Monday, June 8, 2015

A Year with Mary (Saint Benedict Press)

A Year with Mary: Daily Meditations on the Mother of God is the fifth and latest daily devotional available from Saint Benedict Press. The other four are A Year with the Bible, A Year with the Saints, A Year with the Angels, and A Year with the Church Fathers. Like the other volumes in this series, this book has gilded pages and is Premium UltraSoft leather, making it perfect for presentation or gifting. The book itself is blue, which is fitting as that is the color we most associate with Mary. Despite the impressiveness of this book, I was a little skeptical to review this book. I personally am not a fan of the daily devotional, which is strange even to me seeing that I came from a Protestant background. However, I decided to give it a shot.

The first thing that I noticed about this book is the numbering of the devotions. Most daily devotionals give you a specific date, i.e., January 1. This book instead labels the devotions as Day 1, Day 2, etc. This means that you don't have to wait until January 1 to start this book, which is the fatal flaw of daily devotionals. Also, in case you are wondering, there is a ribbon bookmark, so you won't have to remember which day you are on. The next thing I noticed about this book was that St. Louis de Montfort and St. Alphonsus Liguori were the bulk of the readings. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. They wrote two of the best books on Mary with de Montfort pinning "True Devotion to Mary," and Liguori "The Glories of Mary." I was just expecting a little more variety in reading selections. The last thing that I noticed was the brief section at the end of every day entitled, "In God's Presence Consider." This makes the devotional more than just something to do everyday, but something which you need to ponder, study, and mediate on. Each day then ends with a closing prayer.

Overall, this is an impressive book in both presentation and content. The devotions are each one page long, making them just short enough that you don't feel overwhelmed and just long enough that it requires you to put forth a bit of effort in your journey with and toward God. It didn't turn me into a devotional fan, but it did provide me with some sources and texts on Mary to read that I had not heard of before. For example, St. John of Eudes' work "The Admirable Heart of Mary" is a work that I now want to read after the excerpt I read in this book. So whether you are a Mary novice or an expert on Mary, there is enough wisdom in this book that will enrich your life every time you read it.

This book was provided to me for free by Saint Benedict Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this book helpful, please click here and hit Yes!