When I first saw the title and sub-title of the piece in The Atlantic, “How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-opt the Rosary: Why are sacramental beads suddenly showing up next to AR-15s online?” I thought someone was trying to win a prize for goofball satire.

Then I heard this mentioned on TV news shows and saw some initial comments on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, comments by celebrated writers, by the known and the unknown, and realized this was intended to be a serious piece.

And that was scary!

Then I read the first paragraph:  “Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics. On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.”

And it was a hallucinogenic trip downhill from there on!

‘Unbalanced’, ‘hysterical,’ and ‘unforgiving’ are just a few of the adjectives that immediately come to mind. The hubris-filled statements had little or no relation to any reality, historical or otherwise.

The title alone -“How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-opt the Rosary” – makes you wonder what the author was smoking.

I feel that the author of this insane piece on the rosary is, in some way, unbalanced. As is the Atlantic magazine for publishing such idiocy.

But they woke a sleeping giant…the rosary prayer warriors! They roused the tens of millions … dare I say hundreds of millions!… who pray the rosary with joy, who always have one in a pocket or purse and several lying around the house, maybe one in their car.

Prayer warriors wrote back. They posted photos of rosary-wielding priests and nuns and lay people. They posted the Hail Mary. They wrote prayers. They expressed their own, personal deep feelings about all kinds of prayer, but the rosary in particular. On yesterday’s solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, all believers were asked to pray the rosary, even just one decade.

What we want the author and the Atlantic to know is that yes, we do see the rosary – even the mere act of making the sign of the cross – as the ultimate weapon against evil, against Satan, against the Devil.

However, it is not a weapon that kills or harms or maims or takes a life like abortion does. It is a small object we hold in our hands when we pray in a prayer group or perhaps alone in the silence of a room in our home, the quiet of a church or chapel, or perhaps even sitting on a park bench, enjoying God’s creation

The five decades of the rosary offer us moments to peacefully reflect on the life of Jesus and his Mother Mary, of the Holy Family, throughout the Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous and Glorious mysteries. We reflect on Jesus, the person whom we are asked as baptized Christians, to follow and live as He did.

As we reflect, we pray. We pray for peace, for health, for special intentions, for requests that family and friends send us. We pray for people with special needs. We pray for people who suffer violence, war, hatred, poverty, or some form of marginalization. We pray for our leaders, civilian and religious. We pray for justice. We pray that the ill be healed. So many prayers are needed!

We even pray for those who are unbalanced!

Some of the amazing rosaries I own: rosaries give me by Popes John Paul, Benedict and Francis, a rosary I bought on my first trip to the Holy Land with the celebrated Jerusalem cross on the Hail Mary beads , a crystal rosary made for me decades ago by my cousin Ruth when we were both in our teens, my handmade Hawaiian Kukui cross rosary with stones native to the islands, a miniature rosary from Guatemala and the oversized rosary made from kukui nuts.

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Here’s the link to the Atlantic: The Extremist Gun Culture Trying to Co-opt the Rosary – The Atlantic