We left off, in November, with the story about 1952 cancer victim, Alfred Ebner, the 96 yr. old deer hunter and daily Rosary user, who died on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 4, 1994. The article further mentioned the presentation of the official deer hunters Rosary to the Ebner family at Alfred’s wake. [go to www.hnoj.org or hnojkc.org to find and read last months Rosary story]
Sometimes, the miracles of the Rosary are not real obvious Saul/St. Paul-like lightening flashes that knock you out of your saddle with a life changing event or 180 degree turn-around. For me, it snuck up and slowly grew into something big. In late 1994, I was swimming against the current, pretty hard. As part owner of a small, local brokerage house, the “Black Monday” market crash of 1987 had wiped me out and I had not yet fully recovered. Most of my prayer time was spent begging, whining and deal cutting with God, in a conversational style of delivery. I was 5 years into a Chapter 11 payment plan and filled with self pity and fear. Hearing about Alfred’s Ebner’s cancer/rosary ordeal, in 1952, was the distraction I needed and got my attention.
As I drove back to Plymouth, from the wake, I was mulling over the numbers of how many Rosaries Alfred prayed between ’52 and ’94, ball-parking it over 16,000 and remember thinking how sad it was that a nice long prayer chain of Rosaries was now broken. Growing up half German and half Irish, the Rosary was always a big part of both sides of the Family Tree. When we were kids, the Rosary was occasionally used as a form of punishment for bad deeds, causing most from my generation to shy away from it. Reflecting back on how peaceful my grandparents were whenever they prayed the Rosary and the tremendous importance they placed on it, I thought I should stumble through one, just for old Albert. For the first time since I bought the truck, I turned off the radio and prayed the Rosary. It wasn’t by the book as I was unsure of the order of things and was forced to use fingers on the steering wheel without the beads, but I finished as I pulled into the driveway. It went well enough that I thought I should try to keep Alfred’s daily Rosary going for a while. You know, for my respect for Alfred, hint, hint, wink, wink.
The next morning, I traipsed into the kitchen and wolfed down breakfast and headed for the garage to begin the drive to work. As I started the truck, I remembered that Mom had given us all a Rosary book mark, one Christmas long ago, with instructions and I knew what box it was stored in. The only available time slot in my busy schedule was the drive to work, but how could I survive without listening to the KQ Morning Crew. The radio was still off from the night before so I stumbled through another one of Alfred’s Rosaries. Within a few days, I was calling it my Rosary, instead of Alfred’s and for 20 minutes every day, I began to feel a different kind of peace. While everyone else was swerving in and out of lanes to pick up an extra minute, swearing and gesturing or waiting at those God forsaken metered ramps, I was contemplating mysteries. Over time, the Rosary became and remains the most important part of my day.
Now that’s not as exiting as a cure for cancer, but it was a big time Providential intervention for an out of control, indebted yuppie like me to cross paths with an old Rosary praying deer hunter, minding his own business, grinding out a daily Rosary from a deal he cut with heaven years earlier, unaware that four generations of his family and my family would be dramatically effected by it long after he’s gone. The Rosary gave me more blessings than I can list here today with my faith, my marriage, my kids, my job. It helped me realize the true blessings in life are not financial and that many miracles are small and personal. Peace in a non-peaceful environment, faith, and family are far more valuable than money. His peace can be yours if you let it in. What’s your Rosary story? If you don’t have one, why don’t you give it try for a while and see what develops.
Brenda Coleman will be sharing her Rosary story in January and Davon Yang in February. Enjoy!