If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for a concise approach to apologetics and explanations of Church teachings. The volumes of scholarly work available are fantastic, but it’s often labor intensive to dig through it all. The less words and more direct approach, the better—for me.
One of those topics that I’m frequently in search of a good, concise read is Mariology—the study of the theological principles of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These are among the most frequent—and largest—stumbling blocks for many Protestants (and Catholics too!). Defending Mary, or even understanding why she is so important to Christianity is a tough task, and I recently was given a wonderful book that quickly surveys Mariological topics in a stunning fashion. It’s written by the prolific Francis Cardinal Arinze, titled Marian Veneration: Firm Foundations.
There’s a number of books to choose from if you want to study Mary: Hail Holy Queen from Scott Hahn, Behold Your Mother from Tim Staples, and others. But this title from Cardinal Arnize stands alone: it’s directed to understanding Marian theology, but rather is directed at the veneration of Mary. Other titles explain the dogmas, and this book does as well—even quicker. But then it takes those dogmas and shows the reader how Marian devotion is acceptable, and more importantly, necessary.
The book explored Marian devotion in the Scriptures, which was an eye opening thing to read. Previously, I was aware of how the Bible supports Mary as an important figure in Salvation History, but Cardinal Arnize showed me how the Church and the Bible evidence her devotional roots: “All nations shall call you blessed”—the Annunciation says it all!
There’s much more to discover, but let me quickly tell you another reason this book rocks:
I don’t have all the time to read 300-500 pages of Marian apologetics, and this book gets right to the point—thanks Cardinal Arnize!
Again, this book quickly surveys Marian apologetics, but where the meat is at is in the teaching about Marian devotion—which is the core issue with Catholics and Protestants. We can discuss all day why Mary is important and separated from all women, but discussing the history, boundaries, and purpose of Marian devotion is the trouble for most. This book discusses all angles of the topic: Mary’s own faith in God’s work in her, devotion in the Liturgy, the Saint’s devotion to her, current movements, and ecumenical matters as well. This book satisfies all questions and angles about Marian devotion, period.
There’s not much more I should say other than: get this book! If you cant decide which book about Mary to buy and are worried about your time and ability to keep up with the reading—get Marian Veneration: Firm Foundations now—you will not be disappointed.