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Seek the Lord while He may be found!

A Real Treasure, The Rosary Beads

Rosary3Father Robert Greene, a Maryknoll missionary in China, in the 1950’s, one of the heroes of my early Priesthood, found himself in a desperate situation.  Imprisoned by the Chinese Communists, he sat on the bare ground of his cell with none of his religious possessions.  The Communists had stripped him of everything.  With foresight, the priest had put a small part of a Consecrated Host in a match box.  With no Rosary beads, he broke five match sticks in halves to form a decade.

With these sticks on the table before him, Father Greene would offer his Rosary to his Heavenly Mother.  After a Hail Mary, he would move a stick to the other side of the table.  At times, when I find saying my Rosary difficult because of repetition and distractions, I adopt his method.

With the ten sticks before me, I pretend I am in a Chinese prison, desperate for consolation and courage.  My prayers take on a new intensity and meaning.  Maybe, all of us might try this way of prayer in times of dryness.  Father Greene came home, safe and sound.

Perhaps, we are overlooking the value of the Rosary, our prayer beads, sometimes called the “Apron Strings of our Mother Mary.”  For myself, I need to break up the Rosary by saying one decade in the morning and the others through the day at different times.  In this way, I pray the beads with more meaning and fewer distractions.  Learn the Mysteries.

Another use of the Rosary beads has helped my prayer life immensely.  When I’m sitting in Church or waiting in a doctor’s office, I finger my beads and put a short prayer on each one.  Impossible to be distracted!  Some examples of such prayers are, “Lord, help me to live today”, “My Jesus, mercy”, “Mary, be my mother.”  This method of making up my own prayers deepens my union with God.

So, treasure our Rosary beads.  As we lie in death in our coffin, a Rosary will be entwined in our fingers.  Carry it with us at all times.  Tell the children the power of this prayer of the Church.  If we can only say one decade a day, do this.  In five days, we will have said the Rosary. 

Try making up your own prayers on the beads.  Your children would enjoy such a creative way to talk to God.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

January 24, 2015 - Posted by | Bulletins | , ,


  1. Interesting blog post. I have become acquainted with many Christians imprisoned for their faith, and what held them together mentally was staying close to God through prayer. Also, many have claimed that it was the power of the body of Christ praying for them specifically while they were imprisoned. Pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned for his faith in Iran today, has felt the prayers of God’s people as he went through many beatings and torture. He is a Christian who converted from Islam. They have tried hard through torture to get him to recant his faith, but he will not. He ministers to the other prisoners there sharing the good news of the gospel. Many others have come to faith in Christ. And although many radicals in the prison have threatened to kill him, as of today, 2 1/2 yrs. later, he still lives. I believe the only reason why he is alive is because God is Sovereign, it is not His time to go, God has protected him. Upon being brought out of solitary confinement a year ago, because so many were praying for him, his face and countenance was one of complete peace. He was like Stephen as he was being stoned, he had the face of an angel, people have said he was radiant. We must never estimate the wonderful avenue of drawing close to God through prayer. He gave us this gift and He wants to be in fellowship with us. While I do not pray the rosary anymore, I do pray specifically about all things constantly. I am thankful that our God never tires from our requests but He delights in it. He is all powerful, His supply is endless. In knowing this fact, we never have to feel like we ask too much. As stated in Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Also in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” For this is God’s will for you! Wow, so if it is His will, we must petition our King! Thanks for your blog post, keep on writing!

    Comment by Kathleen Martin | January 24, 2015 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George! I love this post! I love the ideas of using the beads in a different way, to talk to God. I have read in the story of the Divine Mercy that Jesus told St. Faustina to talk to him in her own words – and that he would listen. I don’t know why, but that seems awkward to me – using structured prayer seems easier for some reason. Maybe starting out with your suggestion to say even one simple phrase on each bead will help me overcome this sense of awkwardness.

    Before I returned to attending Mass, but after I had met you (twice in Midway airport chapel) I would say the Rosary over the phone to my mom while she was recuperating from her very complicated hip surgery in 2008. And I grew to really know all of the mysteries – because, truthfully, I didn’t know about the mysteries associated – I had never learned them or if I did (as a child) I had forgotten. Now, I try to say the Rosary every day, often say it on a car ride or love saying it when walking the dogs – out in nature, it takes on deeper meaning. I have an ‘app’ on my phone (Laudate – free to download) and I can listen to someone say the rosary and the various mysteries with associated Gospel segments – and I say the prayers with ‘her’ …. it is very nice!

    Thank you, again, for a wonderful blog post and for ministering to us via this virtual method – God Bless you and your family who help you keep this blog going!

    Love you!


    Comment by nancywest22 | January 26, 2015 | Reply

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