cover image The Rosary

The Rosary

Garry Wills, . . Viking, $24.95 (190pp) ISBN 978-0-670-03449-9

Wills (Why I Am a Catholic ) shares his personal practice of the rosary in a book that is both inspiring and refreshing. His approach excels chiefly in the reflections he has written on the gospel stories that are used as subjects of contemplation for each section of the rosary beads. In these, Wills relies extensively on the work of the late scripture scholar Raymond Brown to expand upon passages that have become overly familiar to many. The author's own translations of the Christian scriptures are a further enhancement, as is the inclusion of images by Renaissance artist Tintoretto. Though the rosary is often viewed as part of the life of Catholics before the sweeping changes wrought by the Second Vatican Council, Wills considers the devotion to be both timely and timeless. It is timely, he writes, quoting Pope John Paul II, because of its usefulness as a tool for quiet and regeneration in an increasingly noisy society, and timeless because its repetition of prayers said on a strand of beads is an ancient aid to contemplation. Wills begins the book with a brief history of the devotion and carefully explains how to take it up. His guide will be helpful to anyone interested in the rosary, but especially to those seeking new insights into its practice. (Nov. 7)