(Now please stay with me here...)
But here's the thing (I know, I know): I don't understand why the Rosary is made the way it is. I had always assumed that it was helpful to keeping you on the circuit because there was a bead for each item. But there's not. Sometimes it's the space in between that indicates another prayer. Sometimes it's two prayers on one bead. I don't mean to be disrespectful since I know that the Rosary was supposed to be given to Saint Dominic by the Blessed Virgin herself, but it is confusing for a convert. And it's also confusing that there are so many different mysteries and the days they are assigned to seems very arbitrary. It's easy for me to see how a young Catholic who is not spiritually grounded can begin to feel like things are just too complicated (not just with the Rosary) and can then be attracted to a more simplistic form of Christianity.
Are you still with me? I hope so. Because like I said, I don't mean to be sacrilegious or disrespectful or offensive. When I decided to write about my experience becoming Catholic, I felt like my viewpoint could be helpful to cradle Catholics in understanding Protestants and potentially helping them to avoid the pitfalls of faith-teaching that can lead to a lapsed Catholic child.
Many Catholics and most "converts" assert beauty, ritual, richness, and "depth" as things about the Roman Catholic tradition of Christianity that are most attractive. But we need to remember that this depth that is so attractive is often not even visible to the individual without a strong spiritual foundation, or whose foundation has been shaken. The Catholic who strays to the simplistic, evangelical, praise-song singing church across town is probably there because somewhere along the way he got caught up in all the intricacies to Catholicism before he was ready. Be wary of this with your own children.
I know what I'm talking about because I was a Protestant who thought I needed something more simple. But once I had a good handle on the simple part, I wanted more depth. I started out in a liturgical tradition, moved away from it, moved back, and then moved even further into more liturgical traditions, finally landing in the Episcopal church, my last stop before RCIA. Our priest has referred to all of the "extras" that Catholicism has as golf clubs. Catholics are playing with more clubs than other traditions. (The seven sacraments, additional feast days, and other sacramentals.) Other traditions can still play and win the game, but they just have fewer clubs. I like this analogy, particularly because it respects other traditions and denominations.
What do you think? Are you a Catholic who likes the extra clubs? Do you find you use them often? Are you a Protestant who would like to offer a perspective? (Be respectful.)