First of all, let me say, author Edward Sri is a boss. He’s a real Catholic heavyweight. I thoroughly enjoy his books and often gasp or stare with wide eyes at the truth bombs that he drops! He takes stories I’ve heard dozens of times and explains them with this effortless and crystal clarity that makes me feel as if I’ve never heard the story at all before!
I’m also in a big rosary place, as I think many Catholics are feeling as if we don’t know how to heal the world so we cling to our Blessed Mother for hope on this bumpy ride. When I saw that Edward Sri wrote a book about the rosary, I knew I had to read it!
I was not disappointed in the least with Praying The Rosary Like Never Before. Lots of what I call “bug eye” moments that left me feeling excited and uplifted!
First, he tells it like it explaining all the reasons we don’t pray the rosary or don’t understand its importance.
Still others think the rosary is just plain boring—a monotonous, dry, mechanical way of talking to God, not as personal and meaningful as other forms of prayer. “It’s like taking the garbage out for your wife. You know you should do it, but date night is more exciting.” “Sure, the rosary might be good for you—like flossing your teeth—but it’s not as interesting and meaningful to me as spiritual reading or adoration.”
Even I am guilty of this: “Maybe we show up at a Catholic event and see people handling the beads, and our hearts sink. We say to ourselves, “Oh, no. Not a whole rosary now! Maybe they’ll just do a decade.””
Then he drops this simple and yet profound sentence which will forever change the way I think about the rosary.
“The rosary is like a portable chapel we can keep in our pocket and pull out anytime, any place.”
A large part of the book focuses on biblical references to each of the mysteries so we can go deeper in prayer and contemplation about the life of Christ while holding our rosary beads. I almost wanted to skip this (rather large) section of the book.
“Yeah, yeah, I know about the Annunciation already.” But I read a few anyway and quickly came to see that I had NOT read the Annunciation with such insight and depth. There is also a section that compares all the narratives about the Ark of the Covenant with Mary visiting Elizabeth that blew my mind!
Do not skip this section for it is rich in wisdom and some astonishing connections between the Old and the New Testaments. I can’t list all my favorite parts here because it would start to look like a whole book!
The other compelling section of this book is about John Paul II’s ten insights into the rosary. Leave it to this holy man to show us precisely how praying the rosary can lead us to a perfect relationship with Mary. These ten points are each interesting and easy to apply.
Perhaps most surprisingly of all, especially since I’ve now read many books about the rosary, is the idea that Jesus is at the very center of each Hail Mary. Right there, in the middle!
“And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” John Paul II says that Jesus’s holy name not only serves as the hinge joining the two parts of the Hail Mary but also is this prayer’s very “center of gravity.”
Sri goes on to share, “A friend of mine suggests that we treat the name of Jesus in the Hail Mary like a speed bump: Slow down as you approach it, and speak it with care and attention. ‘Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, . . . Jesus.’”
This idea is so simple and yet I have missed it all this time. Now when I pray the Hail Mary, there is a sweetness on my tongue when I stop at the word Jesus. It makes my former Protestant self very happy and I feel a renewed sense of reverence for this beautiful prayer.
Ladies, in a world where our minds are running a mile a minute to keep up with the demands of us as perfect mothers, let’s us seek rest in the rosary. I’ll leave you with this last quote to sell you on how wonderful this book is!
“In the rosary meditation, the mantra of the repeated Hail Marys quiets the monkey mind, compelling it to cede place to deeper reaches of the psyche.”
What time of day do you like to pray your rosary? Do you have a favorite spot you like to pray at?
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Copyright 2017 Sterling Jaquith
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