If you are a convert to Catholicism and your Protestant friends and family are worried that you now ‘worship Mary’…join the club. I remember bumping into an old Evangelical tutor of mine in England. He was very much the hearty, Evangelical Anglican sort–all rugby, cold showers and winning souls to Jesus sort of chap. When he learned that I had become a Catholic his face fell and he said, “But the Roman Catholics still have such a problem with Mariolatry.” And this from an Oxford tutor! I said, “Colin, you have made a mistake in terminology. You meant to say ‘Mariology’ not ‘Mariolatry’. The first is the devotion to the Mother of God. The second is a form of idolatry. Surely you were not implying that Catholics worship Mary? I mean, you are a theology tutor at Oxford. You know better than that don’t you?”
He changed the subject, and he’s now a bishop. Ah well…
If you have ever longed for a book that explains the whole ‘Mary thing’ to your Evangelical friends and family, than this is the book. David Mills, who is himself a convert to Catholicism has put together a little book that explains it all. He does so in a very winning and personal style, not only explaining the Marian dogmas and devotions, but also helping Evangelicals to understand how the proper devotion to the Mother of God complements and magnifies the proper relationship to Christ. He also does so with a fair sprinkling of his own experience and witness.
The personal witness was, for me, was the most attractive part of the book. This is because the Marian dogmas and devotions are part of the Catholic faith that really has to be experienced to be understood. One can argue about the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin or the truth of the Immaculate Conception until you are blue in the face, but it is when one begins to pray the Rosary that it all begins to come together. It is this personal experience of Mary’s love, power and assistance that is the clincher, and David Mills is wise to interweave his own experiences in such an eloquent and pithy manner.
After his introduction explaining how he came to love Mary, David goes on to expound the life of Mary, Mary in the Scriptures, Mary in Catholic Doctrine, The feasts of Mary, her titles and then a chapter on Apparitions, Devotions and Prayers. Packed at the back is a terrific appendix with lots of further reading, full notes and help for inquirers.
This book is really a must read for all Protestants on the Path to Rome, and even for those who feel that a bridge across the Tiber is a bridge too far, Discovering Mary will help to inform them about this rich and beautiful part of the Catholic faith.