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Hanging a Rosary

Can you tell me a little bit about the rosary? Oh, and is hanging a rosary in your car a bad thing? Some people say yes and some say no. What do you think? What does the Church say?

I’ll bet there are a lot of people who want to know “the answer” to this question…so I’m glad you asked it.

Let me begin by asking you two questions of my own:

What is the purpose of the rosary?
What is the purpose of your rosary?

Both Mary and Jesus would rather have you praying it, than “thinking about it”.

Notice the distinction between the two questions…

The first is asking about the form of prayer, the second about your actual rosary beads (prayer aide/device).

The Rosary – a very brief overview

The Rosary is the most famous and most popular chaplet that we have as Catholics. A chaplet is a prayer devotion that commonly utilizes beads, it comes from a French word for “wreath” or “crown”.

While the structure and devotion of the rosary has its roots with the “desert fathers”, it is St. Dominic who is historically credited with giving the structured gift of the Rosary to the greater Church.

In the Rosary we meditate on the life of Christ, gazing upon Him through the lens and window of Mary’s soul. Since She is our Blessed Mother, gifted to us from His Cross (Jn. 19:27), it makes perfect sense that we would seek to look upon Christ in such an intimate and sinless way, as She does.

The rosary draws us into more perfect discipleship, and focuses our prayer on the Trinity.

The purpose of the Rosary

It might be difficult for you to pray the rosary, because of the repetition of the prayers. I’ll be honest with you, even though I pray it daily, it can still be tough for me sometimes. Repetition can have a soothing effect. The rhythm can be both a good thing and a bad thing (if you’re like me). I have to work very hard to stay focused. Kneeling helps.

That being said, it is a great gift. All prayer is directed to the Father, through Jesus Christ. The Rosary is directed to Christ, guided by His mother.

We should be thankful for the guided, Scriptural prayers (the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be), always. They help us pray. At times they are all I can verbalize, when I’m too tired, distracted or too much in pain to muster anything else, of my own.

And remember, we must always keep in mind Jesus’ warning not to let our prayers become repetitious babbling or empty phrases (Mt. 6:7). Sometimes it helps to recite the prayers more slowly, to insure we are praying and not just saying the prayers.

What you do with your rosary?

As for your question about “whether or not you should/can put your rosary around your rear view mirror?” Yes, you can…it’s not against Church teaching, or anything like that.

I’m sure some people reading this will take offense to my saying that. If that’s the case, I have a long list of priests and bishops who do it (I’ve ridden in their cars)…email them, first, okay?

It’s not wrong or sacrilegious to hang a rosary around your rear view mirror. What is often sacrilegious are the language and gestures that people (with rosaries around their mirrors) use while stuck in traffic or after being cut off.

If you choose to put one around your mirror, realize why you are doing it. It’s not a “good luck charm” to keep you out of accidents (although you should always pray when you get in a car). It’s not a symbol. It is a statement. It is a reminder. It is an invitation. It reminds you to drive Catholic. It reminds you to treat others around you like Christ is in them (‘cause He is). It is an invitation for people to have their beliefs or misconceptions about the Catholic Church affirmed or proved false, by your example.

Here’s the thing, if you’re really praying the rosary, you probably won’t want it around you rear view mirror. It’s better off in your pocket, backpack or purse.

Mary doesn’t want to be a decoration, She wants to be a Servant, a helpmate and handmaid, Who constantly, actively points you back to Her Son, Jesus.

Both Mary and Jesus would rather have you praying it, than “thinking about it”.

I’d suggest, putting one around the mirror (possibly one that isn’t blessed) and carrying one that is blessed with you, at all times. Pray it frequently. In addition, have your house and car blessed (if they’re not, yet).

If you have a rosary around your rear view, don’t fret. You’re not in trouble.

If you want to put one around the mirror, go for it. But be sure you’re praying it, first.

If you don’t want to put one around the mirror that’s fine, too, but ask yourself, is it because you’re embarrassed? Is it because you don’t want the accountability or because you don’t think it’s right, personally? Think it through.

Possibly the best thing to keep in mind about God has nothing to do with the rear view mirror, but the side view…God is closer than He appears.


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