For Carmen Lappe, the Rosary has become a way to turn to the Blessed Mother for care and protection as we strive for holiness.
I was recently sharing with a friend some of the struggles I’ve been facing as a mom. Particularly, how our children seem to straighten up and snap to attention with their father, but have no problem pushing boundaries and buttons, with me—their mom. Her response was one I’ve heard numerous times, but am always grateful to be reminded of. She said, “Mom is always the ‘safe space’ where kids know they’re unconditionally loved and cared for.”
Why such a stark difference, do you suppose? Of course, there’s the physical differences of size, stature, and tone of voice between mom and dad. Perhaps your children, like mine, spend significantly more time with their mom and so become comfortable, even complacent, in your presence. Or maybe it’s ingrained in their nature from the very beginning.
It got me thinking about Mary, the mother of God, and the spiritual mother for us all. Do we see Mary as our safe space? Do we know we are loved and cared for beyond measure with her, as well? Do we rely on her maternal care and protection as we strive for holiness?
Growing up, I knew Mary was important, but I never asked for her intercession; I never knew just how eagerly she waited for us, her spiritual children, to call upon her so she could guide us to her Son. I vividly remember sitting at my grandmother’s dining room table surrounded by wires and beads as she crafted homemade rosaries. I loved watching her fingers nimbly string together beads of every color, but I was clueless as to what this “necklace” was and why it was important, and I remained that way until I was 26 years old.
While on our honeymoon in Rome, my husband and I found ourselves in a gift shop on the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica. Next to the doorway, gleaming in the hot, morning sunlight, was a display of handmade rosaries. While I didn’t know how to pray the Rosary, I selected one, and promised to learn this devout prayer practiced by the faithful through the ages.
A few short weeks later, my husband’s internal audit assignment as an accountant had begun, and I found myself alone more often than not as his work took him away during the week. During one particularly lonely evening, I laid down to go to sleep and turned toward my nightstand. Lying there was the rosary from our honeymoon in Italy, its pink beads calling out to me.
A quick Google search produced a wealth of information for this ancient prayer and how one might begin a closer walk with Jesus through Mary. After awkwardly stumbling through the prayers for the first time, I made it my goal to sit with my rosary every night before going to sleep. Before long, I had cultivated a new habit and with it, an abiding sense of peace.
I still need a cheat sheet to guide me through some of the mysteries, and I don’t turn to Mary nearly as often as I should. But I am grateful for the repetition and rhythm that, quite literally, lulls me into contemplation when words otherwise fail. Isn’t that just like a mother? Knowing what you need before you even ask and taking care of it.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sing at the funeral vigil for a gentleman I knew a number of years ago. As the time for sharing memories opened, I was struck by the first story offered by a relative of the deceased. She said, “When Timmy was little, he was a mama’s boy. He was always clinging to her leg and following her wherever she went. He loved his mama.”
What if we had the same relationship with our spiritual mother, Mary? What if we clung to her desperately, wanting always to be as close to her as possible? She yearns for that; she desires to draw us all closer to her Son and His divine peace. As this month celebrating the Most Holy Rosary draws to a close, let us become like children, clinging to our mother and entrusting our desires and cares to Her son, through her intercession.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Copyright 2022 Carmen Lappe
Images: blue rosary photo copyright 2022 Carmen Lappe, all rights reserved; all others Canva
About the Author
Carmen is a wife and mother of two in midwestern Iowa. She has a Master of Arts degree in Sacred Theology and has a special passion for writing about the grace of motherhood. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and exploring breweries and baseball stadiums across the country.