A prayer must mean something to you if you want to say it every day. I had been saying the Rosary every day, like Mary asked me to, but the prayers felt so impersonal to me. I had learned them long ago in Catholic school and they rolled off my tongue with no thought and no connection. I no longer believe that God is up in the clouds judging us here down on earth. I believe that God (Source, Spirit, whatever word feels good to you) is within us all and connects us. I also believe that when we transition, we are not judged and punished by God for sins. Instead, I believe we experience a life review where we become aware of how our choices affected others and how we made them feel, along with all the ripples from those choices. Those prayers just didn’t fit me anymore, but is it ok to change a prayer? Her message to me in the church made me feel I had Her permission to make the prayers my own.
I started with the Hail Mary, as it is the main prayer of the Rosary. This is the prayer:
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
The first sentence - Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you - is the greeting from the angel Gabriel when he told Her She would bear a son. The second sentence - Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb – is Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary when Mary visited to tell Elizabeth of Her pregnancy as foretold by the Angel. Those two sentences honor Her journey, so I didn’t want to change them. The last line is what I was not comfortable with - Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners; now and at the hour of our death. I do not believe Jesus is God, but rather the son of God, a great teacher, a prophet. In all of Mary’s visitations through history, she refers to us all as her children. And being sinners reinforces the idea of us being judged. This is the final prayer I ended up with:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of all, guide us through life and bless us.
I then decided to unpack the statue I had previously purchased at the Church. When I read the prayer on the front, I realized it was only the first part of the prayer; the part I had not changed. When I purchased it, I thought it had the whole prayer etched on the front. Amazing! This felt like a nod of approval from Mary for only changing the end of the prayer.
The next prayer I wanted to change was the Our Father. It is one of the minor prayers of the Rosary. This is the prayer:
“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, they will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
For me, this prayer reinforces the ideas of separation from God, sin and judgement, good and evil. I believe that God is within all of us and that connects us to each other. We are all manifestations of God. If we can look as each other as being of God, wouldn’t we be kinder and more compassionate to each other? Think about how that could change the world. It took a few months of writing and re-writing before I came up with a prayer that I felt was appropriate. Here is my prayer:
Dear God, who dwells within each of us, help us to remember that through you we are connected. In this connection let us find and share mercy, hope, love, and peace.
These are the prayers I use when I say the rosary. There are other prayers that are used in the Catholic version, but I do not use them. Using these prayers to say the Rosary make me feel connected to something greater than myself and to something that is myself – my higher self. I also add my Reiki practice to my Rosary by saying the precepts and igniting my chakras each time I say the Dear God prayer. These are the precepts and the corresponding Chakras I ignite.
Just for today, I will: (crown and root)
Not worry (3rd eye)
Not anger (throat)
Be grateful (heart)
Do my work honestly (solar plexus)
Be kind to every living thing, including myself (sacrum)
I made one other change to the Rosary to make it more personalized. I removed the crucifix and added an Om charm. Om is said to be the sound of creation, the God voice, so it seemed appropriate.
I didn’t write this blog chapter to say that any prayers are wrong or to go against Christian faith. I wrote this so you would see that there are different ways to pray. Prayer needs to be personal and spiritual. It needs to bring you to a place where you are away from the mundane of everyday life. Prayer should remind us that we are never alone, we are supported, and we are loved. Prayer should help us feel connected to something greater than ourselves.
Mary told me she was not just for Catholics. To pray like a Catholic would have been insincere and short lived as many of my beliefs no longer match up with Catholic doctrine. There is no judgement or shame in that, it just is. She loves me anyway.
I wish you peace in the knowledge that you are connected to God and every living thing. That unseen beings are there to help us if we ask. Pray for all of us, and for peace.