The Marian Option – Talk By Dr Carrie Gress in South Carolina, June 2: a Marian Alternative to the Benedict Option!

Here is advanced notice of a talk by Pontifex University faculty member, Dr Carrie Gress. She will be giving a presentation about the subject of her new book, The Marian Option – God’s Solution to a Civilation in Crisis at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, Lancaster, SC on Friday June 2, 2017. The address is 7095 Waxhaw Hwy, Lancaster, SC 29720 (see for details).

She is speaking at what promises to be a highly entertaining and stimulating evening of music and discussion. The program is as follows:

  • 6:30 pm Concert of Sacred Music
  • 7:00 pm Talk by Dr. Carrie Gress
  • 7:45 pm Wine and Cheese Reception

Here is a recent article on the idea by Carrie on her blog on the National Catholic Register.

In a related matter: our recent fortnightly (fornightly is the same as biweekly for the American readers!) webinar which is open to all registered Pontifex students we discussed different models of community for cultural regeneration. We were focussing particularly on the parish model. My feeling is that the parish is the natural community for most (but certainly not all) Christians who are not called to the religious life and so it is through the regeneration of parishes that we will change society today. Carrie Gress’s book was mentioned in the discussion and my response is that this is absolutely something that can work within the model of the New Evangelization based in parishes. Mary is the New Evangelist par excellence whose every action directs us to her son.

Raphael, The Small Cowper Madonna, Italian, 1483 – 1520, c. 1505, oil on panel, Widener Collection

A true devotion to Mary, therefore, is one that leads us to devotion to her Son and through Him, to the worship of the Father in the Spirit in the Sacred Liturgy.  By this we are supernaturally transformed as part of the mystical body of Christ, His Church. This would always be in harmony with parish life and the home life of people who are members of the parish.

We need look no further, to use just one illustration, than the praying the Liturgy of the Hours in the home to see how this works. By doing this we will inevitably mean that we invoke daily the name of Mary in the hymns and canticles of the Office. For example Marian hymns such as the Salve Regina are sung every day at Night Prayer and the canticle of Mary, the Magnificat, is sung at every Vespers in the Roman Rite. Then in addition there are the Feasts of the Liturgy that commemorate Mary particularly. All of these redirect our focus from her to Him. Furthermore, if we have an icon corner set out in the traditional manner (as described in the book The Little Oratory) then Our Lady is always there. So many of these images will actually have her directing us to her son. If pray as we should and address her through her image in the holy icon, then this well in turn naturally reinforce the impetus to move on in our attention to Our Lord.

This will in turn reinforce the parish as a model of Christian community that evangelizes – to see how read my previous article, The Apostolic Model of the Parish as a Christian Community for Today.




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