Marrying the Rosary to the Divine Mercy Chaplet: Book Review

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I was über excited when I won this book from the Dominican Institute. I had heard a lot about it and I’ve been praying the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet back to back regularly for a few months (ever since I learned about my maternal grandfather’s death). I wanted to see what it would look like praying them together. I was not disappointed, however I think it’ll take more practice to really get somewhere with it.

So far, I have prayed the Joyful Mysteries a couple times with the assistance of this book. At first, it is a little jarring to pray 10 Hail Marys followed more-or-less immediately by a decade of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, but you do get used to it. I was particularly intrigued by the reflections that went with the mysteries however. I’ve never read a set of reflections that connected each of the Joyful Mysteries with the mystery of the Cross before. It’s strange and edifying to look at each of the Joyful Mysteries in light of Jesus’ death. Looking ahead, all of the reflections in this book connect each of the 20 mysteries to the passion and death of Jesus.

Why? It is one way of marrying the two prayers. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is all about the Crucifixion, asking for God’s mercy in light of it. Other great thinkers such as Venerable Fulton Sheen have pointed out that the Gospels need to be read in light of Jesus’ crowning moment on the cross. These meditations participate in that.

Honestly, I had wondered if putting the prayers together would save me time in prayer, but it doesn’t. Don’t come to this book thinking it’ll save you time. Come to this book wanting to deepen your prayer life.

You do not need to be really familiar with both prayers to be able to follow this book, but it does help to have some familiarity with the Rosary. You don’t need to be familiar with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at all, as the book does give a good introduction to it.

Marrying the Rosary to the Divine Mercy Chaplet is available at your favorite bookseller now. I highly recommend it for deepening your prayer life and an opportunity to look at the Rosary and the Chaplet in a new way.

PS: I highly recommend clicking on the link above to check out the book on Amazon for two reasons:

  1. Shane Kapler messaged me on FB to encourage you to look at the “Look Inside” feature on the book on Amazon. It gives you a taste of the cool, classical art work that accompanies every reflection on every mystery of the Rosary.
  2. I’m now an Amazon affiliate, so if you click on that link and buy anything from Amazon (doesn’t have to be the book, although I highly recommend it), I get a cut at no extra cost to you. Please support my family and this blog!

Thoughts on Mercy from Nadia Bolz-Weber

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The adjective so often coupled with mercy is the word tender, but God’s mercy is not tender; this mercy is a blunt instrument. Mercy doesn’t wrap a warm, limp blanket around offenders. God’s mercy is the kind that kills the thing that wronged it and resurrects something new in its place. In our guilt and remorse, we may wish for nothing but the ability to rewrite our own past, but what’s done cannot, will not, be undone.

But I am here to say that in the mercy of God it can be redeemed. I cling to the truth of God’s ability to redeem us more than perhaps any other. I have to. I need to. I want to. For when we say “Lord have mercy,” what else could we possibly mean than this truth?

And to say “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy” is to lay our hope in the redeeming work of the God of Easter as through our lives depended on it. Because they do. It means that we are an Easter people, a people who know that resurrection, especially in and among the least likely people and places, is the way God redeems even the biggest messes we make…

– Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints, stay tuned for book review next week

“Be Not Afraid”- Jesus, St. John Paul II…

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From this artist. Check her out!

I state right from the outset: “Be not afraid!” This is the same exhortation that resounded at the beginning of my ministry in the See of St. Peter. Christ addressed this invitation many times to those he met. The angel said to Mary: “Be not afraid!” (Luke 1:30) The same was said to Joseph: “Be not afraid!” (Matthew 1:20) Christ said the same to the apostles, to Peter, in various circumstances, and especially after his Resurrection. He kept telling them: “Be not afraid!” He sensed, in fact, that they were afraid. They were not sure if who they saw was the same Christ they had known. They were afraid when he was arrested; they were even more afraid after his Resurrection. The words Christ uttered are repeated by the Church. And with the Church, they are repeated by the Pope. I have done so since the first homily I gave in St. Peter’s Square. “Be not afraid!” These are not words said into a void. They are profoundly rooted in the Gospel. They are simply the words of Christ himself.

– St. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope

His feast day is tomorrow! Please remember this awesome saint! JPII, pray for us!

John Paul II on the Rosary

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless saints and encouraged by the magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of the third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.

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It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Christ is Lord and Savior, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn” (Gaudium et Spes). The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium.

Visitation LMonacoIt is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation, which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sit at the school of Mary and are led to contemplate the beauty of the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.

– St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae on the Most Holy Rosary, October 16, 2002

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Woman in the Bible: Esther

Tonight begins the holiday of Purim for our Jewish brothers and sisters. It’s one of their bigger holidays. People dress up in costumes, feast and give to charity. They attend services twice, once tonight and again tomorrow. Between the two, they hear the entire story of Esther, one of the coolest women found in Scripture.

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“Queen Esther” by Edwin Long

The story goes thus:

The King of the Persian Empire called for his wife. She refused to come to him and so he had her executed. In search for a new Queen, he put on a beauty pageant. Esther won. He didn’t know that Esther was a Jew and she certainly wasn’t going to tell him. The Jews were under the power of the Persian Empire at the time and there were anti-Semitic movements afoot.

Meanwhile, the King’s right hand man, Haman, plotted against the Jews. Everyone was supposed to bow to Haman, but Esther’s cousin (who had raised her) refused. As a faithful Jew, he would only bow to God. This served as a catalyst for Haman to call for the extermination of all Jews in the empire.

Esther saw all of the Jews in mourning and wondered why. Her cousin explained to her what Haman was planning to do and asked her to intercede. She was afraid to do so because anyone who went to the king without being called was executed, but her cousin argued, “Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” She agreed to intercede and asked her cousin to have the Jews fast for her success.

She succeeded in getting an audience with the king where she invited him and Haman to dine with her. She wined and dined them a few times and then finally let her wishes be known to the King. She revealed Haman’s plot and Haman was executed. The entirety of Haman’s estate is given to Esther’s cousin and he is elevated to Haman’s old position at the King’s side..

My brief summary does leave some things out. I highly recommend reading the story yourself. It is only 11 pages long in my Bible. It is one of the shortest books in the Old Testament.

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Plaque found under the picture shown above.

 

What can we learn from her?

  • Being open to God’s call and realizing that everything is part of His plan
  • Courage, lots of courage
  • Interceding for one another. The Jews prayed for Esther as Esther argued for them.
  • The feminine genius in her gentle, almost seductive way of making her wants and needs known and her openness to the feelings and needs of others.

She is one of the greatest heroines in Scripture, more than worthy of all of the music, writings and other art inspired by her.

Chag Purim Sameach! (Hebrew for “Happy Purim!”)

Learn more:

A Brief Guide to Purim

Wikipedia

Note: If you are having deja vu in reading the description of Purim, you are not going crazy. Some scholars believe that there is a close relationship between Purim and Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), that the holidays borrowed customs from one another in the Middle Ages.

A picture from a Purim parade.

A picture from a Purim parade in Israel that would easily fit in the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. 

 

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a poem to Our Lady?

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Hymn of the Angelus

At morn, at noon, at twilight dim,
Maria, thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe, in good and ill,
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee;
Now, when the storms of fate o’ercast
Darkly my present and my past,
Let my future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine.

-Edgar Allan Poe, best known for The Raven and other creepy stories

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The Angelus by Jean François Millet. Traditionally, the bells of the church would ring and everyone would stop what they were doing to pray the Angelus three times a day. “Pray without ceasing”- 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Mary, Queen of Peace

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See Mary seated on her glorious throne, the Christ child standing on her lap. She looks down upon us with great care and compassion. Her hand is raised as if she is fending off anything that could harm us. The Christ child, on the other hand, is patiently awaiting the time he gets to drop the olive branch.

This statue was made under the direction of Pope Benedict XV at the end of World War I. The war decimated Europe and everyone hoped that it would never happen again. There is still so much violence in the world. The genocide of Christians in Iraq, the senseless violence against schoolchildren in Nigeria, unaccompanied children running away from the cartel violence in Mexico, forced abortion in China, and mass killings at our own backdoor, only to name a very few.

Most holy and immaculate Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our loving Mother, being his Mother, you shared in his universal kingship. The prophets and angels proclaimed him King of peace. With loving fervor in our hearts we salute and honor you as Queen of peace. 

We pray that your intercession may protect us and all people from hated and discord, and direct our hearts into the ways of peace and justice which your Son taught and exemplified. We ask your maternal care for our Holy Father who works to reconcile the nations in peace. We seek your guidance for our President and other leaders as they strive for world peace. 

Glorious Queen of peace, grant us peace in our hearts, harmony in our families and concord throughout the world. Immaculate Mother, as patroness of our beloved country, watch over us and protect us with your motherly love. Amen.- Catholic Online