Friday, April 30, 2010

Another great Rosary saint and a few helpful Rosary books

My bookshelf is filled with books on the Rosary, some more helpful than others.  I've been reading the book pictured at left, Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations and the Telling of the Beads by Kevin Orlin Johnson.  I bought it used on Amazon and am reading a few pages every night before bed.  It's very interesting, thorough and well-researched but is not without flaws.  I do agree with most of the 2-star review on Amazon (especially the very puzzling anti-sports rant), but I still think the book is a valuable resource on the Rosary.  Unlike the reviewer, I found the mystery meditations very helpful.  This is the type of book that one can pick up now and then and read a chapter or two to clarify some aspect of Rosary prayer, history and meditation.

This week, I am reading the section entitled "The Fertile Ground" which traces the history of the Rosary and the spread of its devotion.  I was especially interested in the story of Saint (Pope) Pius V and his leadership during the great Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571.  In a nutshell, the Christian naval force bravely fought the Turkish navy, who was trying to seize control of Europe. Outnumbered, the Christians had little hope of victory, but they did have a secret weapon—the Rosary. At the urging of Pope Pius V, the sailors and devout Christians throughout Europe fervently prayed the Rosary during the battle. Miraculously, the Christians won a decisive victory, preventing Muslim control of Europe.  This triumphant defeat fostered devotion to Mary under the title, Our Lady of Victory, and Pius V declared a feast day on the first Sunday in October in honor of Mary and her role in the battle.  Later, the feast was permanently moved to October 7th and is celebrated as the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

Today (April 30th) is the feast day of Saint Pius V, so why not ask him to pray the Rosary with you today? He certainly can attest to the great power of its intercession!  (It is perfectly fine to ask a particular saint to pray the Rosary with you.  Although Mary is the most powerful intercessor among the saints, asking another saint to join you in prayer is like asking a family member or friend to do so.)

Here are a few other Rosary books that I have found to be especially helpful:
Mystery Stories: A Journey Through the Rosary by James L. Carney
The Rosary:  A Little Summa by Robert Feeney
The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort (worth another mention this week)
Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn (not a Rosary book, per se, but an excellent Marian resource)

Please avoid this book on the Rosary by Gary Wills.  Although I did like the artwork he included, there are too many doctrinal errors (check out the 1-star review for a good summary)

Of course, I have to make a quick plug for my book, The Rosary Workout.  As the reviewer on pointed out, the book is an excellent resource on the Rosary "even if you decide not to exercise".

Finally, I found two informative articles on St. Pius V at Catholic Culture and Catholic Exchange.


The Frat Pack + Me said...

I am enjoying reading your blog. I converted to Catholicism in 1996 but am just now discovery the joy and beauty of the rosary. Your blog has been a wonderful source of info. I particularly appreciate you pointing out which books are good and which to avoid. Thank you for taking the time to blog about this!

Peggy Bowes said...

Thanks for the nice note and a belated welcome to the Catholic faith. I actually paid full price($20!) for Gary Wills' book as it looked fine while flipping through. Another "caveat emptor" lesson. I enjoyed the photos on your blog, and I'm with you-- I run so I can eat cupcakes! God Bless!