THE GIFT OF THE ROSARY:
How to Make and How and Why to Pray
by Brian Peachey
(The Record, Perth, second edition, 2012, 52pp, $8.00. 978-0-64641-443-0. Available from Freedom Publishing)
Of all the religious books written, those on Our Blessed Mother and the rosary would have to be among the most numerous. Throughout history the mysterious reality of the Blessed Virgin's submission to the demands of incarnate love, bringing the God man into the world, has captured the imagination and loyalty of legions of Catholics and other Christians.
A key expression of this affection has been the recitation of the simple string of prayers called the Rosary. Over the centuries numerous tracts have been produced to help people "tell the beads" as they focus on the central historical events of Christ and His Blessed Mother.
Making a rosary
This second edition of Brian Peachey's The Gift of the Rosary contains excellent guides to help us pray the traditional mysteries, as well as appealing additional features to encourage our devotion. It not only has a brief history of the rosary, but also provides step by step instructions with accompanying photographs how, with a few basic tools, to make our own rosary.
The author solves the problem of obtaining beads by the simple process of using olive seeds and growing Job's Tears, which Blessed Mother Teresa made famous.
Throughout the centuries it has been Mary who has continuously displayed maternal concern for her vain and rebellious children. In recent times such as at Fatima she has urged prayer and penance to avert suffering and regain the peace that can only come from God. The popes have consistently repeated the message, particularly Blessed John Paul II, who said it was her intervention that saved him from assassination in 1981. As much as any other pope he promoted devotion to Our Blessed Mother.
The booklet was given an imprimatur by Archbishop Hickey on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and continues the tradition of fostering our love for the mother of our Saviour.
It has a beguiling Chestertonian thread to it, with many of the elements of the balance and harmony of Christian life. It includes the ancient biblical fruit of the olive, its links with wine and the bonhomie of fellowship, the simple pleasure of working and creating something with one's own hands, while balancing it all with the constant reminder of the need for prayer and mortification.
There are chapters on why we should always carry the rosary and a timely and urgent reminder of its role in the task of eventually ending the terrible toll of abortion, described by Blessed John Paul II as the "culture of death".
It includes The Mysteries of Light presented in 2002 by Pope John Paul II on the 25th anniversary of his pontificate and there is a section on St Joseph chosen by God to be the spouse of Mary, "the most beautiful woman ever created". The author has even created five St Joseph mysteries to help meditate upon the life of the one unique man chosen as the husband of Mary and foster father of our Saviour.
Also included is some delightful Australian poetry, including "The Trimmin's on the Rosary" from Around the Boree Log by John O'Brien (Fr Patrick Hartigan).