With the 100-year-anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima quickly approaching, many are wondering if it will be more than a simple anniversary, but that it might be connected to the world events we are watching unfold. The Fatima story is one that fascinates the mind and (hopefully) moves the heart, but there is much about it that remains unfinished.
How can Christians best deal with post-Christian America?
Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option is a book-long answer to that question. Dreher’s take is that St. Benedict offers a model that Christians can adopt to preserve their faith and culture in a world vastly hostile to it.
Out of the Ashes by Anthony Esolen and Strangers in a Strange Land by Archbishop Charles Chaput propose other answers to the question of Christian living today. My own take The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis, comes out in mid-May.
For many years I’ve marveled about the “coincidence” of three highly influential saints living in Krakow at roughly the same moment in history: St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and Pope St. John Paul II. While working on my book, The Marian Option, it occurred to me that there does seem to be a missing link, however, between Sts. Faustina and Maximilian. What is the connection between Divine Mercy and Mary? I was intrigued by this seemingly missing piece and thought there might be something worth investigating. I had a hunch that there had to be a deeper link between Mercy and Mary somewhere in the mix.
I had heard good things about Moana, I wasn’t quite sure what we would find wading into it. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised. An island chief-in-training, Moana is aware of a sense of mission. She is tasked with saving her civilization by returning a stolen “heart” to the goddess of life. Although a tale based upon the ancient myths of Polynesia, Moana does not stray far from timeless truths of the human heart that make for great storytelling and Catholic wisdom.
Dr. Carrie Gress’ brand new book, The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis, ably proves why “the Marian Option” is not optional today. Gress’ thesis consists in demonstrating that when the world and the Church teeter on the precipice of disaster, as they seem to be doing now, God wills to send needed aide through the Blessed Mother. As Gress substantiates through a fascinating survey of historical facts, Mary’s help has come swiftly and miraculously time and time again. And, oh, how we need her assistance now.
Lovingly pouring ourselves out for others may not always be glamorous, but it is always beautiful.
There is a well-known Dostoevsky trope that says, “beauty will save the world.” The famous Russian is usually taken to mean the beauty found in the material arts. Music, architecture, and sculpture are rightfully being plumbed for their world-saving abilities, particularly how they lead a soul back to God. But there is one stone that has yet to be unturned when considering the role beauty plays in saving the world: women.
The desire to be beautiful is deeply embedded in a woman’s soul. Each year, American women spend roughly $11 billion on cosmetic surgery, $24 billion on skin care, $18 billion on makeup, $38 billion on hair care, $15 billion on perfume, and somewhere between $20-45 billion on weight loss. The average woman spends 17 years of her life on a diet. While we can scoff at all of this with Qoheleth and say, “Vanity of vanities!” (Ecc 1:2), perhaps there is something to this that goes deeper than vanity. What if God has put that desire into our hearts for a reason? For even the smallest girl will tell you she wants to be as beautiful as a princess. This isn’t just cultural conditioning, but something universal that sits squarely in the feminine heart.
So grateful to these folks for their endorsements of The Marian Option!
The Marian Option offers a brilliant treatment on why the Virgin Mary—the mother of Jesus and our spiritual mother—must be at the heart of any Christian effort to renew society. Providing powerful historical witnesses, concrete examples, and practical cultural remedies, Dr. Carrie Gress masterfully describes how in ages past it was only through the maternal intercession of the Queen of Heaven that fervent Catholic resurgences took place, and why our modern age must learn from this and once again turn to Mary. This book is compelling and convincing!
-Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, author of Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon
Through this beautifully written book, Dr. Carrie Gress makes the case for the importance of the role of the Mother of God in cultural renewal and the defense of Christian civilization. This book reminds us of the unique relationship of the Theotokos - the God Bearer - with her Son, providing a spark that might deepen our own participation in the worship of the Father, through her Son and in the Spirit. Through these, every Christian will be supernaturally transformed and become an active agent in the evangelization of the culture that is so needed.
-David Clayton, Pontifex University, author of The Way of Beauty
The Marian Option is a breath of fresh air. Bringing together the current cultural challenge and the beautiful presence and work of Our Lady, Dr. Gress gives us an encouraging message of hope. There are very few scholars who could so artfully display the power of Our Lady in such a consoling and compelling way. This book is a retreat, a gift, and a summons to all people of faith.
-Fr. Jeffrey F. Kirby, STD, author of Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Dr. Carrie Gress' compelling book powerfully demonstrates that "The Marian Option" is not optional. God has chosen to intervene in human affairs through Mary, and her motherly aide is needed again at this moment in history. May we, as Dr. Gress suggests, hasten to avail ourselves of Mary's help.
-Judy Landrieu Klein, Memorare Ministries, author of Mary's Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God
Every great reform begins with a return to basics—back to the rock from which we were hewn (see Is 51:1). And there is no more basic principle in our faith than to be with our Lord in the house of Mary. With a winning combination of intellectual depth and traditional devotion, Dr. Carrie Gress lays out a way forward for our difficult time.
-Fr. Paul Scalia, author of That Nothing May Be Lost
This book is provocative in its simplicity. Looking closely at the recent conversations surrounding the so-called “Benedict Option,” Dr. Carrie Gress uncovers something more fundamental to living a full, Christian life: the Marian Option. The call to personal holiness—given by Christ Himself—has no better exemplar over the centuries than our own Mother, Mary. St. Benedict would agree! And so would, I strongly suspect, those attracted to the Benedict Option. Marian devotion, lived through a deep devotion to Our Lady and a life of simple holiness changes the world, because it changes us.