Fish Story

The rosary is my go-to devotion. I pray it when I’m driving, stressed, working-out, cleaning house, and at the end of the day. I’m in a peaceful place while meditating on the Mysteries and praying the repetitive, rhythmic prayer.

I have many rosaries but two new ones are particularly interesting. My friend, Lori, sent me a rosary with the Mysteries written on cubes. On the left side of each cube is a number from 1 to 5 to indicate the number of the Mystery and a letter (J-Joyful, L-Luminous, S-Sorrowful, G-Glorious) to indicate the set of Mysteries. Next to these markings is the title of the Mystery. For example, the first Glorious Mystery is noted as, “1 G  The Resurrection.” It’s the perfect rosary for those who’d like a reminder of which Mystery in a set to meditate upon.

The other rosary is nothing like one I’ve seen before. I purchased it in Israel after watching our guide pray with it constantly on the pilgrimage my daughter and I took to the Holy Land. It offers a less obvious sign of Catholic devotion to a predominately Jewish population.

The wooden fish is sectioned into 12 segments. I’ve searched the internet without success in finding others available for sale or directions on how to pray with it. My guess it to pray the Our Father and Mystery on the head, Hail Marys on the following 10 sections, and the Glory Be on the tail.

The fish symbol was used by Greeks and Romans since antiquity, so it didn’t rise suspicion when early followers of Christ adopted its use as a secret signal between them to avoid persecution. Some believe that when a Christian met a stranger on the road, he’d draw an arc in the dirt with his foot. If the stranger drew another arc through it in the opposite direction to make the fish symbol, they knew they could speak freely to each other.

The fish is noteworthy to Christians on several counts. Jesus fed the 5,000 with two fishes and five loaves. The disciples are called “fishers of men.” In the early Church, the parallel was made between fish and converts with the baptism in the water. First Century Christians also formed what is known as an acrostic (form of writing using each letter of the word to spell out a message) from the Greek word for fish, ichthys:  Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

Rosaries come in every color, made of every imaginable product, and range greatly in price. Crystal, plastic, pearl, semi-precious stones, seeds, and wood. And the crosses and medals on the rosary vary as much as the beads. Select a rosary that aesthetically appeals to you, is meaningful to you, and feels comfortable between your fingers.

The bottom line is that the best rosary to pray on is the one you’ll use.

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The Rosary Prayer by Prayer offers an easy way to pray the rosary by simply following page by page. The book is available from Amazon.comACTA Publications, and my website.

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Have you read, Singing the Holiday Blues, on my other blog, Midwest Mary?

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