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Mary, Mother of God

Meet Mary
By Mark Miravalle

Sophia Institute Press

Product Code: 329
ISBN: 978-1-933184-32-6
Pages: 144
Size: 5.5 X 8.5
Availability: In stock.
Price: $12.95

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For UK use family publications

Who do you say Mary is?

She’s a simple peasant they call Queen of Heaven. She’s the Lord’s humble servant, yet an icon of female strength. She’s mother of all, yet ever-virgin, lowly and exalted. Sinners fly to her but angels bow. Mary, mother of Jesus, is the most recog-nized woman in history . . . and the most misunderstood.

Non-Christians paint her as an earth goddess. Skeptics say she’s a fictional projection of male psychological needs. Many Protestants grudgingly acknowledge that someone had to bear the Savior, but otherwise regard Mary as an ordinary, sinful woman — in whom Christians have tragically misplaced the faith and devotion due only to her Son.

Even many Catholics don’t know Mary as well as they should. Do you know the Church’s five essential Marian doctrines, and how they’re rooted in Scripture and Sacred Tradition? Can you explain the difference between the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth? Or share the messages and secrets of Mary’s most famous apparitions?

Meet Mary, from Marian expert Mark Miravall, tells you all that and more. You’ll learn everything the Bible says about her, what the early Christians believed, and all of the Church’s key Marian teachings these past 2,000 years.

Soon, you’ll turn to Mary with your cares and joys; in sorrows you’ll experience her gentle embrace. You’ll also become a better disciple of Jesus, for the Son commands us to imitate him in all things — including perfect love of his mother.

“It’s time for you to know more about the Mother of Our Lord, and this book will do precisely that for you.”

Scott Hahn


Special thanks to Emily Stimpson and Todd Aglialoro for their astute editorial efforts in "translating" my Mariological thoughts into plain English

Introduction: Not Just a Catholic Thing . . . . . . . . . . xi
1. Be It Done Unto Me
Mary in the Bible and the Early Church . . . . . . . . . . . 3
12. She Kept These Things in Her Heart
The Four Marian Dogmas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . 17
13. Behold, Your Mother
Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
14. All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed
Marian Devotion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
15. Clothed with the Sun
Mary in Private Revelation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Conclusion: A Faithful Mother . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Appendix: The Rosary and Other Marian Prayers . . . . .  .  91
Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Biographical Note: Mark Miravalle . . . . . . . . . .. . . 121


Not Just a Catholic Thing

A book about Mary, written by a Catholic theologian, that can be read by non-Catholics and non-Christians? I can just see the eyebrows rising and hear the questions forming.

Why on earth should non-Catholics and non-Christians read a book about Mary anyway?” “What is this book all about?” “Why is this man writing this book?” “Who is he anyway?

With those questions ever present in my mind as I undertake this little book, I thought perhaps I might begin by providing some answers right up front. So, in reverse order . . .

Who am I?
In addition to being the father of eight and the husband of one, I am, as I already mentioned, a Catholic theologian. And not just a Catholic theologian, but a Catholic theologian who specializes in writing and teaching about Jesus’ mother. I’m what Catholics call a “Mariologist,” which literally translates into “
one who studies Mary.” Importantly, for me at least, I believe what I teach. I am a card-carrying, Rosary-praying Catholic.

Why am I writing this book?
My reasons are pretty simple. Over the past few years, there has been an increasing amount of attention given to Mary, both by the secular press and by people who are decidedly not Catholic. Time magazine ran a cover story on Marian devotion,
Dateline NBC did a one-hour special on Marian miracles, and even the Protestant standard Christianity Today featured a series of articles on Mary, including one titled, “The Blessed Evangelical Mary: Why We Shouldn’t Ignore Her Any Longer.” Venerable Protestant pastors such as the Rev. John Buchanan of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago have started preaching sermons about her, and young Christian authors such as Shannon Kubiak have started writing books about her. Radical feminists are holding her up as amodel of female empowerment, and Muslims do homage to her on a daily basis.

When you have all these people talking and writing about someone about whom most non-Catholics know little, people start asking questions. “What does Mary have to do with my relationship with God?” “What does the Bible tell us about her?” And my personal favorite: “Why do Catholics worship Mary?

Probably because the job title next to my name is “Mariologist,” I’ve found that people like to come to me for answers to such questions. And so I thought I might simplify the whole process by just handing people a book that answers the questions for me!

In all seriousness, the number of people with questions about Mary does seem to grow by leaps and bounds with each passing year, and that is why I’ve sat down to write this book — to give them a sure and ready source for good answers.

Which brings me to the next question: what is this book all about — and what is it not about? Let’s start with the latter.

First, this book is not a piece of apologetics. In other words, I’m not trying to convince non-Catholics and non-Christians to accept some or all of the Church’s beliefs about Mary. Obviously, I think it would be great if they did, since I happen to hold that everything that follows in these pages is true, and subscribing to what is true is always a good thing. My personal feelings aside, however, converting readers is not the direct point of this book.

Next, this book is not a biography of Mary. It doesn’t aim to piece together the life of the mother of Christ by filling in the biblical blanks with bits from the apocrypha or my imagination. Neither am I advancing some political or religious agenda. This book is not a Feminist, Marxist, Zionist, or any other kind of “-ist” reconstruction
of Mary. There are no “-ists” in this book.

Finally, this book is not a watered-down, ecumenical rendition of Catholic teaching. It doesn’t leave out those parts of the Church’s beliefs that non-Catholics and non-Christians will find difficult or even repugnant. It doesn’t look for common ground, although you’ll find a great deal of that in any case.

This book is a straightforward presentation of Catholic teaching on Mary — where we encounter her in the Bible, what core beliefs we hold about her, how we honor her, and how she honorsus in return — with the goal of leading you to a personal encounter with an extraordinary woman who lived two thousand years ago and lives still today. It’s a sort of Marian guidebook for inquiring minds who want to know: who want to know about Mary, and who want to know Mary.

And that is the answer to why non-Catholics and non-Christians should read a book about Mary written by a Catholic.

The Catholic Church has spent the past two millennia getting to know the mother of Jesus.We’ve studied her in Scripture, contemplated her in prayer, and honored her in our liturgies. We’ve tried to see the face of Jesus through her eyes — eyes that watched him in the manger, in the Temple, and on the Cross. John Paul II called this kind of contemplation “studying at the school of Mary.”

Unfortunately, there have been, over the course of those millennia, those who focused more on the teacher than on what she Not Just a Catholic Thing taught. At rare times, Catholics and non-Catholics alike have succumbed to Marian excess, giving Jesus’ mother honors and devotions that she does not seek and does not want — indeed, that she finds offensive. I want to make it clear up front that those who adore or worship her as semi-divine, or who even place her on the level of the Trinity, are not living out the Catholic Church’s teachings. Neither are those who let acts of honor become superstitious rituals. Treating Mary like a goddess or a magician is strictly verboten in the Catholic Church.

But so is ignoring her.

Through the centuries, the vast majority of Catholics have managed to walk the very wide road between Marian excess and Marian neglect. They have said their Hail Marys, asked for her prayers, and named their daughters Mary Ann, Mary Margaret, and Mary Catherine. They have loved her as they love their own mother, striving to follow her example in faith, love, and obedience. They have, as Jesus commissioned the apostle John, taken her into their own homes.

And in return, they found a woman who understands suffering, who knows what it’s like to follow God at the risk of losing all, even what she loves most in all the world. They found a heart that has grieved, yet never ceased to believe. They found a mother. Even more important, they found Christ. And that is the true heart of all Marian devotion: coming to know and love Christ more deeply and more truly.

* * * * *

Mary was born to bring Jesus into the world. God, who we believe knows all things from before the beginning of time, knew when he created her what role she would play in salvation history.
1 And when she uttered her yes to the angel Gabriel, she began that Meet Mary work he predestined for her. Catholics believe she continues that work even today, bringing Christ to souls and souls to Christ. And so it really is all about him. All the Rosaries, all the statues, all the Mary Margarets running about in Catholic-school jumpers — they are, ultimately, all about honoring Christ.

That’s why getting to know Mary, the mother of Jesus, is so important for all Christians, including those who don’t look to the Roman gentleman in white as their earthly spiritual father. And why, to perhaps an even greater degree, having more than a passing acquaintance with Mary is necessary for the non-Christian wanting to understand the Christian faith or looking for a model of love and compassion. Just as getting to know your spouse’s mother will help you know your spouse all the more, so, too, will getting to know Jesus’ mother help you to know him all the more. And while in Mary you will find a supreme model of love and compassion, you will also find that, over time, she will point you to an even better one: Christ himself.


1. These models are taken from Ineffabilis Deus.

Version: 21st July 2009

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