Maha Shivratri and Ash Wedesday

This is a week that has seen special days for both Hindus and Christians...

Monday, Hindus celebrated Maha Shivratri - or the "Night of Shiva." A poison came out of the ocean which could have destroyed all of creation. The other gods prayed to Shiva
to protect their lives by consuming this poison. Pleased with their prayers, and out of compassion for living beings, Lord Shiva drank the poison but it was so intense that something was required to cool its effects as his throat became blue.

Today, Christians celebrate Ash Wednesday, ushering in the liturgical season of Lent, which mindfully and prayerfully commemorates the passion, the death, and the ultimate resurrection of Jesus.

Both of these days are evocative of salvation on some level for the spiritual adherents of these two traditions.

I recently read the book, Our Lady of Kibeho, about a series of Marian apparitions that occurred in Rwanda about a decade before the ethnic genocide took place there. I was so surprised I had never heard of these apparitions. The author of the book, Immaculee Ilibagiza, survived the mass killing of her compatriots by hiding in a priest's bathroom along with several other women. Her whole family, except for one brother was slaughtered. Yet, she managed to forgive those who killed her family, neighbors she had known all of her life.

The young visionaries share that Mary asked them to pray a special rosary reflecting on the Seven Sorrows of Mary. This rosary was commonly recited during the Middle Ages, but had fallen out of favor and simply been forgotten. I searched for one on the internet since I did not have one.

I have always been drawn to rosaries and mala beads, and the repetition of prayers - and have a wonderful collection of both, but I did not have one of these...

Last night, after my meditation, I lay in bed with both my malas and new rosary, and prayed in two traditions, feeling equally comfortable in both. All of my life I have been drawn by rituals, and prayers from all of the world's religions. As I often like to say, I'm sure I have all my bases covered!


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