Posted by: Peadar Ban | September 8, 2012

Review: A Book Of Marian Prayers

Today as I write this it is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Mother of Jesus.  From the cross Jesus gave her to all of us, so this is the birthday of our mother, too.

For two thousand years the Church has recommended Mary to our consideration as Mother and emulation as model of faithfulness to God.  Few indeed can claim to be  unacquainted with the so-called Angelic Salutation, the ancient prayer more commonly referred to as the “Hail Mary”, incorporating the words of the Archangel Gabriel when announcing Christ’s incarnation, followed by a humble petition for Mary’s intercession in our everyday lives and as especially we approach the hour of our death.

But more than the Hail Mary, those twenty centuries have built up a long and lively tradition of prayers to the Universal Mother. We all have our favorites — the Memorare, the Regina Coeli, the Magnificat (Mary’s own prayer at her cousin St. Elizabeth’s dwelling).

We have honored Mary and begged her intercession down long centuries.  Perhaps the tradition began at Cana?  Then it was Mary who knew things — and how to faithfully put those things together.  She knew there was no wine left, she knew this was a tragedy for the celebrating couple and those hosting that wedding feast,  and she knew that her Son was able to do something about it.  So, she did the thing that mothers always do, she sought help – from her Son — for her children. It is noteworthy for us to remember what happened.  “Woman,” Jesus said to her when she informs Him of the need, “What would you have me do?  My time is not yet.”

I imagine her smiling and walking from her Son to the steward to say, “Do as he tells you.”

I imagine her smiling through the ages upon ages as she is made aware of a need from one of her children.  “This one needs help.”  Her Son, our Brother Christ, does not refuse His mother.  More than one saint has told us that the way, the quickest way, to Christ is through Mary.  And, we may be assured that the “good wine” is in the answer to her intercession in our behalf.

In “A Book of Marian Prayers”, William G. Storey has set forth a collection of time-honored and cherished Marian prayers.  These are prayers for our Blessed Mother’s help, prayers of pleading, prayers for relief, prayers of gratitude since good manners and good behavior require thanking one’s mother when she has done something special for us and prayers recognizing her love for us and honoring her who said “Yes.”  These are prayers which are centered on Christ her Son to whom Mary points, and on Whom she continually begs us to rely, in Whom she continually advises us to trust.  Her words to us are always the same: “Do as He tells you.”

The Book of Marian prayers is one of a number of such books we offer at The Christian Book Corner.  William G. Storey,  a professor emeritus of Liturgy and Church History at Notre Dame University provides us with a wonderful resource for spiritual growth and a deeper and more full relationship with our Mother in Heaven.  This collection of prayers, some of them from the very infancy of the church, testify to Mary’s love for her earthly children and their love for and devotion to her.  Such a wonderful tradition can also be of great value in fostering a deeper love and respect for our own mothers and for the whole concept of motherhood and family life, so much under stress at this time in the history of the world.

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