Talk on the Marian Option by Dr Carrie Gress, Washington DC, June 8th

Carrie Gress in giving another talk on her new book, the Marian Option early next month. It is at the Catholic Information Center, 1501 K Street NW, Suite 175, Washington, DC 20005 and it starts at 6pm. For more information go to the CIC website here.

Carrie is a great speaker and this is an important topic.

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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