Praying a Christ-Centered Rosary

Meditations on the Mysteries

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Pub Date 12 Mar 2021 | Archive Date 27 Apr 2021

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The Rosary is one of the most recognizable of all Catholic devotions, yet many who love the Rosary have yet to discover the profound truths contained in its mysteries. In Praying a Christ-Centered Rosary, popular author and teacher James L. Papandrea brings together the devotional heart and the curious mind helping readers tap into the Church’s rich heritage of theological reflection to ponder the mysteries of Christ hidden within the Rosary. With these meditations, Papandrea reveals that while the prayers of the Rosary seem to focus primarily on the Blessed Mother, she always points us back to her son Jesus.

As a revert to Catholicism, James L. Papandrea wasn’t naturally drawn to the Rosary: Its simplicity and repetitiveness seemed to lack the depth he hoped to find in prayer. But over time, he began to understand how the Mysteries of the Rosary could unlock the deepest mysteries of Jesus Christ and foster a profound and personal encounter with God. He will help you do so as well.

Papandrea focuses on the mysteries beyond the Gospel events and taps into two millennia of theological reflection focusing especially on the early Church fathers. He connects each of the twenty Mysteries of the Rosary to one of the deepest truths of Catholic faith. Theological reflections are framed as paradoxes which reveal the profoundly Christological nature of this timeless devotion and empower Catholics to go deeper. Readers will ponder how

· the Visitation reveals an Almighty God who is helpless;

· the Institution of the Eucharist shows Christ as both priest and sacrificial victim;

· the Scourging at the Pillar reveals that our Savior is also a suffering servant; and

· the Descent of the Holy Spirit affirms the interaction between human will and divine grace.

Praying a Christ-Centered Rosary begins with a brief history of Marian devotion and the Rosary’s central place in it. Each of the twenty brief chapters that follow guides readers through one of the Mysteries of the Rosary with three questions which lead to a deeper understanding of our faith: What is the Mystery? Where was Mary in the Mystery? What Does the Mystery Tell Us about Jesus? and closes with a brief prayer. The book concludes with instructions for praying the traditional Rosary along with new prayable theological meditations for each mystery based on the more completely developed content of the book.

The Rosary is one of the most recognizable of all Catholic devotions, yet many who love the Rosary have yet to discover the profound truths contained in its mysteries. In Praying a Christ-Centered...

A Note From the Publisher

James L. Papandrea is a Catholic author, professor, speaker, and musician. He teaches Church history and historical theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University. Papandrea is a fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and also serves as a consultant for adult faith formation. After earning his master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, Papandrea spent several years focusing full time on youth and music ministries and serving as a consultant in youth ministry. He earned his doctorate in the history and theology of the early Christian church from Northwestern. He has also studied Roman history at the American Academy in Rome. Papandrea is the author of a number of books for academic and general audiences, including The Early Church (33-313), A Week in the Life of Rome, From Star Wars to Superman, and Trinity 101. He has appeared on EWTN TV and a number of Catholic radio shows. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the North American Patristics Society, and the Catholic Association of Music.

James L. Papandrea is a Catholic author, professor, speaker, and musician. He teaches Church history and historical theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University...

Advance Praise

“This book will guide you to pray and to meditate in a way that brings together the mind and the heart and allows Our Mother Mary to lead you closer and closer to Jesus through the Rosary.”
Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C. 
National Director of Family Rosary 

“In Praying a Christ-Centered Rosary, James Papandrea proves that the devotion is both Christo-centric and biblically based. In the process, he helps us to discover or reignite our enthusiasm for this powerful spiritual weapon.”
Marge Steinhage Fenelon
Author of My Queen, My Mother 

“This book asks questions pertinent to each mystery of the Rosary and then answers them. Praying a Christ-Centered Rosary will aid the Rosary novice and grow the Rosary pro’s prayer and meditation.”
Fr. Edward Looney 
Author of A Heart Like Mary’s 

“I have used these meditations in my daily Rosary and have come to a new appreciation of the ways in which each mystery has worked good in the world.”
Debbie Staresinic 
Author of Theology of the Body Rosary Meditations 

“This book will guide you to pray and to meditate in a way that brings together the mind and the heart and allows Our Mother Mary to lead you closer and closer to Jesus through the Rosary.”

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Featured Reviews

An excellent resource book for anyone wanting to explore the sacred mysteries of the Rosary. We are lead into gentle meditation which leads to a deeper knowledge of our Lord as seen through His blessed mother. A perfect companion to our rosary beads for existing Catholics or anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the faith

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Jim Papandrea has written a book for the rosary-curious, but not quite rosary-expert; the Christian who is dipping his toes into his first steps as this branch of prayer warrior, calling upon our Lady, but doing so with both a solid intellectual grasp of the mysteries being conveyed, and practical steps to increase one's devotion to Christ. In it, I was able to find fresh approaches to the recitation, bringing these mysteries to life. Highly recommended.

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This prayer book brings the devotion of the Holy Rosary into the troubled world of the 21st century. The format of this book makes it possible to understand each of the mysteries in their historical context and how the events of these mysteries affected the lives of Jesus and Mary. I particularly enjoyed the sections that told me how to imitate each mystery in my life. By showing the Rosary's place in history, Papandrea is showing us how this humble tool has won revolutions for God in world history. The Rosary can and has been prayed throughout history as a form of protest which also brings about conversions to Christ. The Rosary was meant for all Christians, not just Catholics. This book reminds all Christians, that even though we are praying through Mother Mary, we are praying to God. The Rosary is the story of our salvation, the Gospels on beads. This book is unique in explaining what has already been implied for centuries about the Rosary. The Rosary meditations are historical and Christ centered. I reviewed this as an eBook for Net Galley. However I plan on purchasing many physical copies of this book to share with friends. I highly recommend, Praying a Christ-Centered Rosary.

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I want to thank Netgalley & James L Papandrea for my copy of Praying a Christ Centered Rosary: Meditations on the Mysteries, for an honest review. I say the Rosary every day and never really thought I needed a supplement to my prayers. It turns out that Praying a Christ Centered Rosary is the book I never knew, I always needed. It helps me focus on my prayers. It also helped me the mysteries and pray on the different points. I am so glad I was able to get a copy of this book. It was a five star read for me. I have ear marked many pages and have already re-read it. I know for a fact, that I will go to it over and over again. If you pray the Rosary, I would highly recommend, adding this book to your collection.

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When my friend, Jim Papandrea, offered his followers the chance to preview and review his latest book, I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. Each chapter covers one of the twenty mysteries of the Rosary. The structure of each chapter is the same: "What is [the mystery]?"; "Where was Mary?"; "What does it tell us about Jesus?"; "What aspects of this mystery should we imitate?"; a very short closing meditation. So we are provided a solid explanation of the mystery in question (with an invitation to read the relevant Bible passage[s]), an exploration of Mary's particular role in the mystery (it is the Rosary after all!), insights on Jesus we can gain from the mystery (here we get some theology with accessible explanations), and, finally, practical application of some aspect(s) of the mystery in our daily lives. The book closes with an appendix on how to pray the Rosary and another with a different set of meditations from those at the end of each chapter that can be of value while praying the Rosary. While not a very long book (each mystery chapter is about five pages), it is probably not something that one would read before or during each Rosary prayed. Rather, it is worth reading through in advance (maybe over four days as one works through the mysteries in saying the Rosary). A good idea would be to highlight or, better, write down some of the concepts or your personal reflections and keep those with your Rosary so they can be referenced when praying the Rosary. It certainly could be read through again and again with profit, of course. There are many books on the Rosary. This one is a good supplement to all the others in that it is written plainly in a contemporary tone with solid theological backing as well as interesting pious speculation and opinion. Readers can agree or disagree with the latter but it should provide fruit for one's own consideration of the mysteries and encouragement to engage each scene by placing themselves in it. Recommended not only for the lover of the Rosary but also for the person who may have had trouble "getting into it" as it provides depth to the mysteries recalled in that long venerated and powerful prayer.

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A wonderful introduction to the history of and praying the Rosary. Papandrea's writing style is relaxed and at times conversational, which for me made this a joy to read. However, this style in no way detracts from the books ability to gently impart church history and theology to the reader. Highly recommended!

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Part prayer book, part history book, and all fascinating. You can use this book, new from Ave Maria Press, in a variety of ways. In the introduction, the author encourages readers to explore different ways to approach the Rosary to “enrich your devotional life and enliven your faith with new insights” (6). Don’t skip the introduction to this book! Each of the four parts of the book is devoted to a set of Mysteries of the Rosary. A short “A Mystery in History” reading begins each section. After that, the chapter for each mystery contains the answer to four questions: What is (this mystery)? Where was Mary? What does it tell us about Jesus? What aspects of this mystery should we imitate? A brief meditation ends each chapter. At the end of the book, you’ll find a walk-through of the Rosary in one appendix, and a second one with those brief meditations all in one place so you can access them more easily as you pray.

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A good way to get closer to the Blessed Mother and gain a better understanding of the importance of the Rosary. Really is geared to the Catholic reader, but may provide insight to the non-Catholic, as well.

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