Salve Regina: IntroductionThe rosary is one of the ancient devotions of Christianity, its recurring rhythms providing a means of meditating the central mysteries of the life of Christ: his birth, his public life, his sufferings and death, and his ascent to life and glory. These are the central themes of the scriptures, to be seen in their full depth by the Christian disciple. Pope John Paul II described praying the Rosary as ‘contemplating, with Mary, the face of Christ’ and it is an essential aspect of the intimacy of the Rosary that we witness the life of Christ through her eyes: the events from the Annunciation and Visitation through to the Passion, culminating in her presence at Pentecost. Mary’s rôle as intercessor is most clearly acknowledged in the repeated Hail Maries of the Rosary. The format of this book seeks to reproduce the rythmical character of the prayers of the Rosary. Each of the Mysteries is illustrated with the relevant scene, reproduced from late medieval manuscripts and early printed books in the Libraries of Stonyhurst College. The illustrations are fine examples of devotional art on an intimate scale, and remain today as they were originally intended to be: aids to meditation and windows into the life of Christ. The styles span the changes from the world of the monastic illuminator to that of the first printers, but all reflect the same basic belief: that skill and beauty dedicated to God will continue to inspire and educate.
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