1] It is an effective façade when you need to be alone. Last Sunday I went to confession and had to do penance, so I went out on the front steps of the church, pulled out my Rosary, and began to pray. The prayers actually had nothing to do with the Rosary, I just knew that if I were fingering a Rosary and looking off into the distance, that no one would come up and bother me. I have found this to be very effective: pull out a Rosary and people will leave you alone. I often use the Rosary as a smoke-screen when I simply want to be left alone with my thoughts.
This doesn’t work with my little Bean-Girl however, as she will simply come up and say the Rosary with me.
2] It is a symbol of Catholic solidarity. A few years ago, a local newspaper published a particularly nasty anti-Catholic cartoon and so the Blue Army organized a protest. There were about sixty of us gathered on the street opposite the paper’s offices, several speakers addressed us, and then we ended with the Rosary. Let me tell you that it felt really good to be able to pull out my everyday Rosary (a nasty pink plastic thing that has the crucifix re-attached with a safety-pin) and pray with them. Almost everyone had a Rosary too and I’ll bet the people that didn’t felt a little out of place, kind of like they’d dropped the ball.
When my daughter was stuck in traffic behind a car crash with Mrs. Hamilton, and Mrs. Hamilton pulled out her Rosary to pray for anyone who might have been hurt, Bean-Girl knew to pray along. And when traffic began moving again, Bean-Girl counted the decades on her fingers for Mrs. Hamilton.
And if, God forbid, I should be the poor fellow in that traffic accident some day, I trust that someone will find my Rosary in my pocket and know to call for a priest.
3] It offends the right people. I know this is a bad reason, an uncharitable reason, perhaps even an un-Christian reason, but you and I both know that there is a certain kind of Catholic-hating Protestant out there who is really bugged by the Rosary. I live right by Moody Bible Institute and I often used to be approached by earnest young Evangelicals asking if I had made Jesus my “Personal Savior.” That stopped when I began taking my Rosary walks through their campus from time to time.
4] The Rosary as a Lullaby. My sweet friend (and new mom) Maggie Lee left me a message about the Rosary and I think it’s worth repeating here:
Praying the rosary is so satisfying. And it will lull a baby to sleep after all else fails. I walked Michael up and down the floor many nights when we first came home and would say the Rosary after even the tried and true "Sh-boom" wouldn't get him to sleep.