Indulging in a habitual negativity, Fr. Edward Looney was asked how that sat with his devotion to Mary.
In the midst of feeling lost in both his prayer life and relationship with God, Father Edward Looney found himself reflecting on who Mary is and how he could be more like her. Having been challenged about his attitude, he undertook a plan of daily meditation on the Blessed Mother and her attributes in hopes that he could turn his pessimistic and critical thoughts into optimistic and charitable ones.
Based heavily on scripture, Church teaching, and Looney’s personal experience, A Heart Like Mary’s gently encourages us to imitate Mary’s love for others and devotion to God. Each day’s meditation offers simple, reflective insight into a unique characteristic of Mary’s heart — 21 attributes and 10 separate desires of her heart that, when adopted, can improve every aspect of our lives. Fr. Looney gives us a fast take on his new offering.
What inspired the book?
I have always had a love for Mary. My spiritual director in the seminary was a Mariologist (a person who studies Mary) and shared that same love. One day when I was in his office with a few others, he called me out. I was being my usual self, negative and critical, and he said to me: “You love Mary so much, but Edward, where is your Marian heart?” I took those words to prayer and asked Mary what it meant to have a heart like hers. Every day I began to pray that I might live with a Marian heart, and I identified several characteristics. One day, as I prayed like I did every morning, to live with a Marian heart, the outline for A Heart Like Mary’s came to me and I started writing down all the different attributes.
Did writing this book teach you anything?
One thing I learned from writing the book is that I still need the book! I noticed recently that I had slipped back into negative talk and pessimistic thinking, and I realized I needed to re-visit what it means to live with a Marian heart. Intentionally focusing on living with a Marian heart made all the difference for me, and I noticed an attitudinal shift.
If there is one person you want to reach with this book, who would that be?
I hope it’s okay if I answer with two different people!
First, I’d like to reach a person who wants to be introduced to Mary. I believe the book serves as an excellent introduction to Mary’s role in scripture and relating her experiences of life to ours.
Secondly, I hope that the book reaches a person who might be in the same place where I was—needing to look deep within my own life and heart and ask, “What needs to change?” Striving to live daily with a Marian heart has made me a better person.
What is the ideal beverage to have in hand while reading your book?
I envision people using this book as a daily devotional, so I would say a cup of coffee, or cappuccino, or tea would be the best drink. Each meditation has a daily step toward living with a Marian heart. Reading the book in the morning challenges a person to take up the practice of Mary’s heart from their waking hour each day.