For the whole month of August, 2012, I am helping out at Our Lady’s Shrine, Knock, in the West of Ireland. The Shrine Bookshop have just run out of copies of my new book, entitled Heaven Sent and have ordered 100 copies and have invited me to sign them for visitors.
At 91 years of age and in the late evening of life, I felt that it was time to set down my considered thoughts and experience concerning the Rosary. I have not done so in any kind of scholarly or theoretical way. Instead I have tried to weave my own story through its pages. The Publishers– Veritas thought that this approach would make it more appealing and more readable.
It was they who chose the unusual title: Heaven Sent, as the meditations and the vocal prayers are far from being man made or self-centred. We have plenty of Gurus and other experts who give out their own home-spun mantras, and that is fine as far as it goes. The Lord’s own prayer and the Heaven-sent Hail Mary come from above.
Here at Knock, it is wonderful to sit in stillness and behold Jesus, the Lamb of God who is the central character of the Apparition. One is drawn to rest in the Holy Name at the centre of each Hail Mary. Mary, who stands as Queen with hands uplifted seems to be drawing us upward — to the throne of the Lamb in the heavenly places. Knock brings together in perfect harmony the various aspects of the Rosary.
By way of PS, I find in the figure of John the beloved disciple, with the Scriptures in his hand, a good illustration of the Dominican tradition that the Rosary is simply the Gospel on its knees. An old writer put it this way: The Rosary is not only a method of prayer, it is a means of proclaiming the Gospel. I have mentioned all this in my book, which I pray may be in its own simple way–Heaven-Sent!
The photo with this piece is taken from the chapter of the book which tells of my visit to St.Simeon Skete in Kentucky USA. It shows Fr. Seraphim humbly kneeling at my feet, asking to be given the Dominican gift of preaching the Rosary in it fulness.
Gabriel Harty, OP, Dominican Priory, Tallaght, Dublin 24