Unearthing New Meaning in Two Familiar Prayers

In case you haven’t heard:

HUNTINGTON, Indiana, May 15, 2012 – Because people don’t really know what they are doing when they pray, God sends them help, says one of the most renowned authors on the Catholic faith. The prayers most Catholics have known since childhood — the Our Father and the Hail Mary — often dissolve into rote recitation with little thought to their meaning. But there is infinite power to their words.

With Christ as teacher in the school of prayer – through example, Scripture, and the Liturgy of the Mass, says Mark Shea in his new book – he shows how the ‘Our Father’ is a deeply covenantal prayer between a child and his Father (Luke 11:2). Shea likewise explains the role of Mary as spiritual mother and intercessor (John 19:27), and how Christ intended that she continually stand by the faithful through their crosses in life and death – just as she did with her Son.

Shea’s latest book The Heart of Catholic Prayer: Rediscovering the Our Father and the Hail Mary (Our Sunday Visitor, 159 pp), provides readers a line-by-line analysis of the Church’s most foundational prayers – the Our Father and the Hail Mary.

Shea weaves the contemporary with the historical, and the theological with the practical, as he elucidates these two foundational prayers. His fresh and penetrating perspective leads readers through each line, unveiling their true meaning. Readers can then appreciate the value of the prayers as personal meditation, as well as their place in the rich tradition of the Church.

“To learn and understand the Our Father and the Hail Mary is to learn the deepest contours of the Church’s interior life, for both are prayers that come from the Holy Spirit, who is the soul of the Church,” writes Shea.

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  • Steve P

    I’m looking forward to digesting this and sharing it, Mark– I remember some of the thoughts you put together on these a few years back, and I was always very touched by the fresh insight and appreciation you offered to something so old and familiar.

    God bless!

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Yaaaa! Christmas presents for my Baptist kin!

  • You sent this book out to me two weeks ago and I still haven’t got it. Bloody Irish postal service!! Well, I’ll enjoy it more when it finally reaches me….

    • Mark Shea

      Another reason to live in hope! 🙂


  • “…says notorious homosexual activist and self-described ‘Dark Lord’ Mark Shea in his new book…”

    I fixed it up for you, Mr. Shea. No charge!

    • Mark Shea


  • Sherry Weddell

    Your renown, O Dark Lord, fills the earth . . .

    • Mark Shea

      Soon, I will destroy you, my Queenly Rival. Your book will be blotted from the memory of mankind! Muuuwahahahaha!

  • dpt

    “Our Father”

    The first two words are enough to get me thinking and reflecting about my relationships with God, my family, and my neighbors.