New book of rosary meditations first of its kind
From the rosary to Theology of the Body, and back
By Gail Finke
The connection between the rosary and St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB) seemed so clear to Debbie Staresinic that every few months, she searched for a book of TOB rosary meditations. When
the search proved fruitless, she decided to write one.
“I’ve always loved the Blessed Virgin,” said Staresinic, a long-time member of St. Gertrude Parish in Madeira. “But when I did True Devotion to Mary, Louis de Montfort’s devotion, I really learned to pray the rosary. And you know how they say Mary will lead you to Jesus? Soon after that I was introduced to TOB.
“TOB really opened up the Bible to me, and then I began praying the rosary daily.”
Soon she found herself traveling back and forth between Ohio and Philadelphia to study at the Theology of the Body Institute there. And the more she studied the way TOB illuminates why the differences between men and women are as important theologically as they are physically, the more she thought TOB had something to add to the mysteries of the rosary.
“Ephesians 5: 31-32 is central to TOB,” she said. “For this reason a man shall leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” Staresinic saw the same spousal theme – the so-called “marriage bed of the Cross” – in the mysteries of the rosary.
She found similar thoughts in books, particularly in books by Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception Father Donald Calloway and scripture scholar Dr. Brant Pitre (both of whom now endorse her book) but no detailed explorations or sets of meditations. So she started scribbling notes in class and at prayer. Eventually, she proposed the book as part of satisfying her graduation requirements at the Institute. Now a board member of Ruah Woods, the Cincinnati-based TOB center, she made a related proposal here: If Ruah Woods would publish the book, she would give all proceeds to the center’s work creating TOB curricula for Catholic elementary and high schools.
The rest is history. Published just before Christmas, “Theology of the Body Rosary Meditations: Contemplating Christ’s Love for His Bride the Church” is a compact guide in the style of missals or prayer books. Divided into four sections for the four sets of mysteries (Staresinic naturally included the Luminous Mysteries added by St. Pope John Paul II), the book is further broken into two-page spreads. Each spread includes a classic painting that illustrates the mystery, with a quotation from the pope saint’s lectures that became collectively known as the Theology of the Body. On the facing page, under the traditional name of the mystery, Staresinic has presented a one-line explanation of the mystery as viewed through TOB, as well as a brief explanation of it. Below that she added a quote from a pope or saint that corroborates the explanation, and a brief prayer.
Staresinic said she hopes the book introduces the rosary to people who study TOB, and TOB to people who love the rosary. “I wouldn’t want anyone to be intimidated by thinking it’s too deep,” she said. “You can think about this forever, but it’s accessible to everyone.
“Pope St. John Paul II identified the problem the modern world has with understanding the human person,” she said. “And he also said that anyone who prays the rosary can’t help but gain a deeper understanding of man. There’s a lot of power in the TOB, and a lot of power in the rosary. I wanted to unite them.”
“Theology of the Body Rosary Meditations: Contemplating Christ’s Love for His Bride the Church” can be purchased at www.tobrosary.com and in local book stores.
For more on this project, see “Evangelization on Instagram.”
More new books by area authors for daily or Lenten reading:
“A Book of Prayers: To the Heavens from the Stars” Chuck Spinner collected prayers and thoughts on prayer from more than 100 celebrities for this compilation, which includes formal prayers, favorite quotes, and personal prayers from actors, athletes, writers, singers, and others. Contributors include
Phyllis Diller, Yogi Berra, General Tommy Franks, Charles Osgood, Mary Lou Retton, and many more. The book is available from Amazon.com.
“A Medley of Modern-Day Miracles, Volumes I and II” John Herzog, a lifelong member of St. Bernard Church in Springfield, wrote the first of this two-volume series to document that miracles still happen. He collected accounts of miraculous interventions experienced by acquaintances for the first volume and, after publishing it, was contacted by so many people that he wrote volume two. Both are available from Amazon.com or from the author. For information, or if you have a story to contribute for Volume III, email him at [email protected]