Praying the Angelus by Jared Dees: A Book Review
When I first picked up Praying the Angelus, I was not excited about it. I learned the Angelus many years ago as a child and have prayed it occasionally as an adult. The Angelus is a traditional and repetitive prayer that is centuries old. Although I am devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I could not understand why anyone would want to write an entire book about the Angelus or what they could possibly have to say about it that would fill the pages of a book. However, author Jared Dees has a lot to say about it and much of what he says is very interesting and unique.
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.
~ copyright Jean M. Heimann 2017