The other reason I never told them was because they had a problem with anyone who was "too religious." So for the next thirteen years I prayed the Rosary every night in secret. Whatever fears I had as a youngster or concerns as a teenager I would give to Jesus as I "prayed the beads." Mary even taught me how to avoid nightmares through prayer.
Then I went to college, left the Catholic Church, blah blah blah...
Several years after college I found my Rosary beads from my 1st Holy Communion in a box of "collectibles". I immediately had a desire to pray the Rosary. All my misplaced concerns about taking away from Jesus were instantly gone. The only problem was that I couldn't remember the Creed, the Mysteries or the Hail Mary. It was a long 6 years since I had last done so. I tried to will myself to remember, but after working up a sweat, feeling like a complete failure and a total pagan I called my friend, Birdie. She always prayed the Rosary. She refreshed my mind, and it was like riding a bike again! I felt young, alive, happy and even a bit holy.
Within a few months I was in seminary where I once again had to pray the Rosary clandestinely with 5 or 6 other brave souls. Had we been "caught" we would have been labeled as too pious. This is not just speculation. One of the men in the seminary was dismissed because he was too pious and too conservative. For the five years of my formation in seminary we would sneak down to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel several nights a week to pray the Rosary together. We knew no one would catch us there, as we visited Jesus in exile.
What a sweet and life-giving gift a devotion to the Rosary has been for me from those early days and throughout the 25 years of my priesthood.
The Feast of the Assumption is not only a part of this devotion, but it is also the source of vision and hope. I read the Book of Revelation and find there our Mother, crowned with Stars. The vision She offers is one of sharing in the Power of Her Son's resurrection. With glorious apocalyptic images we see a world of hopes which surpasses human imagination.
We witness that moment when the promises of Christ become real, first for Mary and eventually for all the faithful. We can come to understand as we meditate upon the Assumption the eternal results of Her fiat and the necessity of our complete discipleship to Christ and His Church.
The Assumption is more than a painting, and opinion or a Holy Card. It is a vision and REALIZATION of what is in store for the family of Christ. Mary herself is a prime example of the lowly raised to high places: a poor and simple girl, a virgin from an insignificant part of the world, raised to the status of Mother of God, and today raised body and soul to the glory of heaven.
“Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of men. Let them implore that she who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints.” Vatican II Document, "Constitution on the Church"
Finally, it is just logical. Death is the result of sin. Our Savior's Mother was preserved from the stain of original sin. She was, as the Scriptures attest, "Full of Grace"! Logic dictates that She would not, then, suffer the decay of death caused by sin.
Logic. Vision. Devotion. Our Catholic Faith has it all!
Ok... enough reflection for me at this time. I gotta go pray my Rosary. Make that, I can't wait to spend time with Jesus and Mary as I pray the Rosary!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.