Tuesday 26 April 2022

How They Love Mary - Father Edward Looney - 28 Life-Changing Stories of Devotion to Our Lady

How They Love Mary 
28 Life-Changing Stories of Devotion to Our Lady
Fr. Edward Looney
ISBN 9781644135808

This is the fifth volume from Father Looney and it is my favourite it is an excellent volume. This is a very inspiring book, certain to help you grow in love for Our Mother. Journey with Father Looney through 28 profiles of saints and blesseds, and men and women of faith, and how they love Mary, and how their examples can inspire and challenge us. You will be exposed to many books, devotions and spiritual practices. A wonderful volume, well worth picking up! The description of this book is:

Could your love and reverence for the Mother of God use a boost? Here’s a powerful 30-day devotional to help you invigorate your love for Our Lady by exploring the many ways in which holy men and women have venerated Mary throughout time. From St. Damian of Molokai to Padre Pio, from St. Francis of Assisi to St. Thomas Aquinas, you’ll learn new ways of honoring Mary that you hadn’t considered previously, and you’ll be heartened toward a holiness and love of God that only these illustrious spiritual teachers can inspire.

Here’s a book that will be of particular value to those who are either beginning their devotion to Our Lady or whose devotion has become stagnant over time.

You’ll learn how St. Kateri Tekakwitha imitated Mary’s life as a consecrated virgin and offered Marian prayers that bore fruit. You’ll explore St. Faustina’s mystical experiences of Mary and how St. Francis de Sales’s depression was healed through Our Lady’s intercession. You’ll also learn how Bishop Fulton Sheen relied on Mary to remain celibate, how St. Thérèse of Lisieux was healed by her smile, and how Mother Angelica would pray the Rosary.

Author Fr. Looney also includes excerpts from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as a host of exquisite prayers and litanies to Our Lady.

Here’s the single book you need in this life to periodically strengthen your devotion to Our Lady by following the examples of the holy men and women who came before us and on whose shoulders we stand.

The chapters in this book are:

1 Every Saint is Devoted to Mary in Some Way—St. Damien of Molokai
2 A Greeting for Mary—St. Francis of Assisi 
3 Love Our Lady and Make Her Loved--Padre Pio 
4 Mary Knows our Suffering- Mother Angelica
5 Relying on Mary’s Prayers- Adele Brise
6 A Childlike Love for Mary- St. Therese of Lisieux
7 Catechesis about Mary Impacted Her Life—St. Kateri Tekakwitha
8 Streams of Grace—St. Faustina
9 Dedicated to and Protected by Mary—Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
10 A Love for Mary’s Many Names- Mother Mary Francis, PCC
11 Sincerity in Devotion- Fr. Lukas Etlin, OSB
12 A New Way to Pray- St. Ignatius of Loyola
13 He Preached the Virgin’s Mother’s Glory- St. Bernard of Clairvaux
14 Mary is our Lifelong Friend- Francis Cardinal George, OMI
15 The Goodness of Devotion to Mary—Blessed Columba Marmion
16 A Life of Union with Jesus and Mary—Fr. Emile Neubert
17 The Realness and Relatability of Mary- Caryll Houselander
18 Lead with Mary- Pope Francis
19 Challenging Words to Live—Chiara Lubich
20 To Think Deeply About Mary—St. Thomas Aquinas
21 Mary Was With Her— St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified 
22 The Rosary is Meant for Family Prayer- Fr. Patrick Peyton 
23 The Use of Imaginative Prayer When Receiving Holy Communion- Fr. Daniel Lord, SJ
24 A Simple Approach to Marian Devotion- Blessed Solanus Casey
25 What Mary’s Feasts Mean For Us—St. Francis de Sales
26 Give Your Life to Mary- Venerable Aloysius Schwartz  
27 By Joyful with Mary—Sr. Clare Crockett
28 The Little Way of Confidence in Mary—Sister Teresa (of Jesus) Quevedo
29  You Have a Story
Appendix One: Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Excerpt
Appendix Two: Common Marian Prayers 
Appendix Three: Litanies 

The subtitle of the book is '28 Life-Changing Stories of Devotion to Our Lady' the original draft subtitle was 'Lessons I Learned from Holy Men and Women Along the Way' both work, but the second focuses on what Father Looney learned, the first on what those profiled learned. 

This is one of those books that will change your spiritual life. I read an advanced copy over a few days prior to publication. The version I read had two more days, which the publisher choose not to include. I think both would have been good additions. But back to this version of the book. It is an excellent read. I read through it fairly quickly, but have plans to go back and reread it doing one of the lessons per day. 

Each of the days presents us a person and their devotional practices or how they related to Mary. The chapters vary significantly in length. As do the recommendations at the ends of the chapter. These sections ‘How to Love Mary like …’ have between 3 and 8 points. Some are devotional practices, some art actions like pilgrimage, others as simple as saying specific prayers. A few samples are:

How to Love Mary like Blessed Columba Marmion

Reflect on your reasons for loving Mary.  
Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of Marian devotions possible?  Which ones have had pride of place in your life?  Are there new ones you want to try? 
Pray the Rosary, Angelus, or one of Mary’s litanies. 
Think of Mary when you attend Mass next. 
Pray the Hail Mary slowly.  Don’t rush through it.  Just pray one.”

How to Love Mary like St. Francis of Assisi 

Recite the Office of the Passion. 
Pray the Salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Pray the Franciscan Crown- just use your rosary beads and add two additional decades.”

How to Love Mary like St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri learned the Litany of Loreto and was inspired by the title Queen of Virgins.  Is there a title that inspires you and can impact your life?  If you are a mother, look at the Mother titles and see if there is one that you can imitate?  
Pray the Angelus each day.  Try to do so three times a day.  Traditionally it is prayed at 6, 12, and 6.  If you need to, simply pray it sometime in the morning, afternoon, and evening. 
How can you keep Saturday in honor of Our Lady?  Think of a practical way to always be reminded of Mary’s presence on her special day of the week.”    

How to Love Mary like Fr. Emile Neubert

What are ways you can become aware of living your life in union with Mary right now? 
How can Mary encourage you in your state of life? 
What ways can you cooperate with Mary in the salvation of souls?  Is it by prayer, sacrifice, or labor? 
What can Mary teach you about your life?  What lesson do you need help with the most?  
Begin and end your day with three Hail Mary’s.  
Formulate a short prayer that you can pray throughout the day.  It could be as simple as, “Mary, help me.”  

The final lesson is our story. We are encourage to follow the 28 holy men and women profiled in this book and grow in our own devotion to Mary. I came away from this book with a handful of new practices to try. About a dozen books I have added to my reading list, and a desire to deepen my Marian devotion. It is a book I know I will read again, and one I will be sharing with many friends and family.

This is a great resource for growing in knowledge, love and devotion to Mary, and through that to living life better. An excellent book for spiritual growth.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Fr. Edward Looney:
A Heart Like Mary's: 31 Daily Meditations to Help You Live and Love as She Does
Our Lady of Good Help Mary's Message and Mission for Adele Brise and the World
A Rosary Litany
Our Lady of Good Help Prayer Book For Pilgrims

Lenten Journey with Mother Mary
Behold the Handmaid of the Lord: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary
Praying with the Church Through Advent
Praying with the Church Through Lent

Children’s Books:
Little Chapels, Grateful Hearts
The Story of Sister Adele and Our Lady of Champion
Breakfast in Bethlehem
Fr. Looney's Christmas Stories

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