One of the greatest barriers to my conversion to Catholicism was Marian tradition. To be clear, it wasn’t Mary herself, it was common practice and teaching about Mary that was difficult for me to stomach. As recently as this summer I still had unresolved internal tensions regarding these traditions and my own daily commitment to properly honor her. I was still stuck between my protestant past and my Catholic present in this important area of the one true faith.
With that as a backdrop, in August of this year I had the divinely orchestrated opportunity to resolve some of my struggles by spending a number of hours (driving and getting lost together) with Mark Shea on the way to a Catholic New Media conference in Boston. The insights he shared were compelling and deeply beneficial. When we arrived at the event, he generously provided me a copy of his three volume work, Mary, Mother of the Son.
I began reading the first volume that night in my room. By the time I arrived back home from the trip a few days later I was surprised to find myself on the last page of volume one. Frankly, I couldn’t put the book down. In this complete and compelling work, Mark offers a rare combination of readability, scholarship, and wit that will keep you riveted to every page. His goal in writing the series was to provide one place where the average Catholic could find and understand all the important teachings on Marian doctrine and devotion. He has achieved that goal in grand fashion. Here’s a brief summary of each volume:
In Modern Myths and Ancient Truth you will discover the fascinating way in which Mary emerges with profundity, beauty, and love from the pages of Scripture in the light of apostolic teaching. You will probe how the gospel of Christ crowns and perfects, not only the Old Testament, but the deepest insights of the great non-Christian philosophies, religions, and myths. You can also learn how to read the Bible as the earliest Christians did and find out how Mary safeguards the deepest truths about Christ and his Church.
In First Guardian of the Faith you will learn about the biblical and apostolic roots of Mary’s title as Theotokos; as well as her Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, and Assumption into heaven. In addition, you will discover the astonishing relevance each of these teachings has, not only for the Christian believer, but for the twenty-first century as it comes to grips with such questions as the dignity, origin, and destiny of the human person.
In Miracles, Devotion, and Motherhood you will explore the devotional life of the Church: a life which includes the communion of saints, the holy rosary, the mysteries of private revelation and Mary’s God-given role as mother of all who believe in Christ.
This is a rare work that I believe every serious Catholic, without exception, must read. As for you, I suggest you buy it as a Christmas present for someone you love, or, for yourself!
Seek Him – Find Him – Follow Him,