Fr. Peter John Cameron’s new book, Mysteries of the Virgin Mary: Living Our Lady’s Graces, is a wonderful book. Cameron proceeds through the various Marian feasts of the liturgical year and provides a fresh meditation on these important feasts. At times, Mysteries reads like a catena aurea of quotes from spiritual masters. Through Cameron’s particular choice of quotes, the mysteries manifest a new meaning for the average Catholic.
Cameron gives the reader an insight into the history and original meaning of the various feasts. At the same time, Cameron presents the feasts in a new light. For instance, Cameron speaks of the Visitation as reflecting the state of the Christian life. We live in expectation, rising to meet Christ Who is hidden in the womb. Christ comes to us in the simple gesture of a visit by a loved one–but He comes to us and seeks us out. We rejoice when we find Him among us and leap for joy like John the Baptist.
The discussion of Our Lady of Sorrows is particularly powerful. Cameron talks about Our Lady’s emotion during the crucifixion as instilling a sense of humanity in a scene of utter inhumanity. With his usual theatrical sense, Cameron sets the scene and makes sense of the major players. Cameron tells the story like a master playwright and draws us deeper into the mystery of Mary’s suffering and her sharing in Christ’s own suffering.
Overall, this is a great book. I’ve been a big fan of Cameron’s work in the past–some of you may know he is the Editor of Magnificat–and I actually lived with him for a summer. The book is a clear reflection of Cameron’s own spirituality. He draws from the best, and sometimes obscure, sources of spirituality to shed light on these mysteries. Cameron has his favorite sources–John Paul II, De Montfort, Benedict XVI, Therese, Giussani, Bernard, Bossuet, and Rilke. But there are an equal number of new (to me) saints and spiritual writers from both the Eastern and Western Church. It is a rich book that is worth reading through once and returning to before each feast during the year.
I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to know more about Marian feasts, and those seeking to deepen their Marian spirituality in general.
This review was written as part of The Catholic Company‘s reviewer program. For a fair and honest review, the author was given a complimentary copy of the book. To learn more about Mysteries of the Virgin Mary, go to The Catholic Company. Also check out their great selection of Baptism gifts.