Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book Review: The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary

Several years ago during Advent, I found a Catholic blog that was well-written, interesting, and full of practical ideas for incorporating our faith into our daily lives. I quickly became a regular reader of Karen Edmisten.

When she shared with her readers that she had written a book, I thought, "I really should read that book. I'm sure it's full of really helpful information." Like so many people, I struggle with the Rosary. I go through periods when I pray a Rosary every day, and then months go by and I do little more than glance at the Rosary beads hanging on the hook in my bedroom.

Karen has been able, through her blog, to help me make Advent and Lent more meaningful for my family. I was sure that her book would help me to better understand and pray the Rosary as well. I was thrilled to learn that I could get a copy through the Catholic Company's Reviewer program!

The book arrived in the mail, and I jumped right into it. Karen writes in a friendly, easy-going manner. This book is a quick read, but filled with tons of information, explanations, and jumping-off points.

I have always struggled with meditating on the mysteries. Karen provides concrete examples:

"You want to pray the Joyful Mysteries. You think about the Annunciation,
the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she's been chosen to be the mother
of our Lord. As you begin an Our Father and ten Hail Mary's, focus your thoughts
only on that scene. Perhaps you wonder what it would feel like to have an angel
appear before you. Would you be terrified? Would you doubt, faint, or scoff?
What did Mary think?

Or you might focus on the fact that Mary said yes to God. This gets you
thinking about the ways in which you respond to God every day. Are you
saying yes, or are you holding out? In what ways are you not giving yourself
completely to him?" (p. 60)
This little gem of a book is full of such practical, useful tips. I particularly loved chapter nine, "Making It Work." Beginning by admitting that prayer is hard, Karen provides the motivation to incorporate more prayer into our days. Several pages list dozens of different ways to improve our prayer lives. (She even suggests praying the Rosary in the shower... that's one I never would have thought of!)

The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary has a new place of honor on the top of my nightstand. It is a book that I have already read twice, and one I know that I will turn to often... for the gentle support and wise encouragement as I continue to plod my way ever closer to the Kingdom.

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