I was vacationing in Florida last summer where I witnessed many young men wearing rosaries and my daughter also saw a very famous young man in an aging boy band who happened to be performing while wearing a rosary. I have to say that my first thought was that gang members are now wearing rosaries as a sign of gang affiliation. I looked it up on the internet and found that it is true that gang members are wearing rosaries as “gang dress.” My knee jerk reaction was “how sad!”
It upset me that the Holy Rosary is being used in groups known for their violence and corruption! However, now that I have had time to think about it, I am wondering if the rosary was employed by these young men to protect them?? Participating in a gang is a very dangerous practice. If a gang member wears a rosary to protect him or her, is that wrong? Of course not! “I am instantly reminded of the boast of St. Louis De Montfort “Let me but place my Rosary around a sinner’s neck…and he will not escape me.”” ( Blogged by Milsande at http://smallcatholic.blogspot.com)
It crosses into a gray area when they wear one just to mark themselves as a gang member, but then, I can’t help but think that the wearing of the rosary at the very least reminds others to think about spirituality and all that goes with it. It reminds us of that other world outside of our everyday existence and maybe, it reminds us to pray when the going gets rough. Who knows? Maybe someday you will read a miracle story about how a person was in a crisis situation and how he had witnessed someone wearing a rosary at the mall one day and the memory of that scene prompted them to pray which then ended in a miracle which saved their lives? You never know what you did one day to help another!
So, then I asked myself, what does it mean when we wear a rosary? I like to believe that the person feels more supported spiritually while they go about their day. I, myself, wear a Rosary in public quite often because I am thinking that not only does it remind me of who I am in the world - it gives me hope that when people see my rosary they will be reminded to use theirs.
Rosaries are beautiful – wearing them is very tempting – so what I see in my mind’s eye is Mary and Jesus quite eager for us to wear them because we are advertising our belief in them and in some way, it marks us as belonging to them and that’s OK with me!
~ Sandra Anderson