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Posted August 25, 2009

Book: The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary
Author: Karen Edmisten
Servant Books. Cincinnati, OH. 2009. Pp. 86

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

In this book we’ll take a closer look at all of the worries, hesitations and questions that can be our unwelcome companions in prayer and particularly in praying the rosary. And whether you’re a cradle Catholic who grew up with the rosary, a convert who came to it late as I did or merely a curious onlooker, I hope this book can act as a primer, a reference and a source of support. It comes to you not from an expert but simply from a fellow traveler. Think of me as your friend on the journey, offering to share the best stops, the most nourishing refreshment and the most stunning miracles that she’s found along the way.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Unfathomable Riches: Meditating on the Mysteries

“By its nature the recitation of the rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closed to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are unfolded. Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus

In chapter three I mentioned that meditation is “a quest” for greater understanding of God and our life with him. This quest uses “thoughts, imagination, emotion, and desire” to whet our appetites for a more meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. That is its purpose.

We don’t meditate in order to pass a prayer test or be able to chat with friends about how fascinating meditation is. We do it as a means to an end: to grow closer to Jesus. Regularly employed, meditation will do that. Let’s see how it works.

We’re after “thought, imagination, emotion and desire.” Substitute one of those words for meditation, and see what happens.

Instead of “Mediate on the third joyful mystery,” try “Think about the birth of Jesus.” Now try the other elements of meditation too: “Imagine what is was like to witness the birth of Jesus. What emotions did Mary feel at his birth? What about Joseph? The shepherds? How would I have felt if I’d been there? Do I desire to be transformed by the birth of Jesus? What do I desire?

When we substitute these simple words, suddenly meditation isn’t so intimidating. It is not some sort of dreamy, otherworldly condition or altered state of consciousness. It does not necessarily involve something dramatic, like weeping or levitating. Meditation is simply focusing on God or, more specifically, focusing on one thing about God to one piece of his life at a time — one episode, one teaching or one demonstration of his love — we are “learning him.”

This “one thing at a time” concept is an important one. Our minds are in constant motion — planning, thinking, plotting and wandering. Meditation is a way of herding the stray thoughts, corralling them and setting them aside for a time, so that we have room for the moment’s “one thing.”

Table of Contents:

1. A safe port

2. The rosary: its origins and its miracles

3. Beyond words

4. Hail Mary

5. The mother’s place

6. Don’t worry: the mechanics of the rosary

7. “Learning Him”; The mysteries of the rosary

8. Unfathomable riches: meditating on the mysteries

9. Making it work

10. Take heart: a final word on perseverance