PRAYING THE ROSARY: A Complete Guide to the World’s Most Popular Form of Prayer
By Megan McKenna, Doubleday, $33.95 (hardback)
Reviewed by Br Brian Grenier CFC
THERE are many simply written and readily available booklets which are designed to assist us to pray the mysteries of the Rosary with devotion and understanding.
As the subtitle of her new 264-page book implies, Megan McKenna offers her readers rather more substantial fare.
Fittingly, the author’s introductory chapter, which draws on the wisdom of papal teachings and the writings of theologians, is about Mary herself – the disciple and believer who treasured in the depths of her own being the saving events of her Son’s life (cf Lk 2:51).
It is through the eyes of this woman, who “found her life transfigured by grace and spirit into a life bound to others in suffering, birth, death, and resurrection”, that we are invited to see those sacred mysteries and to enter into them in prayerful contemplation.
The second chapter provides a brief history of the Rosary, some details about the manner in which it is traditionally prayed and, with awareness of the challenges of the contemporary world, a few observations about the prayers it embodies.
In the remainder of the book Megan McKenna treats, in a way that is theologically rich, the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the Rosary.
Reflection on these mysteries, as she rightly indicates, should “lead toward a deeper appreciation of and participation in the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist … and must inevitably lead to an intimate reading, study and love of the Word of God itself”.
Each of her reflections on the now 20 mysteries of the Rosary is prefaced by a pertinent passage of Scripture, is supported by quotations from a variety of sources and is concluded with a prayer that takes account of the universal spiritual mystery that unites all Christians and, indeed, all human beings made in the image of God.
Pope John Paul II stated that “the Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation”.
The truth of this assertion is convincingly affirmed by Megan McKenna’s excellent and very readable book.