Many others before me have pointed out the similarity between this practice and the practice of praying with beads that is common to persons who are Muslim or Hindu. There is something utterly mesmerizing in the repetition of words that are central to one’s faith. When all else fails, it is good to be able to entrust one’s life to what is familiar.
Grace is familiar. At times of uncertainty or fear, birth or death, it can be comforting to remember the lifelong companionship of grace and to give thanks for it.
As a hospital chaplain I have accompanied many individuals at times when they felt uncertain and fearful. Catholic patients often have a Rosary in hand or under their pillow, to comfort them, to pass long hours in an unfamiliar setting, and to rely on what is familiar. They remember and give thanks.
What do you rely on that helps you when you are feeling uncertain or fearful?
Ruth Poochigian, O.P.