“I have my Bible in my pocket,” said Edgardo C. De Vera, a Filipino apologist, to a group of three Protestants with whom he was discussing. Intrigued, they asked to see it.
De Vera then fished out his Rosary from his pocket and declared, “The Bible is in the Rosary and the Rosary is in the Bible.”
Startling as this statement may be, it is logical. If the Bible is centered on, and points to, Christ, and if praying the Rosary is a way of contemplating the events in the life of Christ and His mother Mary, then it follows that the Bible and the Rosary complement each other. Indeed, Pope Paul VI also said, “The Holy Rosary is a compendium of the Gospel.”
In his book Mysteries of Salvation History, De Vera explains the biblical basis for each of the mysteries of the Rosary, linking the New Testament accounts of the mysteries with the relevant typologies from the Old Testament. “My intention…was to show how biblical typology could be employed as a meditative aid in praying the Holy Rosary,” De Vera writes.
For example, in his discussion on the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross, De Vera discusses the Gospel accounts of the event and correlates them with Isaac carrying the wood for his sacrifice up Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:2-9) and the carrying of the sin offering during the Day of Atonement liturgy out through the sheepgate in Jerusalem (Lev. 16), as well as the passage in Job 31:36 which reads, “Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, I would bind it to me as a crown…”.
De Vera analyses all the mysteries of the Rosary in a similar way, adding his own insights, comments from some Fathers of the Church and other saints, and historical explanations. The mysteries of the Rosary are arranged in chronological order – Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious. Illustrations accompany the text.
The book is short and concise. De Vera himself acknowledges the limitations of his brief work and mentions that he had to exclude some insights for the sake of brevity. He encourages the reader to explore the mysteries in all their richness by studying the Bible further on his or her own and by habitually meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. He stresses the need to explore the Bible in the context of the liturgical readings of the Mass and in conjunction with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I personally find the book helpful. I sometimes struggle with the Rosary because I run out of things to think about when meditating on the mysteries and end up getting distracted as I force myself to mechanically recall what happened in each mystery. I welcome tips to help me get more out of praying the Rosary and De Vera’s book has suggested to me a fresh approach to this timeless devotion.
De Vera’s book made me appreciate the Rosary more. It showed me that the Rosary combines, to use the words of St. Josemaria Escriva, “the piety of children and the sure doctrine of theologians.” With the Rosary, we repeat loving words to God and to Mary while studying the Bible at the same time. De Vera’s book showed me how the Rosary involves both the heart and the mind, thus fitting in a unique way the definition of prayer as “the lifting up of the mind and heart to God.”
At the same time, De Vera’s book motivated me to become more familiar with the Bible. It also showed me that Bible study should not just be an intellectual pursuit (although that in itself is an important endeavour), but an activity that nurtures piety.
I recommend Mysteries of Salvation History to anyone who, at one time or another, has struggled with boredom while praying the Rosary, and to anyone who wants to learn more about the Bible but does not know where to start.
The book has been praised by foreign apologists such as Steve Ray and Tim Staples, and by prominent local preachers and priests such as the late Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J., who, in an article he wrote on June 2, 2007, listed the book as a “rare book”.
Indeed, both the Rosary and the Bible are necessary: they help us know God more, which in turn helps us love God more.
For more information about Edgardo C. De Vera’s Mysteries of Salvation History, you may contact Totus Bookstore & Publishing House at firstname.lastname@example.org.