The day my neighbor brought me the discarded rosary I learned that noted Catholic author Mitch Finley had written a book called "The Rosary Handbook: A guide for Newcomers, Old-Timers and Those in Between" (The Word Among Us Press, 2006). I keep telling others about this upbeat and easy-to-understand book.cf. Garry Wills's book, The Rosary
Finley, the recipient of six Catholic Press Association awards and an excellence in writing award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, sheds light on a question I am asked occasionally: Why do Catholics refer to the "mysteries" of the rosary? He says the term "mystery" is "correctly defined as 'a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand.'"
Finley also points out that the rosary focuses on what theologians call the "Christ event." Central to this is Jesus' mother, Mary. Rather astonishingly, Finley convincingly affirms that the rosary is a feminist prayer.
"The rosary steeps a man's heart and soul in the feminine dignity and presence of the woman Mary," he explains. "Thus, men who pray the rosary with understanding grow to respect and honor all women more."
I was most moved by Finley's thoughts on the sorrowful mysteries that help us see in the passion of Christ "the extent to which Jesus went in order to fully embrace the experience of being human. ... He had to abandon himself to his unavoidable fate and trust that God's love was trustworthy. And that's exactly what we must do as well."
In the final chapter of this beautiful book, Finley speaks of the luminous mysteries, added by Pope John Paul II in 2002, to emphasize that Jesus is the light of the world. Finley singles out Jesus' baptism, his self-manifestation at the wedding at Cana, his proclaiming that the kingdom of God had come, his transfiguration and institution of the Eucharist.
"The addition of these 'new' rosary mysteries brings a more complete balance to the rosary and a more complete awareness of the public ministry of Jesus to those who pray the rosary," Finley says.
As for me, I believe if you read this book you'll think of the rosary in a new way. Once again it will be a key opening a doorway into the presence of God.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
"Why the rosary is the perfect prayer" - Antoinette Bosco, The Bottom Line, Catholic News Service: