So we were careful about what we asked for, and knew that no whining, pleading, cajoling, sulking, or tantrums could change the outcome.
NO meant NO. And silence also meant NO.
My sister was an excellent crier… she had big brown eyes and seemed to be able to cry on demand. There was a boy in our class, much admired, who could belch or fart at will, but my little sister could escalate in moments from teary eyes and snivels to hysterical cascades, punctuated by shuddering hiccups.
She was also a talented tattle tale, and the tears were a persuasive part of the performance. This gave her some power over the other children… we understood that if she didn’t get her way, she would tattle and cry… and it worked well enough at school, but Mother was rarely fooled.
I was, therefore, more than slightly bewildered by the practice at Saints Peter and Paul school that we opened both morning and afternoon sessions by saying the rosary… all of it. To make sure we were paying attention, each row of seats would take one decade, switching from child to child for the first half of each prayer. Any wreckless attempt to fake foreign accents, recite like a farm auctioneer, or substitute grace before meals occurred only if Mother St Leon was out of the room. There was always the danger of her storming back in, rosary in one hand, leather strap (regulation size of course) in the other. I wondered if she had a special long narrow pocket in the sweeping skirt of her habit to accommodate this implement of terror and coercion. She also wore crepe soled shoes, at a time when that was very unusual, and associated with sneaky and stealthy detectives who were called, naturally, gum shoes.
So if I could not nag Mother at home, why was it required to nag Mother Mary at school? Always the same droning din, always the same words, always the same cynical and comic attempt to do it as badly and as quickly as possible.
Maybe the explanation for lack of response to these prayers was that Mary was really like mother at home… exasperated, annoyed, absolutely resolute in her determination NOT to respond to nagging! Even if she wanted to, even if it was in everyone’s best interest… if you nag the answer is NO.
This has worked well for me as a parent and as a teacher. That is my third NO, or this is NOT possible at this time, or SOMETHINGS are NOT NEGOTIABLE. Period.
Today catholics all over the world are invited to join the conclave of cardinals in simultaneous prayer for the success of the conclave! (Rome time or local time… does it matter?)
Roman Catholic cardinals will set a date for the conclave to select a new pope once the field of candidates narrows and they have a clearer idea of who the next pope could be, Cardinal Francis George said Tuesday.
In the meantime, he and other cardinals invited the public to pray with them at 5 p.m. Rome time (11 a.m. EST) on Wednesday. The cardinals will recite the rosary (click here for the article) and other prayers in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair, a symbol of the Bishop of Rome designed by Italian Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Do NOT nag at Mother, even or especially Mother Mary! If she is not already actually deaf or asleep from boredom, she may deliberately turn a deaf ear. If the nasty repetitive din does catch her attention, she may be angry… angry enough perhaps to resolve stubbornly NOT to be manipulated or intimidated. Angry enough to punish!
So why are the cardinals, the wise old leaders of the church recommending this nagging recitation, simultaneous and world-wide, of the rosary?
- They are all men, and as little boys they were always able to get their own way, even by nagging mother.
- They are all men, and have learned that any woman’s feelings and ideas can safely be ignored… even busyness, boredom, impatience, exhaustion, annoyance, or anger.
- They are all catholic men, and haven’t noticed the futility of all prayer, of nagging and repetitive prayers to a mythical entity.
- They are all cardinals, and haven’t noticed that who they are, how many they are, what they wear, or where they meet and pray will not make a bit of difference. This is a power struggle, a political game… and universal recitation of the rosary will not make it anything else. They’ll elect the pope they want and deserve, and the world will watch the inevitably disastrous outcome.
A new pope can no more correct the problems endemic in the church than a new president… even one as brilliant and committed as Obama… can correct the economic and social problems of the USA.
The opportunity cost of time, energy, and money lavished on selection and inauguration of both is appalling.
Take those million$ and USE them to make the world, even a tiny corner of the world, into a safer healthier home for those truly in need.
And above all, DO NOT NAG AT MOTHER!