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Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life Paperback – March 3, 2017
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"Jean-François Millet's famous painting The Angelus captures workers of long ago stopping to pray in the field. In a modern context, Jared Dees leads busy people to appreciate this biblically-rooted devotion and, through guided meditations, makes this ancient prayer of the Church come beautifully alive once again." --Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, Former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
"Praying the Angelus is a necessary read for those seeking to develop an interior life based around the discipline of prayer. With the gift of a teacher, Dees treats the Angelus not simply as an ancient practice but as a school of prayer for the modern person." --Timothy O'Malley, Director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy
"Excellent, excellent work by Jared Dees. The best explanation of the Angelus I've seen yet, expanded with background, solid Catholic teachings, and personal anecdotes that bring this traditional Catholic devotion to life. This really is a keeper!" --Marge Fenelon, Author of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots
About the Author
Jared Dees is the creator of the popular website The Religion Teacher, which provides practical resources and effective teaching strategies to religious educators. A respected graduate of the Alliance for Catholic Education program at the University of Notre Dame, Dees earned master's degrees in education and theology, both from Notre Dame. He has volunteered for and worked in a wide variety of Catholic ministries, including Catholic schools, parish religious education, youth ministry, campus ministry, RCIA, and adult faith formation. Dees is the digital marketing manager at Ave Maria Press and the author of Praying the Angelus, 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator, and To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach. His articles have appeared in Momentum, CATECHIST, Catechetical Leader, and on numerous websites. Dees lives in South Bend, Indiana, with his wife and four children.
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This was the start of a transformative personal journey for the author in which he would begin incorporating the prayer, offered at six a.m., noon, and six p.m. each day, into his daily routine. The fruits of that experience led him to want to share this beautiful devotion with others.
The Angelus is a prayer in honor of Our Blessed Mother and the moment of the Incarnation. According to Dees, it “originated in the Middle Ages as a devotional practice for laypeople living near the great monasteries of Europe to help them follow the prayer example of those who lived monastic lives.” During Easter, the Regina Caeli is prayed in place of the Angelus “as a prayer of praise to God for the Resurrection.”
Dees shares the history of both of these prayers as well as provides a line by line explanation and reflection for each line of the prayers.
Whether or not one ultimately chooses to incorporate the Angelus into one’s daily devotions, Dees’ discussion of the value of repetitive prayer is worth reading and pondering. Being committed to a structured daily prayer practice which requires you to interrupt your day with prayer at regularly scheduled intervals has the power to transform your life. He also makes some important observations about the value of devotions in passing the Catholic faith down to our children.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life, Dees reveals that the Angelus is a powerful and treasured prayer, which focuses our hearts and minds on the mystery of the Incarnation. During Easter, Catholics set aside the Angelus and instead pray the Regina Coeli to focus on the mystery of the Resurrection. Dees does a good job of explaining the Angelus to us without sugar-coating it. He tells us how it is a prayer that requires discipline if we are to reap the benefits of it and that it is essential to pray it daily at 6:00 a.m., noon, and 6:00 p.m. Dees acknowlwdges that the Angelus is a prayer that does not immediately produce great spiritual insight, but obtains gradual graces as a result of our dedication and perseverance in praying it. The Angelus is a wonderful reminder to consecrate ourselves and our work back to God.
Dees explains that when we pray the Angelus, we unite ourselves not only to those around the world who are praying this precious prayer, but with the faithful over the centuries who have dedicated the moments of their lives to this devotion in union with the entire Church to acknowledge and honor God’s presence.
Praying the Angelus is a short (only 160 pages), but power-packed book which clearly explains the origins of the Angelus, how to pray the Angelus, what to expect when we pray the Angelus, and why we should pray the Angelus. In these chapters, I was most surprised and impressed by: (1) the author’s list of beneficial spiritual lessons for those who pray the Angelus and the Regina Coeli and (2) the fact that the Angelus can be a “powerful discernment tool.” Dees gives us a comprehensible explanation of each of the ways the Angelus can be used as a discernment tool, providing several practical examples.
The second half of the book consists of a line-by-line description and explication of both the Angelus and the Regina Coeli. With each new phrase from the prayers, we are given a clear, concise description and a meditation to help us live out the passage in our lives.
In summary, Praying the Angelus is an inspiring, uplifting book that brings out the beauty contained in both the Angelus and the Regina Coeli. Dees makes these prayers come to life with: personal anecdotes, solid Catholic teaching, Scripture passages, and a smattering of simple psychological, philosophical, and theological facts, all of which make it a fascinating book and a modern guide for praying the Angelus and the Regina Coeli.