There is a rich history in the Catholic Church of pious devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. These devotions were all born out of a deep love of our Blessed Mother and were aimed at helping the faithful draw close to Mary so as to draw closer to Christ.
However, during the past 50 years most of these devotions fell out of style and children attending catechism classes were barely taught how to pray the rosary. This has led to a void in the Catholic Church that is not easily filled and a person who wants to explore these various Marian traditions typically has to scour old book stores to find an ancient book of devotions.
That is, until now.
Thanks to the efforts of Tan Books and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, we now have a Manual for Marian Devotion that contains a rich collection of Marian devotions that a devout soul can use to draw ever closer to the Blessed Virgin.
To start out, the Manual for Marian Devotion, following after the highly successful Manual for Spiritual Warfare, is divided up into two main parts. The first section entitled, “Preparing for Marian Devotion” is a brief introduction to the Catholic Church’s beliefs about the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in salvation history.
This first section answers such questions as:
- What is Mary’s place in God’s plan? Why is she so important?
- What has the Church taught about Mary?
- How has Marian devotion changed history?
- How should I cultivate devotion to Mary?
It is a relatively brief section and is primarily aimed at a person who already has a working knowledge (and initial love) of the Blessed Mother. For a non-Catholic, or a Catholic who is very confused about who Mary is and sill asks the question of “Do Catholics worship Mary,” I suggest going to Catholic Answers and reading-up on their in-depth explanations of these highly debated topics.
The second part of the manual, entitled, “Aids for Marian Devotion,” is the biggest part of the book and the most valuable. It contains the following:
- Inspiration for Marian devotion from the Scriptures and the saints
- Excerpts from Church documents addressing Mary’s role
- Accounts of Marian miracles and messages through the ages
- Marian prayers and hymns from the Church’s rich liturgical and devotional patrimony
- Marian poetry
This second part contains a wealth of information and prayers that help lift up the soul to heaven through the hands of Mary. What I particularly enjoyed was the section devoted to The Saints and other Spiritual Writers. It contains a vast array of quotes about the Blessed Mother from saints in every age of the Church, from the Early Church to recent history. This helps the reader discover the continuity of Marian devotion throughout the centuries and inspires a soul to have a similar devotion to Mary as did the great saints of old.
The Manual for Marian Devotion also has a great number of Marian prayers, some familiar and many that are old that may be new to the reader.
Besides containing beautiful content, the Manual for Marian Devotion is also a work of art in of itself. It is beautifully bound in blue leather with silver gilded pages. This provides for a sturdy prayer book that will last for many years and can be taken wherever you go.
In summary, I highly recommend ordering a copy of the Manual for Marian Devotion for anyone who desires to draw closer to the Blessed Virgin Mary and wants to plum the depths of the rich traditions of the Catholic Church that have been (unfortunately) lost in recent history.