Monday, October 21, 2002

A beautiful column on praying the rosary by Peggy Noonan

Here is a sampling:

The third joyful mystery is the birth of Christ in a manger. It's not hard to imagine this. It's hard to control one's imaginings. I imagine the trek to the manger, the disheartened young husband, the sound of the eating area of the inn as they trudge on, hungry and alone. And then a car alarm goes off. And suddenly I'm wondering: Did she have a hard labor? Did God want her to know from the beginning that her joy would be ever accompanied by pain? Did she weep him into the world? Maybe it was an easy birth. God knew she was barely more than a child, with a young husband and no help, just the two of them in the cold in a hut on a hill.

When the child was born, did he cry aloud with a great wail, and did the cry enter the universe? Did it become a sound wave of significant density? Is it still out there, radiating out into the stars, and did the Voyager II bump into it? If, as an astronaut, you traveled through that sound wave in the year 2063, would it jostle your space capsule and disturb your small universe? Would you hear something? What?

Did someone unrecorded by history see a light in the hut on the hill and come to help Mary and Joseph that night? Maybe there was an old woman with moles and wens and a sharp bent nose, a woman almost comically ugly, like a witch in a child's Halloween book. Maybe she lived in isolation, never left her small hovel, but she felt called to assist, tugged by some wonder that pierced her estrangement. She helped with the birth, and hers was the first face he saw. Her outer appearance was an expression of the inner wounds he came to heal. As if she were the physical representation of the state of man's soul. Maybe it was she who wrapped him in rags; maybe she bent down, breathed him in, her face bathed in the warm mist of a brutal birth on a frosty night. Maybe when she returned home she was beautiful. But no one knew, and it all went unrecorded, because she never left the house again. And never knew she had been made lovely.