"It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait. At any rate after a short halt go on he did..."
"Where's My Combat Rosary!?!"
It is our first full day on our family vacation. After being imprisoned far too long in our little area due to COVID regulations, we are bursting at the seems to traverse and climb the Rocky Mountains. But first, a night in Drumheller, Alberta.
The scenery is stunning, yet we are perhaps too excited to see the mountains to give Drumheller its due respects. Also of note, we are a little rusty at camping. It's been a few years since we went on a major trip. This being the first full day, we are disheveled already, and misplacing items left and right.
Never mind. It is morning, and before we pack up the campsite I decide to go for a quick jog. I take out my combat rosary, place it on the picnic table at our site, and head out for some exercise throughout the stunning landscape. What a beautiful place. Alas, I return, and our packing up begins in haste. Soon enough we head into the van, eager to hit the highway.
Suddenly I slam on the brakes! "Where's my combat rosary!?!"
My combat rosary! Yes, they are expensive rosaries, though well built and worth every penny. But more than that, this rosary is special to me. It sits in my pocket every day. It looks like a weapon with its gun-metal appearance. It feels like a weapon when you hold it. It sounds like a weapon when it clinks in your pocket. More to the point, it is a weapon - the greatest of weapons - and it is used to help keep my family and I living in God's grace.
"Did you pick it up off the picnic table?" I ask my wife, trying not to sound alarmed.
"No. I didn't touch it," she counters.
"Did any of you see my combat rosary?" I ask the kids.
"I think I saw Jude with it," comes the reply from our seven-year-old.
Oh no! Not Jude! Our lovable one-year-old boy. He's great. A barrel of laughs and more. He's even a little charmer at times. But... not Jude!
With visions of my special rosary tossed deep into the bush, never to be found again, I race the van back to the campsite. Immediately my wife and I jump out. So too comes our oldest son, a responsible nine-year-old if ever there was one. We go directly to the picnic table and stare the table up and down with horror. The rosary is not there. It's gone! We start pacing all around the campsite. The grass is thick, and it reveals nothing. With prayers pounding out to Our Lady and St. Anthony, we search the bush... the nearby road... everything. It's not there. The rosary is gone. I groan in disgust.
"Well Mary, please let someone who needs this rosary be the one to find it," I murmur.
We drag our feet back to the van. With regret at the loss, we take one last glance at the picnic table.
Our mouths drop. There, sitting perfectly shining and obvious on the picnic table, is my combat rosary.
"But... but... we looked here! I know we did. It's where we went first," I stammer quietly.
My wife, equally stunned, adds, "I know we did. I know it wasn't there!"
* * *
I suppose it's easy to say that we simply didn't see the rosary the first time. Yes, I suppose that is the answer one should believe, and then move on. But we know what we didn't see. And we know what we saw very clearly afterwards.
I have my combat rosary here with me now. God grant me many more rosaries to be prayed using it. For it is my weapon.
Enjoying Drumheller, Alberta - a place I shall not soon forget.
An update of my thoughts on Exodus 90 can be found HERE . Exodus 90 is underway for many Catholic men. It is an intense 90 day program based on prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. For 90 days these men will take cold showers, abstain from alcohol and most media, fast twice per week, give up snacks and desserts, along with various other spiritual tasks. I applaud such a penitential spirit. The inevitable…. HOWEVER… However, I do have two concerns about Exodus 90 which could use some explaining. 1: Sundays The Church already has a wise, if not perfect, system of fasting and feasting. Catholics are encouraged to do penance on Wednesdays and Fridays (some add in Saturdays as well). In addition, there are specific periods of penance (Lent, Advent, Ember Days). Feasting occurs on Sundays as well as on major Feast Days and Solemnities (e.g. the Assumption of Mary). There is a built in balance to life. My problem with Exodus 90 is that, from what I hear, Sundays and F
There is always a certain amount of fear and trembling when I begin writing a piece on a somewhat unfamiliar subject. Perhaps all that will be demonstrated here is my ignorance and incompetence. To which I suppose my wife would reply: “You’d think you’d be used to that by now.” But I write this piece simply for the fact that Catholic trends, even good ones, need sober reflection and refinement. I refer to the Exodus 90 program. [i] Earlier in 2020 – simpler times to be sure - I listened with interest to a podcast on Exodus 90. In it I heard that this program, which was founded in 2013, is an intense 90 day program based on prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. For 90 days men take cold showers, abstain from alcohol and most media, fast twice per week, give up snacks and desserts, meet weekly with a small group of participants, exercise regularly, all the while following a regimented prayer schedule. I applaud such a penitential spirit (though it seems that cold showers in the de
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