Tag Archives: jpii

Shooting Satan: The Powerful Rosary

courtesy of free images.com

courtesy of free images.com

As bad as I am about remembering to pray it daily, I really love the Rosary. Our Lady’s Psalter is truly one of the most powerful prayers. A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend a Marian Eucharistic Conference with my parish, and I vividly remember one of our speakers, Deacon Harold Burke Sivers, telling us that every Hail Mary was “a bullet in the heart of Satan.” He’s right, but why is the rosary such a powerful prayer? I believe it’s because the rosary is a Gospel-focused prayer; while we are asking Mary’s intercession, we’re also meditating on Christ’s life. Saint John Paul II wrote in Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 

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.

So when we pray the rosary, we are really praying the Gospel in a way, and that’s why I love the scriptural rosary. Often I’m astounded at how powerful this prayer is. I wouldn’t have believed Deacon Harold if I hadn’t experienced it myself. When I first joined RCIA, we learned to pray the rosary. I know I wrote about it a little in my New Year’s resolutions post, and it seems crazy, but I really believe I experienced a miracle. For months I had been struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. I was also struggling with habitual impurity, as much as I tried to control my thoughts and myself. Nothing was working, and I just didn’t feel right. It was like I was somebody else. I took my rosary home and prayed it the best that I could, and immediately I felt calm and peaceful. A weight lifted off my shoulders and I knew that Mary was there with me. As a former Baptist, I was struggling with devotion to Our Lady, and I think the Holy Spirit was reassuring me then that I could love her too.

I started praying the rosary every day, and I also began the Three Hail Mary devotion, asking Our Lady to intercede for me in the fight against impurity. Everything changed so quickly I couldn’t call it anything less than a miracle. I was calmer, less anxious, and more in control of myself that I had been in weeks. I was even sleeping more soundly. Our Lady’s Psalter is a powerful tool in the fight against depression and impurity; now, when I have a panic attack I reach for my rosary beads and pray the mysteries. I can focus on the Gospel, and not the fear I’m feeling. If I feel angry our out of control, I say a Hail Mary and ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

These little prayers are so effective and easy to say. With the rosary, we can go with Mary to cast our troubles on Jesus. We can lose our hurts and fears in the joy and light of the Gospel. It doesn’t matter if we don’t pray it perfectly; as long as we are doing our best, Jesus understands.  Just ask St. Thérèse, who despite her deep affection for Mary, struggled with the Rosary prayers.

I hope this post has encouraged you to pick up your rosary today and call your Mom. even if you only pray one decade, I’m sure she’ll appreciate hearing from you.

In His Sacred Heart,


The Oxford NRSV Catholic Reader’s Edition

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader's Edition.

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader’s Edition.

The picture above found its way into my post on JPII’s apostolic letter, Salvifici Doloris. I had been so excited to receive this bible, and to finally have a copy of Scripture that was a good size to carry around. When I finally did get my copy in the mail, I was simultaneously happy and disappointed. Happy, because the bible was great. Disappointed, because I knew this particular copy just wasn’t going to cut it. For the sake of this review, I’m going to give you all the good news first and ignore the sad, unhappy bits.

A Bible Packed with Extras

In-text maps!

In-text maps!

What, you mean a Catholic bible with useful things inside? Yes, dears. Unfortunately, this particular version is out of print, but if you can find it and are satisfied with hardcover (the leather version has disappeared), this may be a good bible for you. Actually, it is a good bible. The Reader’s Edition is a great size at  roughly 6.5″ X 9″. It’s no slimline, but this isn’t a giant bible you’d never read away from your desk. The print is easy-to-read with good margins and headings in the text. What really makes this bible great are the in-text maps and charts—64 maps and 12 charts altogether. For example, in the beginning of the New Testament, there are a few pages entitled “A Harmony of the Gospels” that show parallel events from each Gospel and the corresponding verses. Check out the above map of the return from exile. All of the maps and charts are placed in relevant spots.

In addition, this edition has a table of lectionary readings, the papal encyclical Dei Verbum, the text of several common Catholic prayers, the usual Oxford maps, and a helpful concordance. The prayers in the back even include the Divine Praises, so you’re all set for Adoration! All of the goodies just had my Catholic heart a-twitter; if this bible had cross-references, I may have very well fainted. It really is a nice bible, and I have yet to figure out why Oxford won’t print something like this again, perhaps in their usual NABRE or RSV translations. A NABRE edition like this would be a welcome gift option!

A Binding Packed with Problems

Oxford's usual black and gold.

Oxford’s usual black and gold.

That, dears, is where the sparkly-eyed happy fit stops. For all the inside that’s just great, the binding has too many problems to justify keeping this bible. First, the good—the leather is beautiful and soft. It’s thick, too. The end result is a Berkshire leather cover that flexes without being flimsy and feels great in the hand. If you look back at the picture of the in-text maps, you’ll notice the bible also has the gold outline around the inside; it’s a nice touch also found in other editions like the Oxford Pocket NRSV with Apocrypha.

However, it seems this bible has been printed cross-grain, which I mentioned the other day. I had trouble snapping a photo of the issue, but this post over at Bible Design Blog does a good job of explaining and illustrating the topic much better than I could with dorm furniture and an iPhone camera. The pages crinkle very badly near the gutter, and to a lesser extent on the whole page. The spine cracks every time I open the book or flip pages, and the pages themselves have a very bad habit of sticking together. At first I thought it might be humidity, but the bible showed no signs of relaxing. In addition, the page crinkling shows up in the gilding as a subtle wavy line all through. I wanted to like this bible, but it’s too distracting to read when every single page is crinkled. Thankfully, the seller I got it from is willing to refund me. I can happily recommend Bell Wether Books!

You can check out Timothy’s post on Catholic Bibles here, and peruse possible buying options here on Amazon. Perhaps one day I’ll find a good, usable bible for everyday reading, but that day sadly isn’t today. I’ll be shipping the Reader’s Edition off tomorrow and heading back to the drawing board for “Project Reading Bible.” Next week is spring break, so I hope post more when I’m not working on schoolwork. God bless, and thanks for reading!

In His Sacred Heart,


St. JP II: Salvifici Doloris

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader's Edition. St. JPII, pray for us!

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader’s Edition. St. JPII, pray for us!

As a person, and especially a Catholic, with a permanent and sometimes painful physical disability, the doctrine of redemptive suffering resonates with me very deeply. And this idea of patient suffering made me love John Paul II, even before I was Catholic—underneath that slouching, frail body was an indomitable Spirit that even non-religious folks noticed. I think of John Paul II, and I see the fruit Jesus’ words when he said, “Do not be afraid.” This man was to me so brave, and I’m glad he’s interceding for us now in Heaven, asking God to help us patiently bear our own crosses; what a reassurance! And what a reassurance and grace that we have a God who still speaks to us in the Sacraments and from the pages of Holy Scripture proclaiming, “Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe! Be strong and courageous!” (Dan. 10:19) Because Friday is traditionally a day of penance and reflection on Jesus’ sacrifice, I’d like to share with you all this excerpt from St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris:

As a result of Christ’s salvific work, man exists on earth with the hope of eternal life and holiness. And even though the victory over sin and death achieved by Christ in his Cross and Resurrection does not abolish temporal suffering from human life…it nevertheless throws a new light upon this dimension and upon every suffering: the light of salvation… This truth radically changes the picture of man’s history and his earthly situation: in spite of the sin that took root in this history both as an original inheritance and as the “sin of the world” and as the sum of personal sins, God the Father has loved the only-begotten Son, that is, he loves him in a lasting way; and then in time, precisely through this all-surpassing love, he “gives” this Son, that he may strike at the very roots of human evil and thus draw close in a salvific way to the whole world of suffering in which man shares…

The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ…

You can read the entire thing here. It’s a beautiful letter, and a reminder of the truth—”See, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) Even our suffering can become beautiful and good when illuminated by the Gospel and united to the cross. Have a blessed and safe weekend, everyone!