A Navajo rug with a black dotted “spirit line” woven into the fabric.
Dear Parents and Friends of St. Michael’s School,
Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and in the month of October, the church encourages us to pray the rosary more frequently. Pope Leo XIII explained the
importance of the rosary as the one road to God from the faithful to the mother and from her to Christ and through Christ to the Father.
The exact origin of this devotion is unclear. We know that desert monks as far back as the 3
century prayed the psalms each day, and counted off each prayer by dropping a pebble from a small sack containing 150 stones. Others reference a 13
century battle: it is believed that Mary may have interceded by giving St. Dominic a rosary as a tool to fight heretics. Historical accuracy aside, the rosary is a powerful prayer recognized by Catholics world-wide.
Prayer, in all forms, helps us to remain centered and calm in our everyday lives. Prayer connects us more closely to God, and if we are attentive provides us with an understanding of His plan for us. Since Adam and Eve’s disobedience and banishment from the Garden of Eden, every person has been born with the stain of Original Sin (with the exception of Jesus and Mary), and while Baptism washes away this first sin, we struggle throughout our lives to be perfect. But, of course, we are humans and as mere mortals we come up short because only God is perfect, so we continue to pray to seek guidance and relief.
Many cultures around the world recognize and embrace imperfection, and artists and craftsmen intentionally place a small flaw in their designs as a sign of humanity. In the Navajo culture, weavers purposely include a small defect, generally unnoticeable on first glance, near the border of a rug. In Islamic architecture, vaulted ceilings contain minor imperfections that are not easily recognized; and based on the teachings of Buddha, Japanese potters, in the style of wabi-sabi, feature asymmetry and roughness in their designs. Even the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, contains several small architectural flaws deliberately included to remind the faithful that only God can be perfect.
As teachers and parents, it is sometimes difficult to find a proper balance in education. It is important to instill in children the importance of high expectations, but it is equally important to emphasize that perfection, at all costs, is not the goal. In all things, we are asked to work hard, challenge our minds and bodies, and try not to repeat our mistakes. Working toward perfection is desirable, but consistently requiring ourselves to achieve perfection is unrealistic and unhealthy. We need to be patient with ourselves and our own shortcomings as well as with others and their shortcomings of others, because as I mentioned in last week’s note, “
Who is Like God?”