Rosary prayer

The Rosary Book responds to Fatima’s request to pray “for the conversion of Russia”

Christine Haapala loves the rosary – and also recognizes that it can be easily misunderstood.

“It’s more than just a Hail Mary mantra over and over again,” counted on rosaries. “The piece that is important is the meditation piece,” Haapala said, referring to the mental reflection that accompanies the vocal rosary prayers.

A longtime parishioner of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale, Haapala is the author of 12 scriptural prayer books, many of which focus on the rosary.

Her latest book, “Priest, Prophet, King,” is especially timely now because as she considered how to illustrate it in 2017, the church celebrated the 100th anniversary of Mary’s appearance to three shepherd children. in Fatima, Portugal, where she spoke of praying for the conversion of Russia. Haapala discovered the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Mass., which gave him permission to illustrate the book with icons from its permanent collection.

“In a small measure, this prayer book responds to the 100-year-old message of our Blessed Mother, ‘Pray the Rosary for the conversion of Russia,'” Haapala writes in the book’s author’s note, published at the end of last year. .

When she wrote those words, she had no way of knowing how urgent this message would become today, with the advent of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

But icons weren’t on her mind when she started working on “Priest, Prophet, King” – Haapala was initially more focused on words.

Her specialty is what she calls “scriptural rosaries,” which include additional Bible verses to enrich meditation while praying the rosary prayers.

For those less familiar with the rosary, Haapala explains that while it’s about counting and reciting Hail Marys and other prayers on beads, it’s really about meditating on 20 key events. of the life of Jesus and Mary, as described in the Scriptures. These events, ranging from the Annunciation (Lk 1:28,31,38) to the Institution of the Eucharist (Mt 26:26-29) are known as the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous Mysteries — the final set was added in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.

While the rosary meditations are inherently scriptural, in that they refer back to the passages where the events are described, the Haapala scriptural rosary books take the meditations one step further, with hundreds of additional biblical references interspersed between the Hail Mary for further reflection.

It simplifies the meditative aspect of praying the rosary — and also takes it up a notch, said Haapala, who wrote her first scriptural rosary years ago while teaching religious education in her parish. , thinking that the additional passages of Scripture would provide more context for children reflecting on the mysteries. But they are not just for children.

A scriptural rosary, Haapala said, “is a conversation with God. He speaks to us through his Word, and we respond” with the Our Father, the Ave Maria or other prayers of the rosary. She quotes Saint John Paul II, who said that the rosary is “a prayer so easy and yet so rich (that it) deserves to be rediscovered… Rediscover the rosary in the light of Scripture”.

A scriptural rosary, she says, “is a conversation with God. He speaks to us through his Word, and we respond” with the Our Father, the Ave Maria or other prayers of the rosary. She quotes Saint John Paul II, who said that the rosary is “a prayer so easy and yet so rich (that it) deserves to be rediscovered… Rediscover the rosary in the light of Scripture”.

“Priest, Prophet, King” features three scriptural rosaries containing scripture quotations for meditation on the themes of Jesus as priest, prophet, and king, to accompany each mystery. This is an important subject for personal prayer, because “we too are called to be priests, prophets and kings by our baptism,” she said.

While all of his books aim to bring scripture and art closer together, the inclusion of icons in the latest book is more than illustrative – it offers yet another way to meditate on the gospel. In the Eastern church, these images copied in prayer, often depicting Jesus and Mary, are considered a form of gospel painting.

Echoing the words of Our Lady of Fatima, its author’s note concludes: “Please pray that the Rosaries prayed through this book will bring the conversion of Russia and peace on earth.”

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