I walked into a Catholic bookstore & bought myself a rosary a few years ago. I remember the sales lady asking me which parish I attended. I was just about to begin RCIA & was still pretty terrified by all things Catholic, but she reassured me that I was on the right path. She gave me time to browse all manner of rosaries, and this is the one I chose. I didn't want anything flashy & I've always been drawn to the image from the Shroud of Turin (Only later did I find out I had picked a "manly" rosary!). No matter. I kept the beads in my pocket during the day & under my pillow at night. There was nothing magical about them, but somehow, they made me feel connected to something stronger than myself. About a month ago, it finally happened. On the 3 small beads between the crucifix & the centerpiece, one typically prays for an increase of faith, hope & love. But then I discovered something was missing.
Somehow, I had lost all three beads at once. They must have worn & cracked over time. Slowly, faith, hope & love had deteriorated & their loss rendered the entire rosary useless. Everything hangs on these three virtues, just as the crucifix hangs from these three beads. From there, I'm connected to the Father & the greater communion of saints through the intercession of Jesus & Mary- through faith, hope & love. But take these away & there is a very real void... a disconnect... a brokenness.
I began to wonder- had faith, hope & love deteriorated within me & rendered my life ineffective? If I don't possess these things, or rather, if they don't possess me, honestly, what's the point... of anything? It
was quite the wake up call. I can pray a million Our Fathers, a billion
Hail Marys & a trillion Glory Be's, but without faith, hope &
love, I have nothing.