What do our many and varied calendars reveal when we pause to examine them? They both impose and reflect rhythms, some of them natural, some invented.
The calendar year seems to be one of the latter. There isn’t anything special or unique about January 1 or December 31, yet we begin and end the year on those dates, often kicking off New Year’s Day with the resolve to make changes in our lives.
The school year has traditionally reflected the agricultural cycle in the Western Hemisphere. Children were taught during the late fall, winter, and early spring months before the land and animals on the farm demanded attention. Of course, today’s largely non-agrarian society makes this calendar seem odd, especially in light of studies about year-round school and the toll this out-of-date calendar has on learning and retention.
The liturgical calendar has an internal rhythm that hasn’t changed despite the passage of time. We can argue—and we do—about things like whether or not December 25 is really when Jesus was born. But largely, the liturgical calendar reflects greater realities than what is going on in the world around us, bringing up the mysteries of salvation.
Even the designation of May as the month of Mary is tied to ancient rhythms and practices, some clearly predating Christianity. So, here at the start of Mary’s month, let’s explore various prayers dedicated to Mary, especially the Rosary, at CatholicsRead.
If you or someone you know has a devotion to Mary, then Catholic Book Publishing’s Mary Day by Day is the perfect choice! Each of the 365 short Marian meditations in this easy-to-read giant-type edition includes a brief Scripture quote, a reflection from a Saint, and a concluding prayer.
As one of the traditional prayers to Mary, the Rosary stands alone. We have two titles to guide you deeper with this prayer.
The Mystery of the Rosary from Catholic Book Publishing is a helpful and complete explanation of the Rosary. This guide by Rev. Marc Tremeau, O.P., features a simple, pleasant, easy-to-understand style, and will help deepen your understanding of this beautiful devotion.
A Painted Rosary cleverly pairs a modern and sleek design with the richness of traditional sacred art to transform how you pray the Rosary. Published by Thy Olive Tree, this book will immerse you in the 20 mysteries of the Rosary through paintings from the 11th – 17th centuries. With limited distractions and containing just enough content without being overwhelming, A Painted Rosary is designed to be used while praying.
The Pocket Guide to Novenas from Ascension will guide you through these popular devotions, learning to embrace this prayer as a way to grow closer to Christ and connect with your faith in a more meaningful way. Prayed for nine consecutive days, normally for a specific intention, this form of prayer is a great way to become more persistent in prayer and to “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The visual arts provide another meaningful way of breaking open our faith. The Illustrated Gospels from Magnificat is a richly illustrated book of all four Gospels in the tradition of Medieval manuscript illumination. Accompanied by over 75 sacred art masterpieces that enhance the narration, it’s a great way to enter more deeply into the story of our salvation and makes a great gift for anyone to whom you want to introduce the cornerstone of our faith.
If the Gospels alone won’t suffice, then try Ascension’s The Great Adventure Catholic Bible, Large Print Version. Now bigger than ever, The Great Adventure Catholic Bible, Large Print Version takes a narrative approach that presents the “big picture” of salvation history through Scripture and shows how everything ties together.
For a comprehensive resource on our beliefs and teachings about Mary—and everything else Catholic—there’s no better book than the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The specially designed Ascension Edition clearly shows the ancient roots of the Faith and, along with The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) podcast, helps Catholics integrate the fullness of Catholic teaching into their daily lives.
Dive into our faith and tradition on angels with Owen F. Cummings’s Angels In Scripture and Tradition from Paulist Press. This book presents solid Catholic teaching about angels through Scripture and Tradition, up to and including the ideas of modern theologians such as Bernard Cooke and Karl Rahner.
Finally, What Does the Bible Say About Education? from New City Press invites readers to accept God’s invitation to become lifelong learners. Author Allison Gray finds this invitation embedded in the biblical narrative, embodied in the person of Jesus, and still relevant today. Bringing together biblical stories, historical context, and contemporary insights from scholars of education, this book demonstrates that we are surrounded by opportunities to learn.
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Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.