Friday, June 5, 2015

Rosaries for Dad (and other men types)

You may have given roses to mom on Mother's Day; why not a rosary to dad on Father's Day?  We may not typically think of rosaries as a masculine gift item, but I say we ought to, especially in light of these bits of wisdom from the saints.
The holy rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you'll be amazed at the results.  -- St. Josemaria Escriva
The rosary is the weapon for these times. -- St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
Give me an army saying the rosary and I will conquer the world. -- Bl. Pope Puis IX
The rosary is a powerful weapon to put demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin. -- Pope Pius XI
Obviously a rosary is not a weapon like a sword or a pistol, meant to be used in violent, physical combat.  Rather, it is a weapon meant to be used in spiritual combat, which is an altogether more powerful and profound undertaking.  Both men and women are called to engage in spiritual combat in their quest for holiness, yet in my experience most rosary prayer groups only have a few men, if any at all.  And more Catholic women I know are regular rosary prayers than men.  Granted, this is anecdotal, but I don't believe my observations to be outside the norm.

Why is this?  Why are men forgoing this powerful spiritual weapon, much praised by the saints?  Could it be that most rosaries one encounters look more like something from grandma's jewelry box than a weapon for spiritual combat?  OK, that is clearly not the only reason, but it certainly doesn't help to encourage men in praying the rosary to put something sparkly and dainty into their hands.

Your dad probably won't pray with this.
Time for a disclaimer.  Yes, men can certainly pray well with effeminate looking rosaries.  And yes, women can pray well with more masculine looking rosaries.  In fact some women prefer the simpler look of a manly-style rosary, and some men really like the beauty of a more feminine rosary (reminding them of the perfect embodiment of womanhood in the Blessed Mother).  When I became Catholic myself one of the first things I did was to buy a rosary made from beads in the shape of rose blossoms.  I just thought it was pretty cool!  But that's not my go-to rosary.  You have to admit -- most Catholic men you know would probably feel more comfortable carrying something like the below rosary with them, making them that much more likely to pray the rosary more often.

Dad wants this rosary.
But here's the problem.  If your local Catholic goods shop is like most I've seen, it might have a dozen or more very pretty and dainty bejeweled rosaries, and maybe one of two that could be described as "manly."  The more masculine styles offered are probably of the less-expensive wooden bead variety.  Not that a low cost is a bad thing.  These are perfectly fine rosaries, and the most important thing is of course how you pray, not what the rosary you pray looks like.  

Nevertheless, the appearance and quality of your rosary matter.  Why do I say that?  Because you should have a rosary that you will actually want to use.  I was given some good advice once about buying a Bible that I think applies here.  When asking about which Bible to purchase for myself for spiritual reading, I was expecting advice on what translation to get.  What I received was advice about choosing one with a good size font, with pages that were easy to turn, that lied flat when open, with a good quality binding, and that felt good in my hand.  The point was that the best Bible to buy is the one you will actually enjoy reading.  The same is true with the rosary.

With that in mind, here are some links to places where you can purchase some really nice looking, masculine style rosaries for dad (or yourself, or any other men-types in your life).  I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving compensation from any of these companies.

  • Bishop Sheen Rosaries:  
    From their web site:  "The mission of Bishop Sheen Rosaries is to provide high quality rosaries to our customers, while simultaneously helping fund a school in Uganda. We are only happy when you are happy with your new sacramental! Every rosary that is sold from Bishop Sheen Rosaries is prayerfully handmade."  They have special rosaries for police officers, firefighters, Knights of Columbus, and other generally masculine styles.  They look tough and made to last.
  • Fishers of Men Rosary:  
    From their web site: "This unique rosary is made primarily of genuine fishing components. The cord is genuine nylon fishing cord, the beads are tin split shot sinkers (lead-free), and the ichthus charm is attached with a swivel clip. The center was special-made for this rosary and shows Jesus calling the fishermen on the back. This special rosary comes with a prayer card with a Prayer for Vocations and an explanation of the rosary. 10% of the net proceeds from the retail sale of this rosary is donated to priestly vocations."
  • Combat Rosary:
    From their web site:  "The Church Militant Combat Rosary is based upon the original pull chain rosary that was commissioned and procured by, believe it or not, the U.S. government and issued by the military, upon request, to soldiers serving in World War I. Some of these rosaries were also seen in WWII. Veterans recognize them as “Service Rosaries.” Made of strong metal pull chain, this rosary is meant to endure. Special locking jump rings add to this rosary’s toughness. This rosary’s endurance is meant to highlight the hopeful words of Psalm 136: “His love endures forever.” This Combat Rosary’s use of the Pardon Crucifix, Miraculous Medal and St. Benedict Medal makes it a powerful spiritual assault weapon against evil forces attempting to separate us from the love of God and His will for our lives."
  • Rugged Rosaries by CordBands:  
    A hobby-turned-business out of northern California, this family operation hand makes rugged, military inspired rosaries from authentic 550 Paracord.  They have a wide variety available, including rosaries for firefighters, soldiers, police officers, Celtic themed, and others.
  • Make Your Own!  Rosary Army has some excellent and easy to follow instructions on their web site showing how to make your own tied-knot cord rosaries.  They have links to where you can buy the right kind of cord to use.  And you can either end your rosary with a tied-knot cross or attach your own crucifix.  (You can find some really nice looking crucifixes for rosary-making on Etsy).

I'm certain there are other quality, masculine rosaries to be had out there, but these are a few I found doing a quick search.  Of course, if it has been a while since dad has prayed the rosary, a good companion to your gift would be Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer, by David Calvillo and published by Ave Maria Press.  Like the rosaries linked to above, I'm not getting any kick-backs from my recommendation; I'm simply passing along a resource.

Finally, in addition to giving a rosary to your dad on Father's Day, you can also pray a rosary for your dad on Father's Day, or any day of the year.  Why not begin or end your rosary with this powerful prayer for fathers composed by Pope St. John XXIII.

St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor and weariness. But amid the worries of material life your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God's Son entrusted to you and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over him faithfully as you have done. 

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