I love the rosary. But I struggle with it. Oh how I struggle! I miss a Hail Mary (or two or three); I’m distracted by a thousand things; I plod and stumble. Even though I pray it every day, there’s no pride in that statement. It’s something I feel like I need and it’s a structure that is, in fact, very helpful for an easily distractible person. Meditating on Christ’s life and mission is also very fruitful.

But I am always on the lookout for helps. Sometimes it’s an audio version of the rosary, something to keep my ears occupied while I attempt my morning prayers. Other times it’s a book of meditations. Then there are the times when it’s something else altogether.

When Karen Edmisten’s book, The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary, arrived, I found the “something else” I had been seeking (though I couldn’t have told you I was looking for it). For one thing, there’s the title. I love the image of the rosary as a time to just hang out with Jesus and his mom. It has given me a whole new approach to my morning rosary, an entirely new paradigm. Coupling that idea with Fr. Groeschel’s concept of the rosary as a place has been a breath of fresh prayer for me.

But then, diving into the book itself, I was enamored. When I said this is one of the best books I’ve read and when I advised you to buy a copy for your own mother, I wasn’t exaggerating. Unlike so many devotional helps, Karen Edmisten doesn’t flowery-phrase you to death. She says what needs said — I had quite a few “ah-HA!” moments — and she shares enough from her own experience that I caught myself, a few times, looking over to see if she was standing over my shoulder.

It’s the kind of book that has a voice you can actually hear. Karen’s approachable and she’s not out to convince you to pray the rosary. Instead of a volume of reasons you should be praying the rosary already, Keeping Company is one woman sitting down, coffee in hand, to discuss it calmly with you. She gives some history, she gives some tips, she gives some anecdotes, and in the midst of it, I found myself smiling and nodding and asking her if she wanted more coffee, if she could stay for another few pages, if she would pray with me.

I’d love to share some of my favorite passages from Keeping Company, except that, as with so many of my very favorite books, I have already given away both copies. This is just too good of a book to keep on hand for very long, especially when they arrive just in time for a gift-giving holiday (Mother’s Day) and plenty of birthdays and a friend who mentions her struggle with the rosary.

This is one of my very favorite books. I can’t recommend it highly enough, whether or not you’re a Catholic or you struggle with the rosary. The rosary isn’t just for Catholics, you know. But I won’t get into that…Karen does such a lovely job of it in her book that I’ll just point you to her. 🙂