Review of The Rosary: "The Little Summa"
by Robert Feeney

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Donal Anthony Foley reviews, The Rosary: "The Little Summa" by Robert Feeney, 3rd Edition, 245pp, (Aquinas Press)

This book on the Rosary by Robert Feeney, comes with the endorsement of a number of Cardinals and bishops, and a foreword by Cardinal Stafford, the President of the Pontifical Council for the laity—thus the reader comes to it with high expectations, which in the main are not disappointed.

The author starts on solid ground by detailing papal support for the rosary through the centuries, including support for the tradition that St Dominic was responsible for the institution of the rosary. He recounts the story of how the propagation of the rosary was a major factor in the defeat of the Albigensian heresy in the middle ages.

In a chapter entitled, "The Rosary: Mary's School," he indicates how saints, popes and theologians have insistently pointed to the rosary as a great way of prayer and sanctification. Feeney particularly highlights the work of St Louis de Montfort and Padre Pio in promoting the rosary, as well as that of Bartolo Longo, the Italian layman involved with the devotion to Mary centered at Pompeii in Italy.

Pope John Paul II has continued in the way of his predecessors in his support for and encouragement of the rosary, which has been a very important factor in his spiritual life from his earliest days in Poland.

There is also a chapter on Fatima, where Mary called herself, "The Lady of the Rosary," and this details the central part the rosary has taken in this most important of all Marian apparitions.

After these early chapters on the history and importance of the rosary, the book then looks at the rosary as a favoured form of meditative prayer, one which is suitable for all classes of persons. Again the teachings of the popes and great saints has pride of place. Then the author moves on to deal with how to pray the rosary, followed by a whole series of short chapters which deal with the fifteen mysteries of the rosary.

These generally follow the pattern of having a scriptural passage pertinent to the particular mystery, followed by a meditation from a Dominican author, and then a passage on a particular virtue to be prayed for. After this comes a quote from the documents of Vatican II, and in some chapters, a quote from John Paul II, with a section from the Catechism concluding each chapter. So there is generally a mixture of Scripture, theology, moral exhortation and Church teaching in each chapter, and a very useful mix it is too.

The book concludes with some practical chapters and appendices dealing with matters such as the Confraternity of the Rosary and conciliar and papal texts on the rosary.

For anyone who has struggled to avoid distractions or who has just gotten into a rut of not really mediating properly on the mysteries, these chapters may well prove invaluable. By taking up our rosary with this book in hand we will be forced to slow down and really think about what we are saying. Overall, this should undoubtedly be a very useful book for the many people who would like to pray the rosary better.

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