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The Heart of Catholic Prayer: Rediscovering the Our Father and the Hail Mary Paperback – March 30, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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To learn and understand the Our Father and Hail Mary is to learn the deepest contours of the Church's interior life, for both are prayers that come from the Holy Spirit, who is the soul of the Church.

At once meditative and catechetical, The Heart of Catholic Prayer dissects the two anchors of our faith line by line in a journey into the Church's deep tradition of prayer, drawing us more deeply into the heart of the mystery of God's love. It's no coincidence the Our Father and the Hail Mary are closely intertwined in the heart of the Church.

Mark Shea expertly weaves the contemporary with the historical and the theological with the practical as he opens up these most common of prayers with a fresh and penetrating perspective for all to see. Mere rote recitation of the Our Father and Hail Mary, without knowing what they mean, and why we say them, threatens to characterize God as a kind of cosmic vending machine demanding correct change.

Experience the ordinary truths of the Faith that the Church has always taught, but in ways which will generate a spark of recognition in the contemporary mind. Upon completion of this book, you will never recite either of these prayers in the same way again.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (March 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592761771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592761777
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,628,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Stuart Dunn TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
As one could probably infer from the title, this book is broken into two parts, one on the Our Father and the other on the Hail Mary. Referred to as the "two anchors of our faith," this book breaks down both prayers line by line using a style of writing that blends theology, Shea's life story, and the occasional pop culture reference.

I really enjoyed how Shea explained that the Our Father is a community prayer. I had never thought of it that way, but it makes sense. As Shea points out, it is called the Our Father not the My Father. Every pronoun in the Our Father is a collective plural and not a selfish singular. This is why we pray the Our Father in the Mass, because we are all one body in Christ. There were some other good parts in Part One, such as when Shea explained that the line "Give us this day our daily bread" refers to the Eucharist, but overall I felt Part One was oversimplified.

Part Two: The Hail Mary went deeper than Part One: The Our Father. In this section, Shea manages to tackle key points in the Hail Mary such as Mary being Theotokos (the Mother of God), Mary's Immaculate Conception (Being conceived without original sin), and common complains and concerns Protestants have with Mary. A very excellent point made is that Protestants have no problem putting Paul on a pedestal, but cringe and object when the Catholics or Orthodox put Mary on one. I really enjoyed Part Two of the book and feel it would be a benefit to all to read it.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out 5 stars. It was good, but not great. If you have never taken the time to go through each prayer line by line and meditate on them, you will get something from the book.
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Very good book
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