Monday 31 July 2017

Praying the Rosary Like Never Before - Edward Sri - Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth

Praying the Rosary Like Never Before:
Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth
Edward Sri
Servant Books a division of
Franciscan Media
ISBN 9781632531780

For the last couple of years I have had a few books by Edward Sri on my to be read list, but had not got to them yet. After reading this book they have jumped way up in that pile of books waiting to be read. Dr. Edward Sri packs a lot of material into this short volume on the Rosary. In 12 chapters and under 200 pages this book is about encountering Jesus, engaging Jesus through Mary and being encouraged in our faith through this devotion. Dr. Sri encourages us by unfolding this simple prayer and taking the intimidation factor out of this practice. Throughout the book we are inspired to engage with Jesus and Mary and the biblical narrative. And Through the reflections, and meditation we will encounter Jesus and be drawn closer to him.

The book opens with a quote from Pope Saint John Paul II: "These words express, so to speak, the wonder of heaven and earth; they could be said to give a glimpse of God's own wonderment as he contemplates his "masterpiece"-the Incarnation of the Son in the womb of the Virgin Mary.… The repetition of the Hail Mary in the Rosary gives us a share in God's own wonder and pleasure: In jubilant amazement we acknowledge the greatest miracle of history." And that is Sri's starting point. He outlines how the Rosary can be integral to our faith, and how it can draw us home.

The chapters in this book are:
Why Pray the Rosary?
The Wandering Mind and Other Struggles
Too Much Attention to Mary?
The Hail Mary: Jesus at the Center
Repetition: You Can Never Say "I Love You" Enough
The Origins of the Rosary
More than Words: Ten Ways to Encounter Jesus More in the Rosary
Seeds for Contemplation: Biblical Reflections on the Joyful Mysteries
Seeds for Contemplation: Biblical Reflections on the Luminous Mysteries
Seeds for Contemplation: Biblical Reflections on the Sorrowful Mysteries
Seeds for Contemplation: Biblical Reflections on the Glorious Mysteries
A Scriptural Rosary
How to Pray the Rosary

In the preface Sri states:

"A good Catholic friend of mine summed up what I think is the sentiment of many: "If you could help a simple, ordinary guy like me understand what the rosary is all about and inspire me to find time to pray it, that would go a long way. I just need to figure out how to pray it in a way that will be meaningful to me." 
That's what this book aims to do: inspire ordinary Catholics to turn to their beads more often and help them pray the rosary in a way that is meaningful for their lives-in a way that is truly life-giving. And in the process, I hope they'll discover what many great saints and ordinary folk throughout the centuries have experienced: a deeper peace, joy, and encouragement that comes from the subtle but profound encounter one can have with Jesus and Mary in this prayer."
And that is what he does throughout the rest of the book. As you work through the book either on your own or in a group, each chapter ends with a series of questions. They are intended for group study but can also be worked through individually. Each chapter has either 4 or 5 questions in this section. The chapter that had the greatest impact on me was "More than Words: Ten Ways to Encounter Jesus More in the Rosary" The questions from the end of this chapter as an example are:

"Group Study Questions
1. Why is the Glory Be a fitting finale for each decade of the rosary? How does this prayer relate to the mysteries we contemplate?
2. How do the beads aid your prayer of the rosary?
3. Pope St. John Paul II wrote, "It is clear…that many people will not be able to recite more than a part of the Rosary" every day, and hence comes the practice of reciting different sets of mysteries on different days. Some people might find it difficult to recite even five decades at one sitting-or kneeling. What are some ways of incorporating the rosary into a busy schedule?
4. The pope suggested that reciting different mysteries throughout the week "has the effect of giving the different days…a certain spiritual 'color'" (RVM, 38). How can the Joyful Mysteries color your Mondays and Saturdays? The Luminous, your Thursdays? The Sorrowful, your Tuesdays and Fridays? The Glorious, your Sundays?"

The four chapters going deeper in the bible on each of the different mysteries are wonderful. And overall it is an excellent book. I would see it becoming a spiritual classic on the Rosary over the next few decades. It is a wonderful book and a great tool for our spiritual life. I highly recommend it!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Edward Sri:
Mystery of the Kingdom: On the Gospel of Matthew
Follow Me: Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John
Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary's Queenship
Dawn of the Messiah: The Coming of Christ in Scripture
A Biblical Walk Through the Mass: Understanding What We Say and Do In The Liturgy
Men, Women and the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights from John Paul II's Love and Responsibility
Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross
The Bible Compass: A Catholic's Guide to Navigating the Scriptures
The New Rosary in Scripture: Biblical Insights for Praying the 20 Mysteries
The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible
Who Am I to Judge? Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love
Dawn of the Messiah: The Coming of Christ in Scripture
Love Unveiled: The Catholic Faith Explained
The Advent of Christ: Scripture Reflections to Prepare for Christmas
Pope Francis and the Joy of the Gospel: Rediscovering the Heart of a Disciple
A Guide to the New Translation of the Mass
Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth
The Da Vinci Code and the Bible: Separating Fact from Fiction
The Da Vinci Deception: 100 Questions about the Facts and Fiction of the Da Vinci Code

Contributed to:
Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God
Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God
Catholic for a Reason III: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mass
Scripture & the Mystery of the Mass
Letter & Spirit, Volume 8: Promise and Fulfillment: The Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments

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