Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
I take up my battered rosary from where it has lain unloved.
It does not reproach me for its neglect but welcomes my touch.
The wood is warm and instantly alive in my hands.
Each bead is a world: the earth, a planet which was created,
Small but significant in the order of the universe
God, holding it all in the palm of his hand – precious.
Each bead is an atom, an elementary particle, an electron, a quark,
So small it seems enormous, because of the extent of the nothing that surrounds it,
The unimaginable complexity within.
It is the thing which is not nothing, the shaper of the void.
Each bead is a rock, an isle, a moon, a sun, a galaxy,
A star in the night sky, a grain of sand on the sea shore.
The rope is the connection between all things.
The bond between atoms,
The genes which connect me to my parents, my ancestors,
Ancient species long extinct and to my children.
The relationships between us.
My love for my fellow man, my wife.
The chain that links me to my enemy and my friend,
The man who is my neighbour – the next bead.
The wood of the Cross – it is soft but enduring;
I can mark it with the nail of a finger.
It becomes the true wood of the true cross,
A relic which is more than a symbol,
Because Jesus was here, living on earth, physically real.
And he suffered, bled and was killed here, dying on earth.
The prayer is ancient, foreign, half unknown
I say it with the reverence of a guest in a stranger’s house.
I see the holy family: God, Jesus, Mary
Mary is my representative,
The Lord is with her – she is full of His Grace,
As she is blessed so I count my blessings
Jesus is the fruit of her womb.
Her real, physical womb,
Because Jesus was a real, physical man.
Mary is special,
She is holy because she has said “yes” to God,
Becoming the mother of God,
Bringing God into the world
We ask her to pray for us – just as others ask us to pray for them.
We are all sinners – now and at the hour of our death.
Each bead becomes a sin,
A weakness, a fault,
A missed opportunity,
A jealous thought,
An angry word,
And at the end of all the sins is the cross
It is the very end of sin,
The symbol of self-sacrifice and redemption,
The means of grace and the hope of glory.
Chris Hancock, Passiontide 2014