Monday, January 4, 2016

Meditations on Mary (Sophia Institute Press)

If it feels like you went to Mass a lot these past two weeks, you're not alone. Christmas was on a Friday and then Sunday Mass. January 1 was a holy day of obligation (Mary, Mother of God), and then Sunday Mass again. Four times in two weeks may seem like a lot to non-daily Mass goers like myself, but it was a good way to end and start the new year. Ash Wednesday and Lent are a little over a month away, so what are you going to be reading until it gets here? Allow me to recommend to you Meditations on Mary.

Meditations on Mary is a 150 page book by Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, author of Meditations for Advent and Meditations for Lent. The first meditation in this book is appropriately entitled "The True Eve." I say appropriately, because the Bible begins with Adam and Eve. In this opening meditation, Bossuet quotes several Church Fathers who compare Eve and Mary. "St. Irenaeus: 'Condemned to death by a virgin, the human race was saved by a Virgin.' Tertullian: ' What was led astray into perdition by this sex was restored to salvation by this sex.' And the incomparable Augustine: 'By a woman, death; by a woman, life. By Eve, ruin; By Mary, salvation.' " Bossuet is quick to point out that Mary's honor does not put her on equal ground with God, but instead she played an important role in salvation history.

In other meditations, we get different glimpses of Mary. For example, in one meditation we see that Jesus created Mary for Himself. Jesus is responsible for all of Creation, and He created other people to teach us and instruct us, but Mary was made for Him and she was made pure and innocent because of His love for her. In the meditation "Pierced by a Sword," we learn of Mary's deep sorrow she experienced at Jesus' death. Bossuet poetically explains that, "Only one Cross was required for both her beloved son and herself." This is not to diminish what Christ experienced on the Cross, but to explain the depth of love that a mother feels for her son, that Mary felt for Jesus. As a father, I know what it is to love a child, but I believe there is a special love between mothers and their children.

There are twenty-four meditations in all, each around five pages or less. This makes this book the perfect companion for that short span of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent. The meditations are poignant and beautiful and serve as a good introduction to the many facets of Mary's life. After reading through this work, you might want to read other great books on Mary, including Behold Your Mother, Little Book of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Meet Mary. All are great books that will surely not disappoint!

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