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HOLY HOMEWORK
Ready, Willing and “Differently” Able
Holy Homework
Father Bob Pagliari

For Catholics, October is known as the month dedicated to the great gift of the Rosary. By Church history measures, this dedication is actually a relatively recent development. We should thank Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903) for this October celebration, even though the prayer itself can easily be documented back to Pius V (1504-1572) and by legend as far back as St. Dominic (1170-1221).

The Psychological Power of the Rosary

Sixteen years ago, then-Father and now-Bishop Robert Barron assured us that, in addition to its many spiritual benefits, there are three psychological advantages to praying the Rosary:

    [1] The Rosary is concrete. By this he means we receive a positive boost from holding this blessed, tangible object in our hand. In an increasingly cyber and invisible world, it's reassuring to be able to physically slip the beads through our fingers as we pray.

     [2] The Rosary is disciplined. Here, Bishop Barron refers to the Buddhist concept of “monkey mind.” Left to their own devices, our minds hop around like wild chimps from one branch to another. Lost in the dark jungle of mental upheaval, the Rosary offers us a bright path to God's garden of peace.

     [3] The Rosary is slow. In an age that professes faster is better, the Rosary reminds us of the benefits of pausing. We may never be able to divest ourselves completely from the frenetically paced insanity of life on earth. But Mary's prayer offers us a 15-minute respite which brings us much closer to the grace-filled sanity of heaven.

The Liturgical Power of the Rosary

The Rosary has always been and will continue to be a very special and powerful prayer for at least three reasons:

    [1] The Rosary is a Biblical prayer. The mysteries that we meditate on while we're praying the Rosary are drawn from New Testament Scriptures.

     [2] The Rosary is a theological prayer. The scenes we picture as we pray help us recall the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Resurrection.

     [3] The Rosary is a New Evangelization prayer. The Rosary underscores Christ's primary mission, which is to help us change our lives by revealing God's loving and saving plan for us. In this sense, the Rosary recalls the work that Jesus did; his mission; his job, if you will.

The Month of the Disabled

The month of October is also dedicated to the work done by people who have disabilities. Honestly I prefer the term used by Pope Francis in his address to the United Nations on September 25, 2015. Instead of being “disabled,” he spoke of “those who are differently able.” Is there a more positive way to focus on what people can do, instead of what they cannot do?

But here is the ironic twist. The U.S. Congress has designated the month of October as both National Disability Employment Awareness Month as well as National Work and Family Month. While we might assume that these three concepts-work, family and differently abled persons-should complement one another, the truth is this: differently abled persons are drastically under-employed in this country.

Consciousness-Raising

The key to bringing these three concepts closer together is awareness. There is a very strong cadre of persons who are ready, willing and certainly able to move into our workforce with very little, if any, accommodations required by employers. On the upside, differently abled people are extremely competent, dedicated and rarely, if ever, absent from or even late getting to work. So, instead of bypassing them, employers would be wise to give them preference. However, differently abled persons are not expecting preferential treatment, only an equal opportunity to apply for work. Given this opportunity, they can build healthier families and contribute more tax revenue to our national economy. Then, far from being regarded as a burden to society, they would become the real treasure they are.

For Holy Homework: sometime during the month of October let's take 15 minutes to offer the Rosary for this intention: that God will move one employer to give one differently abled person one opportunity to show what ready, willing and able is really all about.

Comments can be sent to: FatherBobPagliari@Yahoo.com

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