Should my rosary beads dangle from my rear view mirror in my car?

A few months back, the question of whether it’s okay to wear a rosary around one’s neck engendered a great discussion in the combox. In my article, I shared that I couldn’t find any formal prohibition against doing so, and readers contributed all sorts of fascinating insights about their personal feelings for or against this practice. (Commenters: thank you!).

So when I saw your question, I had to reflect on whether putting a rosary on the car mirror is any different from putting a rosary around one’s neck. And from a spiritual perspective, there doesn’t seem to be much difference. It all goes back to the vital question of why you are putting the rosary there, and whether you are treating the rosary as a sacramental (a sacred object meant to bring about grace through the prayer that it invites and inspires). If you are treating a car rosary simply as a decoration or as a good-luck charm for the road, then that’s a distortion of its purpose. On the other hand, if you are putting the rosary there to inspire you to pray and think of God while you’re driving, then you’re honoring what it is meant to do. (Obligatory safety lecture: make sure that you aren’t violating any state laws by hanging things from your rearview mirror, which can be considered an obstruction of your vision. All told, it might be safer to keep it somewhere else in the car.)

One big plus to having a rosary in your vehicle with you: it’s a visual reminder to practice on-the-road forgiveness. If we’re honest, many of us will admit that it’s pretty hard to keep a spirit of Christian charity when we’re behind the wheel. If the rosary inspires us to love and forgive the guy who cuts us off on the freeway, then that’s a great reason to take one along for the ride.