Do you want to grow closer to the Blessed Mother, but find yourself intimidated by the lengthy devotions and lofty language of St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary? Fr. Edward Looney, a priest of the Diocese of Green Bay and vice president of the Mariological Society of America, has put together a new book to help you prepare for a 33-day consecration to Jesus through Mary.
Behold the Handmaid of the Lord: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary simplifies de Montfort’s approach without watering down its wisdom. The book, new from Ave Maria Press, is a do-it-yourself retreat that helps readers learn more about Marian consecration.
God is at work through Marian consecration; it is powerful, and it changes lives. (xv)
Fr. Edward dedicates each of the ten days of the retreat to a different title of Mary, consolidating teachings from True Devotion to Mary to clarify the rich writings and deepen devotion to the Blessed Mother. His writing style is clear and approachable, and both his scholarship and dedication to Mary are evident throughout the book.
Each day’s chapter is 10 pages or less (in a small-format book; it measures just under 5×7 inches) and begins with a teaching on that day’s title of Mary, a prayer for the day, and a traditional Marian prayer or hymn. I was surprised to find that Serdeczna Matko (“Stainless the Maiden”), a traditional Polish Marian hymn I recently sang at a funeral at my parish, was one of the hymns included in the book. Its English translation, which I had never read, is beautiful. Other prayers and hymns include the Memorare, Regina Caeli, and “Ave Maris Stella.”
During this retreat, readers will learn about these Marian titles and devotions:
- Queen of All Saints
- Our Lady of the Holy Trinity
- The New Eve
- Mother of the Interior Life
- Mother of Disciples
- Star of the Sea
- Queen of All Hearts
- Mediatrix of Grace
- The Mold of God
- My Mother and My Queen
I recommend that you keep a pen and journal close at hand as you read Behold the Handmaid of the Lord. I was highlighting this book all over the place as I read!
Bonus material in this book includes a chart of dates to begin Marian consecrations to end on feasts of Mary. The next three start dates are November 5, November 9, and November 29. Another very useful section is a list of 17 devotional practices found in the writings of St. Louis de Montfort. Many of these are practices you can begin with your family, such as praying the Rosary, carrying a Rosary in your pocket, praying or singing prayers and hymns in Mary’s honor, and placing an image of Mary in a place of honor in your home.
Fr. Edward Looney has written several books about Mary and frequently posts on social media about his visits to Marian shrines throughout the United States. Listen to his How They Love Mary podcast on Spotify or your favorite podcast app.
Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz
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I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.