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Mysteries of the Virgin Mary: Living our Lady's Graces

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  • Posted November 2, 2010

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    A Great Marian Resource and Devotional Aid

    In Mysteries of the Virgin Mary, I found a treasury and a book that not only added to my library but that enriched my understanding of Mother Mary. The first chapter covers a background reasoning for Marian devotion in seven reasons. The next 14 chapters each deal with a major Marian title, topic, or devotion. Though I read it cover-to-cover, I know I'll be picking it back up again soon. Each chapter stands alone, so it's perfect for reading through the year. In fact, I started reading it the day before the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15), and I read that chapter first, before starting the book.

    I was struck, both times I read that chapter -- and as I read the entire book, by the simple depth of Father Cameron's writing and referencing.

    I find that the more I read about Mary, the more I want to read about Mary. Additionally, the more I learn and read about Mary, the closer I find myself to her Son. This book is certainly a grace-filled tool that can lead you closer to Mary and, through her, to her Son. I hope, when and if you find it in your hands, you are as changed and moved by it as I was.

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  • Posted August 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    For meditation and inspiration

    Father Peter John Cameron is an author and founding editor-in-chief of Magnificat, a monthly worship aid. In Mysteries of the Virgin Mary he presents the Blessed Mother's "real life" as commemorated in liturgical feasts of the Church. The book explains why the Church has chosen to venerate Mary in this way and shows how her life is connected to our own.

    The format, intended to encourage meditation on the Marian mysteries, includes insights from numerous mystics and spiritual masters. For example, the chapter on the Annunciation contains 40 references from such writers as Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, John Paul II, and St. Louis-Marie De Montfort (an 18th Century French bishop).

    Cameron begins the chapter with the premise that Mary's preparation for the Annunciation was a kind of pre-sharing in Christ's passion. She was sinless, while everyone she faced was marked by original sin. She recognized her own "different humanity," Cameron writes, and probably found it a source of consternation and suffering.

    He notes an Annunciation poem by Rainer Maria Rilke in which Gabriel was frightened. The angel feared the purity and humility in Mary "capacious enough to contain what heaven cannot hold" and her intense ardor for God, which "literally drew heaven to earth." Cameron explains that humility disposes us to God's grace and "creates a space that God can inhabit with his self, healing and perfecting our self."

    In the Magnificat, Mary refers to her low estate as a handmaiden, a historical fact that encourages us to expect God to look similarly on our lowliness, writes Cameron. Despite our weakness, "God asks only that we surrender to our heart's desire for the Infinite and yield to the Infinite's presence when he comes to meet us in the flesh."

    Mysteries of the Virgin Mary: Living Our Lady's Graces is suitable for individuals and faith sharing or retreat groups, and is highly recommended for those who preach the Marian feasts.

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