson from April 3-5, and I was reminded of the beauty of the Holy Eucharist, through a video of the few Eucharistic miracles in Italy. I felt so blessed to have personally visited the one in Lanciano (itself an adventure on its own) when Patrick and I backpacked around Italy back in 2004.
I also experienced a very short version of the Ignatian Exercise which I had wanted to attend many a times at the Marantha Retreat centre but somehow missed it due to something or other.
But what I really needed as a Catholic, and which was not even part of the retreat's main "menu" was my attention towards praying the Rosary.
You see, during the retreat, some of the facilitators were learning how to make knotted rosaries to keep themselves busy while Fr OC Lim was conducting the sessions. However, their enthusiasm in making the rosaries soon caught Fr OC's attention and ours.
For me personally, I was hooked. At every break, I would try to learn a little more how to make them. I even persuaded one of the facilitators to let me try a few knots on her piece. Unfortunately, because it became like a distraction to the class, most of the time, the few of us who became knotted rosary "junkies" had to cut short the lessons, when the sessions resumed.
I think it was all God's plan. Growing up in a lapsed Catholic home until my dad returned to the Church when I was a teenager, praying the Rosary to me, was something my grandmother and late grandfather did well. That, coupled with the fact that I somehow always just prayed to Jesus or My dearest Abba directly, made the Rosary less significant in my faith journey.
However, I can see that God has been trying to draw me to it. One of His many strategies was getting me hitched to Patrick my husband. Pat can recite the Rosary extremely well, thanks to his mother Clara Ferns, who brought him up well as a good Catholic boy.
This is great for me, as I can then simply bluff my way through when praying together with him. During parts that I don't know I just go silent especially some parts of the Apostle's Creed (I know, I know, shameful, right?), the Hail Holy Queen, Let Us Pray and Memorare.
Pat even memorises the Litany... while I still can't remember well which days are for what Mysteries and definitely not know what the mysteries are, decade to decade. Of course, Pat knows them all by-heart (perhaps, not the Luminous Mysterious - which had been newly introduced).
His other ways of drawing me to praying the Rosary in the past were:
Allowing me to witness deliverance from evil spirits through the praying of Rosary.
My personal experience of an evil force releasing me as I prayed the Rosary in my mind, while it gaged me.
My grandparents' strong devotion to praying to Mother Mary by reciting the Rosary morning and night.
My friends Victor and Joanne who own a business call Rosary Hub.
And many more to mention....
Now the fantastic news is - after learning to make the knotted rosary (picture above is my handywork) I've been praying it regularly. I am also making an effort to memorize those prayers that I have yet to commit to memory.
If you are a typical cradle Catholic who fits the ignorant about Praying The Rosary bill like me, perhaps learning how to make these knotted rosaries might be the antidote.
I would love to hold sessions to teach it. Maybe as a fundraiser for our St Thomas More building fund. We really need all the help we can to build us a visible place of worship. Let me know, yes!
Mother Mary, I hope we can start afresh this year, building a lifelong relationship together. Thank you for bringing back to your loving embrace. Amen!
Your Prodigal Daughter,
Update: To see my collection since then till Dec 09 - visit: Creative Catholics and click Cradle Creations from the Directory of Merchants....