Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Marian Option (TAN Books)

The Benedict Option was coined by Rod Dreher after same-sex marriage was approved in the United States. He stated that Christians in post-Christian America needed to adopt St. Benedict as their guide and to try to strengthen the church if they wanted it to survive. Since the publication of this book there have been many books choosing other saints or saintly figures. However, Dr. Carrie Gress is the first to realize and point out that for any renewal to take place, we must have Christ's mother Mary at the heart of the renewal. That is why she penned The Marian Option.

The book begins by talking about the persecution Christians have faced since their origin. For 2000 years, there have been many tests and trials Christians have undergone. During these times, different people responded and reacted in different ways. St. Benedict, who is covered in this first chapter, experienced a crumbling Roman society much like we are facing a crumbling American society. Dr. Gress examines him more closely and discusses why he chose to retreat to the desert. She then spends the next two chapters explaining how Mary is considered the most important woman in human history and how we she has influenced art, architecture, music, literature, etc.  The next three chapters focus on her geopolitical influence in three of her most famous apparitions - Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima. The next four chapters are the meat of the book and focus on tough issues that Catholics have to always answer and defend. How much or how little devotion is Mary due? What is her relationship with the three Persons of the Trinity? How is she our Mother and the Mother of the Church? And lastly, why is it people are so anti-Mary? The final chapters of the book provide concrete ways to have Mary at the heart of our lives including practical and simple ways for a family to do this, such as praying the Rosary, going to Mass, wearing a Brown Scapular and/or Miraculous Medal, consecrating yourself to Mary, and many other easy things.

The Marian Option is a simple but brilliant book that walks us through not only the historical and cultural significance of Mary, but also her spiritual significance as well. I particularly enjoyed the case study at the end of the book on Pope John Paul II. If anyone in recent memory has shown us how to live a life devoted to Mary, it was this great man. What makes this book stand out from other books on Mary, apart from the message inside, is the beautiful presentation on the outside. It is a beautiful, blue hardcover with gold lettering on the cover, and a dust jacket to match. It is a worthy presentation for a book that you will want to read more than once. If you can read just one book on Mary this year, I recommend it be this one.

This book was provided to me for free by TAN Books in exchange for an honest review.