Monthly Archives: March 2015

Lent 2015

Greetings to the Church at Shady Cove!
We recently received training about the Anglican rosary from Brother Kevin Gore. We heard some interesting descriptions about how the rosary began and its evolution into what it is in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Episcopal Church. This article could be one of the “Why Do Episcopalians Do That?” articles because people often wonder about acts of prayer that we enjoin that appear to be Catholic in orientation. As one person playfully stated they didn’t realize they had joined the Catholic Church! I said that the truth was that we all have joined the Catholic Church; the Anglican Catholic Church to be precise. For those of you who may not know, Anglicans or in America, Episcopalians were originally Roman Catholic. After some
challenges, the Catholic Church in England was forcibly converted to Anglican Catholic. This meant that the liturgy had not changed, but that the priests and bishops in England were no longer taking orders from the Holy Father. What that means is the we inherited the liturgy that had been in place at the time and over time it was adapted to more closely suit our spiritual and liturgical needs. During Lent we often hear about things that we rarely see practiced in the Episcopal Church and that are still in our Book of Common Prayer. We hear about the rite of reconciliation, fasting, and daily prayers. Another tradition that while not in the prayer book is practiced by many in the Episcopal Church is praying the rosary. As we learned this past Sunday, the rosary, while Roman Catholic in origin, is also
very Episcopalian. We have adjusted the prayers to reflect our Episcopal ethos, we have allowed for the reason that we so value to imbue our prayer as we finger each of the beads or knots on our rosaries. We have allowed each person to create a circle of prayer that best suits them for individual prayer and we have also seen that the rosary can be prayed in unison.
So, far from being concerned that we are becoming too Roman, we can really see that we are simply beginning to embrace some of our traditional Episcopal roots. The beauty of leaning into our Episcopal roots is that we find history there. We find our story mixed with the story of others. We begin to learn that we are a proud family with a proud tradition of our own that creates in us a feeling and opportunity for prayerfulness. God has blessed us with the tradition of Lent (yes, Lent is Catholic as well) so that we can try new things, so that we can grow and become more of who God wants us to be. We have traditionally given up certain things in a manner of fasting during Lent and we have also began or reinstated prayerful or sacrificial acts that we use to bring us closer to God. This year we have the opportunity to try something that, while new to us, is as old as the ages, praying the rosary. I encourage praying the rosary individually and communally. It gives us a chance to pray with our minds and hearts focused on our “intention” while our lips speak the words. In a way, it moves us past trying to find the “right” words to speak to God and simply allows our hearts and our spirit to commune with God on a whole different level. This is the power of the rosary. So no matter how you would like to
approach it, no matter what you initially thought of it, the rosary is a wonderful prayer form that is rooted in our Church and that expresses very powerfully and spiritually our sentiments to our Heavenly Father. May our hearts guide us in this new endeavor.
Fr Randel