Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Review: A Marian Bible Study

A Marian Bible Study: Bringing Scripture to Life for Moms by Laura Marie Wells
2006, Our Sunday Visitor, 112 pages, Paperback

Reviewed by Ana Braga-Henebry, M. A.

The very interesting aspect that first called my attention while doing this review is that the author of Our Sunday Visitor’s A Marian Bible Study took up the project of writing it before she had ever developed a relationship with Our Lady. This writing of the book, thus, is a reflection of someone's own "journey into the heart of Our Lady" as she states simply in the preface.

The book is divided into eleven chapters, or guides for eleven monthly meetings. Each chapter titles mirror the Marian Rosary mysteries, but go beyond the traditional mysteries, touching on each of the evens of Mary's life: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, through the sorrows of the escape to Egypt and the finding in the Temple, the Crucifixion, and culminating with the Assumption and Coronation in the last chapter. There is an appendix entitled "Frequently asked questions" which may prove to be very valuable to both Catholic and non-Catholic involved.

The way the chapters are organized is a dream-come-true to Bible Study leaders: an opening verse from Scripture, personal anecdotes opening the chapter's theme, even suggestions for songs, and of course answers provided in the back. Short Scripture passages are part of almost every question, and many interesting biblical facts are brought up about issues related to Mary's life. For example: in the chapter entitled The Wedding at Cana, the theme is "Marys' Intercession", the short introductory Bible verse is from John 2:5, "Do whatever He tells you", and the first part's questions revolve around readings that relate to both Old Testament and New Testament weddings. Old Testament passages from the books of Judges and Tobit, the parable of the wedding feast and the parable of the ten virgins are used so participants can form a picture of a wedding feast of that time period. Then the theme if intercessory prayer is brought forth, and several passages in the Old Testament are again read to explain intercessory prayers. A closing prayer is suggested at the end of each chapter, before a final memory verse.

The organization of the chapters also loosely follow the liturgical year: if the group starts in the beginning of the school year, the chapters should reflect (more or less) the liturgical year themes of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. I also love the short passages from the Saints relevant to the chapters-- Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pope John Paul the Great, St. Teresa of Avila--sprinkled throughout the book.

Mary is our Heavenly Mother, and a Marian Bible Study for mothers is a wonderful idea. By studying, learning and getting to know Mary we can only become better mothers! This volume will please both those who have an established devotion to Mary as well as those who are still to begin their own "journey into Mary's heart".

Available from Our Sunday Visitor.

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