ROLLIN’ WITH THE ROSARY
Before I set out for what I call a Rollin’ Rosary on my bicycle, I listen as Our Blessed Mother says: “Wear your helmet and turn your lights on. And obey all traffic laws. Remember: you are a vehicle. Now go forth and ride and pray.”
I know; I know: Our Blessed Mother never rode a bicycle, and she probably didn’t wear a helmet when she rode that donkey during the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, but I know she is a devoted mother of us all. I can just hear her telling me to be safe every time I suit up and head out on my pedal-assisted bicycle for a ride around our scenic, southwestern Michigan neighborhood.
I also know that she is just fine with my counting the prayers on my fingers instead of dangling an actual rosary over the handlebars.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is all about safety, and I can almost hear her chuckle when I am about to do something stupid on my bicycle.
I am looking seriously at my 70th birthday on May 7, 2020 after all, and I know she, in her infinite wisdom, knows there’s no fool like an old fool.
So, again, I hearken to her pre-flight instructions and don my helmet and reflective gear and switch on all my bike lights. As I say to my non-cycling friends: “Better to be seen than hurt.”
They think this is highly amusing, but I know Mother Mary does not.
So, on to an actual Rollin’ Rosary for those of you who have not had the pleasure of such a sublime, spiritual experience:
I couldn’t have picked a better day for a ride around the countryside with the Sorrowful Mysteries, a misty fall Tuesday. The Michigan fall color show was in full sway, but subtly muted by the steady drizzle. No matter, I donned my rainy-day apparel, put the charged battery back on my e-bike, and set off in “sport” mode for a ride to the post office and beyond.
And, yes, Mother Mary, I was wearing my helmet and had all my lights blazing. Motorists were going to see me whether they wanted to or not.
I began the Rosary with the introductory prayer as I rode up one hill and down another and was at the first Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden, when I reached the post office to collect the day’s mail. I meditated on Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating blood as he awaited his arrest, and offered that mystery for all those awaiting bad news in the mail, such as test results or responses to job applications.
Riding with the Rosary had given me a focus to the first mystery, and it only got better from there as the mist coated my glasses and water dripped from the orange, red, and brown leaves.
I got to the second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging at the Pillar, when I reached my favorite overlook above Lake Michigan. The lake, really an inland sea, was in one of its turbulent fall moods, waving whitecaps at the much-diminished beach. I offered the mystery for all those in peril on the sea and those being tortured by any means, particularly with water.
And then I continued on my way south and west on lightly traveled roads, counting the Hail Marys on my fingers and keeping my eyes on the road. Where I live and ride, one has to be alert to darting mammals, especially deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, chipmunks, and even the occasional fox. Yes, birds can also be a problem, especially wild turkeys during mating season.
So, when a fox squirrel headed for the road during my aforementioned Rosary ride, I simply rang my bell and sent Scamp scampering off to the nearest tree. And, yes, I asked Saint Francis to pray for Scamp and all God’s creatures I was encountering on my Rosary Ride, and, yes, I continued praying Sorrowful Mysteries as I made my way home again by a circuitous, but utterly scenic route.
I was headed east on East Road (sometimes I head west on East Road) when I looked to the left and saw a familiar lawn ornament, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was out there in the mist being a constant reminder to pray, and pray always. I confess there have been many times when I have forgotten to pray the Rosary as I ride, and the one I call Our Lady of East Road always gently reminds me to get back in spiritual shape.
I offered the third Sorrowful Mystery for those who have been humiliated as Christ was when he was crowned with thorns by jeering Roman soldiers. I remembered friends who are faced with medical hardships when I got the mystery that calls us to contemplate the carrying of the cross.
Black crows appeared when I reached the fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so I had no difficulty offering that one for those about to die.
I finished the Sorrowful Mysteries long before I got home, and I looked forward to a sunny Wednesday and/or Sunday when I could ride with the Glorious Mysteries. A luminous Thursday for the Luminous Mysteries, or clear and cold Saturdays and Mondays for the Joyful Mysteries, would do as well.
But rain or shine or even snow, I will go forth with the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
And, yes, Mother Mary, I will wear my helmet.