Edward Sri’s new book titled “Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth” is a miracle worker. I have not found a book that is as honest, realistic and inspiring as this book is on the topic of praying the rosary. What I usually find are books written for people who already love the rosary and are good at praying it.
That is not the case for me. I get distracted, I am bored, I don’t get why we repeat the Hail Mary 47 thousand times. Edward Sri confronts all of those issues. From being distracted while praying to feeling like it is a prayer that should be prayed perfectly. He even goes into explaining why we pray the Rosary, its history and the roots of the Hail Mary. I felt as if he was speaking openly and honestly about struggles that I have with the greatest prayer Catholics have.
I have had a long and dramatic relationship with both Mary and the Rosary. I keep trying to ignore this prayer and the Blessed Mother just keeps stalking me with it like a mother following you around with a jacket when it is cold outside.
My husband and I were married on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was not planned that way, it just happened. I just ignored that fact for the most part until the day I had to find a cemetery to bury my son Anthony in. The Catholic cemetery here is named Our Lady of the Rosary cemetery. You would think I would have gotten the message by then, but I am stubborn.
Our Lady grabbed my attention the day that I walked into Jen Fulwiler’s studio to be on her show. It was the third month anniversary of my son’s suicide. When I went to leave she handed me a rosary. She told me the story of seeing me post a picture of the roses that had covered Anthony’s coffin at our parish’s Lady of Guadalupe garden in front of her picture. She went there and grabbed a few roses to have made into a rosary for me. Here’s the thing: I had considered doing that myself so I asked the funeral director to keep the roses for me and not put them on Anthony’s grave. When we went out to the grave to check on things the next day, there they were. I made my husband grab the entire spread, this is one of those big spreads that goes on the coffin so it was huge, and put it in the rental car. When we got home, he brought it in and set it on the coffee table. This is the point where I finally read the instructions on how to send in the roses and realized I only needed two or three, not the entire spread. We looked like grave robbers for nothing and now I had this entire bouquet of roses sitting on my coffee table. My husband and I decided that we could leave it at the feet of Mary the next day after Mass.
Jen told me that she couldn’t figure out how to discreetly get the roses off Anthony’s grave so she just told Mary to handle the situation. And she did. I left her studio with a rosary in my hand that was made from the roses I had covered my son’s coffin with from the bouquet that I left as an offering to the Blessed Mother at the parish my husband and I were married at on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and where the funeral mass for Anthony was celebrated. Message received.
So began my desire to pray the rosary, but not my ability to. Like I said, I was easily distracted, bored and just all around didn’t really understand the “why” behind it. Edward Sri’s book solved that for me. His explanation of how much God loves us and how praying the rosary is a way of spending time with Him made complete sense to me.
What really motivated me to begin a daily rosary though was how Sri explained why we say so many Hail Marys praying the rosary. He said it is because who else knew Jesus the way Mary does? She is His mother, so she knew Him from the minute he began growing in her womb in a way that nobody else does. I can relate. Having carried Anthony in my own womb, birthing him, finding him dead in my garage and burying him, I can honestly say nobody knows him the way I do. I was the last person to see him alive and the last person to hear his voice. He called to tell me good-bye, he didn’t text and he didn’t write a note, he picked up his phone and called me. The relationship between us was special. Why wouldn’t Jesus have that same kind of relationship with His own mother? What better way to know Him than through her eyes?
If you are having issues with praying the rosary or even a problem with the desire to pray it, I would highly recommend getting this book and reading it. I have never had “exercises” work for me and can honestly say this book has gotten me into a daily habit of praying the rosary and it not being a chore or mechanical obligation. Personally, it has given me a space in my life to lay out my grief for Anthony and hand it over to God.