Let’s face it; Catholics love Mary and the Rosary.
Trying to sift through all the Marian devotions and offerings is testament to that fact.
Some Catholics are accused of “worshipping” her and relying on rote, impersonal prayers while holding beads; but those of us in the know understand that our love for her and for saying the Rosary has nothing to do with worship and rote memorization and everything to do with the way that she directs us to her Son, our Savior, and the ways we meditate upon His life through the mysteries.
Marian devotion and the praying of the Rosary is not some sort of superstitious nonsense, directing the practitioner to damnation; rather, the Rosary is a tool for those who desire to know Christ fully, to meditate upon Him in a more personal way.
With the Easter season almost here, and Lent providing us a time to get more purposeful in contemplating the life of Jesus, it makes sense to look at Rosary products more in-depth. It has been said that if one spends time on all the mysteries of the Rosary, one has contemplated the essence of the Gospels and these Rosary offerings do just that—bring us to the depths of the Gospel in unique and valuable ways.
1. Susan Bailey is a singer, songwriter and author. I first listened to her Sung Rosary about four years ago and I actually felt as if I were being carried away by angels. There is something about Susan’s voice that lifts your spirit to the heavens. I’ve had the good fortune to speak with Susan on a number of occasions and her passion about her faith and her work are palpable. If you purchase nothing else this year to explore the depths of Jesus’ life, this should be it. Susan’s website is www.sungrosary.com.
2. Like everyone else, Catholics are concerned about health and fitness. The Rosary Workout focuses on the aerobic aspect of physical health, all the while developing the spiritual component through guided Rosary meditations. Bowes flew Air Force jets for nine years before becoming a full-time wife and mother whose family sold all their belongings and travelled the United States in an RV while she homeschooled. She currently continues to fulfill her vocation as wife and mother but is also a speaker, author, blogger and podcaster. The Rosary Workout is a compilation of over 100 different exercises along with the history of the Rosary and ways to make the cadence of the Rosary work for optimum benefits during exercise. Bowes was recently featured on EWTN’s Journey Home because of her compelling reversion story. Everything she has learned about health and faith fills the pages of The Rosary Workout.
3. Who better than to write a book about the Rosary than a convert? There isn’t a Catholic alive who doesn’t understand that one of the biggest obstacles to a Protestant’s conversion to the Catholic faith is Mary and the ways in which Catholics use the Rosary to pray. So when a Protestant writes a book about the Rosary, it is often worth our time and effort. This is because the convert has investigated and researched and prayed, no doubt, for a better understanding about Mary’s Rosary before making the commitment to convert. This naturally leads to a book that ought to be filled with insights that affected the author and can deepen a Catholic’s understanding as well. Matt Swaim delivers—in a big way—in his book The Eucharist and the Rosary, published by Liguori. Swaim takes each of the 20 different mysteries and makes them personal and relevant—while keeping them reverent and “mysterious.” I was particularly affected by Swaim’s pages on the Transfiguration; he writes with clarity and insight. The Eucharist and the Rosary is an excellent physical size to take to Adoration and the handful of reflection questions at the end of each mystery (which also tend to be the perfect length for reading at Adoration) make it a great guide for this time with Christ.
4. As Swaim points out in The Eucharist and the Rosary, there isn’t anyone who does not have some sort of Cross to bear; that being the case, Father Dwight Longenecker’s book Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing is the ideal antidote. Each mystery is examined in a particularly powerful way: First is the Scripture verse followed by a simple explanation; Second, Longenecker includes a few paragraphs called “Think it Through” which gives further explanation of the message of the mystery; Next, there is a short 4 or 5 paragraph story called “Healing Example” which shares a real-life application; the conclusion is a prayer to be recited that makes the inner healing your own. Like Swaim’s book, Father’s book would also be an excellent accompaniment to Adoration.
5. Teaching our children about the power and mystery of the Rosary is a Catholic parent’s job. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this passing on of the faith (and all aspects of living it) is the primary concern of the parent; books such as Little Rainbow Rosary by Rose Maria Dennis is the perfect tool to do just that. Both the storyline of a mother explaining the Rosary to her child, along with the masterful illustrations, make Little Rainbow Rosary the sort of book that parents love to read from and kids love to carry around—and take to Church.
A final suggestion is for iPod fans. Although I’m still not great friends with my iPod, one of the first applications I purchased was iRosary. I’m still “all thumbs” when it comes to working my way around my iPod but on first glance, I do like the app and look forward to becoming more comfortable with my iPod and my techno-Rosary!