THE ROSARY: Chain of Hope
by Benedict J. Groeschel CFR
(Ignatius Press, 2003, 168 pp, $24.95. Available from AD Books)
One of the most tangible symbols of Catholicism is the rosary. Ask non-Catholics to identify a religious object they would associate with Catholicism and they would either point to a crucifix or a rosary. It has been a much loved prayer amongst Catholics for much of the Church's history. However, in recent decades it has suffered a decline in some quarters.
The author observes that the days when an impromptu rosary for the dead President Kennedy, at which young students pulled out the rosary beads they, as a habit carried, and collectively prayed on, have passed.
Nevertheless, the witness of Pope John Paul and his encouragement to pray the rosary have given the devotion new impetus, indications of this being the recent Year of the Rosary and the encyclical letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, through which he promulgated the new set of Luminous Mysteries.
Fr Groeschel brings, as always, his wide breadth of experience as a priest, spiritual guide and writer to the reflections on each of the mysteries, the fifteen traditional and five new Luminous Mysteries.
Praying the Our Fathers and Hail Marys is not vain repetition: rather, it is the basis of entering into reflection upon the events in Jesus's and Mary's lives that are integral to Christian belief and practice. Accompanying each reflection is a beautiful reproduction of a work of art associated with the respective mystery by a master artist. A copy of the Pope's recent encyclical letter on the rosary is attached as an appendix.
The Rosary: Chain of Hope is an excellent resource for renewing one's devotion to this prayer, so central to Catholic devotion. It would also make an ideal Christmas gift.
Michael E Daniel teaches at a Melbourne independent secondary college.