Tom Nash’s latest publication, ‘20 Answers: The Rosary,’ highlights connection between Our Lady, Scripture and the life of a disciple 

AUBURN HILLS  As a Catholic apologist, Tom Nash has made a career of explaining the faith. 

Throughout that career, Nash has discovered one of the more common misconceptions involves the role of Mary, whom many mistakenly claim Catholics worship when they pray the rosary. 

But as Nash points out in his newest booklet, “20 Answers: The Rosary,” published by Catholic Answers, the rosary is about following Mary’s instructions to the waiter during the wedding at Cana: “Do whatever Jesus tells you.” 

In meditating on the mysteries of the rosary, Catholics become better disciples by examining the life of Jesus through his mother’s eyes, Nash, a member of St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish in Auburn Hills, told Detroit Catholic.

“Mary is the Mother of God. She is the greatest disciple, and she is blessed by the Lord and responded to that blessing with such great grace,” Nash said. “People look at the rosary as Marian-centered, and it is in a way. But when we see Mary in Scripture, she is instructing us to be closer to her Son.” 

Nash’s book, available from the Catholic Answers shop, is the latest in a line of publications from the 30-year apologist, which also includes “The Biblical Roots of the Mass” and “What Did Jesus Do? The Biblical Roots of the Catholic Church.”

In it, Nash details how the Hail Marys of the rosary draw the faithful into a meditation on various moments in salvation history. 

“The rosary is a divine project,” Nash said. “It’s the Gospel on a string. We are meditating on what Jesus did during his earthly ministry, and by doing so, we are growing closer to Christ.”

Nash explores the rosary’s origins, including the life of St. Dominic, the 12th century Spanish priest who founded the Order of Preachers — the Dominicans — and according to tradition, received the rosary from Mary. 

The Dominican tradition of meditation is crucial in praying the rosary, Nash added.  

“We’re not supposed to pray the perfect rosary,” Nash explained. “The repeated Hail Marys are to help us focus on the mysteries as well as to open ourselves up to God speaking. We start by saying the mysteries, the specific moments in salvation history that we’re meant to meditate on. We are then invited to think what those moments mean for us on earth.” 

Nash has written previous “20 Answers” books on the Mass and papacy, but ever since he was a student at St. Mary of Redford School in Detroit, he has been drawn to the mysteries of the rosary. He was especially pleased when St. John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries to the devotion in 2002. 

“When I was a child, I always thought about why we jump from finding Jesus in the Temple and then we’re on to Holy Week. What about his earthly ministry?” Nash said. “When John Paul II in October 2002 added the Luminous Mysteries, I said, ‘Yes, finally, a logical completion.’” 

Some balked at adding mysteries to the “traditional” rosary, Nash said, but even the original 15 mysteries weren’t codified until the 16th century, well after St. Dominic received the first rosary. 

“The Luminous Mysteries are all the events in the light of the Lord,” Nash said. “It’s not adding something new to the deposit of the faith, but rather, they are new mysteries to ponder for us to better understand the faith.” 

Beyond learning more about the history and mysteries of the rosary, Nash hopes Catholics and non-Catholics who read the book will have a great appreciation of how much of their faith is intertwined with the rosary. 

“I want people who pray the rosary to have an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ,” Nash said, “an encounter with a 2,000-year-old history. It’s the story of how Jesus founded the Church, and how the Holy Spirit has sustained that Church. For Catholics, the rosary is a wonderful way to learn about the faith, preach about the faith and pray about how Jesus in salvation history brought us these graces.” 

Order the book

20 Answers: The Rosary, by Tom Nash, is available from the Catholic Answers e-shop for $3.35.