“Mary is a window through which humanity first catches a glimpse of Divinity on earth. Or perhaps, she is more like a magnifying glass that intensifies our love for her Son, and makes our prayers more bright and burning.” – Arch. Fulton Sheen

WHENEVER troubled and lost, I dig into my pocket, pinching a string of beads to whisper a prayer. With the serenity it brings, I have made praying the rosary a habit. The rosary is like life to me, it has full of mysteries, full of stories. I breathe out my problems to the Blessed Mother and things would start to feel light.

That habit started in my high school years in a private, sectarian academy. With the promise of a Catholic formation, my parents thought that my new school would mold me into a good Christian who knows how to bear life’s trials with virtue and prayer.

My new, conservative school came as a culture shock to me. At first, I felt lost with all the religious practices. I almost flunked my Church History subject, rarely attended first Friday Masses, and perfunctorily recited my prayers. The whole routine of being an “ideal” Catholic did not appeal to me, more so the apparent parody of the sacraments.

Catholic spirituality seemed like a vicious cycle, giving me no choice but to voluntarily swallow my pride and inevitably go with the flow. Until the prayer habit, especially the rosary began to make sense.

Hardships and failures struck me during my sophomore year. My parents separated, I lost my grandfather, and my grades were too low. Since my mom’s salary was insufficient to make both ends meet, we were forced to sell the family car to raise money for my schooling. Things were turning worse, but I had no one to unload my burdens, until one of the school’s priests approached me.

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Mary, full of grace

During our conversation, the priest reminded me of the struggles Mother Mary endured while her Son was being persecuted, and how she remained steadfast amid her painful adversities. Only then did I realize that my miserable situation was not even close to what the Mother of God suffered. She survived it all while I was nearly breaking down.

He then encouraged me to pray the rosary. As I meditated upon each mystery of the rosary, the pictures of Mama Mary’s painful life witnessing Christ’s misery and death began playing in my mind like the scenes in a movie. I realized that I was never alone in my struggles and that there was someone I could always run to through life’s thick and thin; that my God passed through suffering too

With the Holy Rosary in my pocket, it is as if I always carry Mary with me, anticipating my embrace as she tries to make all my pains subside. With the refuge and shelter she offers, I know I would never get lost no matter what.

PRAYER: Dearest Virgin Mary, help me realize that no yoke will come to me that I cannot bear. In times of weakness and drawbacks, give me the strength you showed when Jesus Christ was being persecuted. Continue to intercede for us during these troubled times and bless us with your motherly love, strength, and guidance. Amen. Andrew Isiah P. Bonifacio

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