Thursday 27 January 2022

Praying the Rosary with the Saints - Nick Donnelly - CTS Devotions

Praying the Rosary with the Saints
Nick Donnelly
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784694388
CTS Booklet D664

This is the eighth title from the pen of Deacon Nick Donnelly that I have read over the last three years. Most of them I have read more than once. This booklet is another excellent offering from his pen. I read it over 5 days, doing a set of mysteries each of the first four and then the biographies of the saints quoted on the fifth. I know this is a way of praying the rosary I will return to often. I have read over 250 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society over the last several years. Several of them penned by Deacon Nick Donnelly. The description of this volume is:

“The Rosary contains the essence of the Gospel, particularly with the new Mysteries of Light, which enable us to meditate on the public ministry of Jesus. This way of prayer has been loved by countless saints, who found it a genuine path to growth in holiness, offering them and us a privileged means for daily conversation with the Lord. Our communion with the saints joins us closer to Christ. They appeal to so many of us because of the love, truth, and sincerity of their lives. In their personalities and actions we see a reflection of the face of Christ, and in their words we hear his voice speaking to us. This eBook enables us to pray with them to Jesus, with Mary.”

The chapters in this small volume are:

How to use this book
The Joyful Mysteries
The Mysteries of Light
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Glorious Mysteries
Lives of the Saints

The book is split almost exactly at 50 percent the rosary and 50 percent on the biographies. This volume was first published in 2004 and the eBook was released in 2017. This is a great method of praying the Rosary either personally or corporately. Great for home devotion, prayer group or in the parish. I have used many different ‘Scriptural Rosaries’ over the years, but this volume with Quotes from Saints is very different. Deacon Nick states in the Acknowledgements:

“This form of scriptural rosary is inspired by Peter Huyck’s A Scriptural Rosary - 1596, itself based on Henry Garnet’s The Societie of the Rosarie, composed during Penal times when possession of a rosary was illegal, under pain of death. The bible quotations are taken from the NRSV and King James Version translations. Quotations from the saints and others have, where it facilitates ease of reading, been edited or abbreviated, without prejudice to the original meaning.”

And in the beginning of the introduction, he states:

“The saints appeal to so many of us because of the love, truth, and sincerity of their lives. In their personalities and actions we see a reflection of the face of Christ, and in their words we hear His voice speaking to us. The saints are living proof that Christ fulfills His promise to remain with His people to the end of time.

During our time, which can seem one of moral confusion, loss of the sense of God, and failure of purpose, we have the opportunity to draw closer to Christ through the saints. Blessed Pope John Paul II beatified and canonised more saints during the 25 years of his pontificate than all his predecessors put together. His urgency came from the certainty that the power of the Church resides in the witness of the saints, who make real in everyday life God’s call to each one of us to become holy. By bringing so many saints to our attention the Holy Father wanted to encourage us to follow the example of their way of life, to share in their fellowship, and to find help through their intercession.

Saints come from every walk of life - teachers, tailors, soldiers, cleaners, farmers, and lawyers. Saints are ordinary men, women and children who come to a moment of grace in their lives when they give themselves totally to God, some as young as 5, some as mothers and fathers, some as widows. Many have to overcome, with the help of God, the objections of their families, misunderstandings from fellow Catholics, and persecution at the hands of the State. But in so doing, they become extraordinary in faith, courage, wisdom, and love.”

A sample of one of the mysteries in this format is:

The Third Sorrowful Mystery - The Crowning with Thorns

Intention: that the holy passion of Jesus is impressed deeply on our souls as we allow ourselves to be immersed in His bitter sufferings, for through these the love of God is enkindled in us and we will then be plunged in the abyss of the divinity. (Paul of the Cross)

1. So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” (John 19:5)

2. He goes crowned: but His very crown is a torture to Him and wounds with a thousand punctures. (Anselm)

3. They worship before Him with bowed knee; they hail Him king: but forthwith they leap up to spit upon His cheeks. (Anselm)

4. In His passion He almost lost the appearance of a man. (Vincent de Paul)

5. Grant that Your crown of prickling thorns, which You for me did wear, may make me willing for Your sake all shame and pain to bear. (Philip Howard)

6. The path I have to tread is full of thorns. Is there a thorn in it that He has not reddened with His own blood? (Claude de la Colombiere)

7. Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, wants all Christians to imitate Him. Now, Jesus has offered this chalice to me also. (Padre Pio)

8. This is the gift proper to the Passion - sorrow in company with Christ in His sorrow, being crushed with the pain that crushed Christ. (Ignatius of Loyola)

9. By the passion, death and merits of Christ Jesu I must be saved. (Margaret Clitherow)

10. The more affliction we endure for Christ in this world, the more glory we shall obtain with Christ in the next. (Philip Howard)”

And the list of saints he draws from is:

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787). 
Angela Merici (1474-1540). 
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109). 
Anthony of Padua (1195-1231). 
Bede the Venerable (673-735). 
Benedict (480-543). 
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). 
Bonaventure (1221-1274). 
Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373). 
Clare of Assisi (1193-1253). 
Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682). 
Columba (Colum Cille) (521-597
Columba Marmion (Blessed) (1858-1923). 
Cuthbert (634-687
David (Dewi Sant) (520-589). 
Dominic (1170-1221). 
Dominic Barberi (Blessed) (1792-1849). 
Edmund Arrowsmith (1585-1628
Edmund Campion (1540-1581). 
Francis de Sales (1567-1622). 
Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). 
Gerard Majella (1726-1755). 
Henry Suso (Blessed) (1295-1366). 
Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556). 
Jeanne Jugan (Blessed) (1792-1879). 
Jean Vianney (Curé d’Ars) (1786-1859). 
John Baptist de la Salle (1651-1719). 
John Bosco (1815-1888). 
John Fisher (1469-1535). 
John Henry Newman (Blessed) (1801-1890). 
John Southworth (1592-1654). 
Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975). 
Louis de Montfort (1673-1716) 
Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586). 
Margaret Sinclair (Venerable) (1900-1925). 
Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Blessed) (1910-1997). 
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968). 
Patrick (389-461). 
Paul of the Cross (1694-1775). 
Philip Howard (1557-1595). 
Philip Neri (1515-1595). 
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253). 
Robert Southwell (1562-1595). 
Simon Stock (1165-1265). 
Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). 
Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897). 
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). 
Thomas Becket (1118-1170). 
Thomas More (1478-1535
Vincent de Paul (1581-1660).

And there are a few biblical passages across the 20 mysteries. A couple sample biographies are:

“Columba (Colum Cille) (521-597). Abbot. An exile from Ireland, Columba founded the famous monastic community on Iona, a remote island off the West Coast of Scotland. From here, he led the mission among the Picts, described as ‘the governing fact of Scottish history’. Experiencing at first hand the horrors of war as a young man in Ireland, his dying words were about peace: ‘I commend to you, O my sons, that ye have mutual and unfeigned charity among yourselves, with peace’.”

“David (Dewi Sant) (520-589). Bishop and Patron of Wales. A disciple of St Paulinus, David established many monasteries in SW Wales. It is recorded that he went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem with two friends, St Padarn and St Teilo, where he was consecrated bishop. Elected primate of the Cambrian Church, he moved the Episcopal seat to Mynyw, which led to the foundation of St David’s Cathedral. His last words, ‘Do the little things that you have seen me do’ (Gwnewch y pethau bychain) are remembered to this day.”

“Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586). Wife and martyr. Brought up in Yorkshire in the new Protestant religion, Margaret married John Clitherow, a lapsed Catholic, at the age of 18. By 21, Margaret converted to Catholicism, and spent the next 12 years assisting the missionary priests visiting York. Arrested many times over the period of her apostolic activity, Margaret spent 3 years in prison. Finally arrested in 1586, Margaret was cruelly executed by being crushed to death, her agony lasting 15 minutes. One of her final acts was to pray for the Catholic Church, the Pope, and ‘especially for Elizabeth, Queen of England, that God turn her to the Catholic faith. For I wish as much good to Her Majesty’s soul as to my own.’”

This is a book that I greatly enjoyed. I loved praying the rosary reflecting on the quotes from the saints for each of the Hail Mary’s. I know I will use this book often and look forward to reading and praying my way through the companion volume, Praying the Rosary with the Martyrs. This is a booklet I am certain readers would benefit from. I continue to tray and tracked down some of Deacon Nick’s other older works that are out of print. I look forward to reading more from his pen. Another great read from the CTS, and the pen of Deacon Nick Donnelly.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Nick Donnelly:
Finding God Series:

Finding God in Anger and Bitterness
Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief
Finding God When Prayer Doesn't Work
Finding God When a Loved One Loses Faith

Other Books by Nick Donelly:
Living with Illness and Suffering
Hope and Healing: Living with Illness and Suffering
Prayers for Grieving Parents: Help After a Miscarriage or Still Birth
Praying the Rosary with the Martyrs
Praying The Creed In The Year Of Faith
Praying the Rosary with the Saints

With Pope Francis Series:
Loving Mary: What Pope Francis Says
Finding Forgiveness with Pope Francis
Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis
Who Is the Devil? What Pope Francis Says
Our Journey to Christmas: With Pope Francis

Fiction by Nick Donnelly:
Ben Armstrong Adventure Series Series:
Curse of the Seawolf
Snare of the Demons
Faith of the Armstrong
Fury of the Dragons

Unattributed books cowritten\ghost written by Nick Donnelly:
Priesthood Today
Fit for Mission? Church
Fit for Mission? Schools
Fit for Mission? Marriage
Fit for Mission? A Guide

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