Spend some extra time with her in the month dedicated to her by diving into the pages of one of these treasures.
Each month of the year is dedicated to a particular devotion in the Church. Though most of us don’t think much about the Holy Name in January or the Holy Family in February, May as Mary’s month is much more commonly recognized.
This year, consider spending some extra time with your Mom by reading a book about her during May. Here are some great options to choose from:
If you know hardly anything about her
If you’ve never read a book about Mary and don’t know quite where to start, Mark Miravalle’s Meet Your Mother is a great jumping off point. His language is simple and accessible and the book, though quite short, is very thorough. If you want straightforward answers to common questions about Mary and the beginnings of a relationship with her, this is the book for you (even if you’re not Catholic).
If you want some good biblical theology
There are quite a few things Catholics believe about Mary that might seem unbiblical, or at least dubious. The Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary might be doctrines you accept but hope not to have to defend. Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn takes a look at all of Scripture—Old and New Testaments—and explains Catholic Marian theology using the backdrop of the Kingdom of Israel. The connections he makes between Mary and Eve, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Queen Mother are truly masterful.
On a personal note, I struggled with Mariology for years until I read this book. After putting it down, I said, “Well, that settles that. I guess I’m good with Mary.”
If you want to model your life on her
Maybe you’ve got the theology down but you want to meditate on who Mary was—and is—and how you can live like she did. The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander is a beautiful book filled with simple but profound meditations on the Blessed Mother and on our lives in this valley of tears. Houselander writes in a pithy way that makes it possible to read for just a few minutes and meditate on her thoughts for the rest of the day.
If you want to read what the saints read
St John Paul II said reading this book was a turning point in his life—his papal motto is a direct quotation. Saints Pius X and John XXIII were similarly effusive about a book that has long been one of the most important books on how to love the Blessed Mother. True Devotion to Mary, written by St. Louis de Montfort in the 18th century, has stood the test of time and been read by countless saints. It acts as a preparation for total consecration to Jesus through Mary, but can also be read without making the consecration by anyone who wants to understand how Mary brings us to Jesus.
If you want to fall in love with Mary
Venerable Fulton Sheen writes about the Blessed Virgin Mary like a bridegroom writes about his bride. He’s absolutely enamored of her. If your love for Mary is purely theoretical, The World’s First Love will meet you there and draw you into a relationship with Mary that penetrates to the heart. Sheen demonstrates better than anyone what it can look like to know the Blessed Mother in a personal and intimate way.
If you’re interested in apparitions
Mary has appeared all over the world, calling her children to a deeper love of God. If you’re interested in learning more about her many apparitions, Joan Carroll Cruz’s See How She Loves Us is a great primer. Cruz tells the story of 50 different approved Marian apparitions, from Mount Carmel to El-Warraq, the 13th century to the 21st. These apparitions show the diversity of the Church, but above all they prove the deep love Mary has for every one of us.
If you’d like to know how to talk about Mary to non-Catholic Christians
One of the most insightful and eloquent preachers on the planet right now has arguably the biggest job there is in the field: Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the “preacher of the pontifical household,” meaning that the pope himself sits in on reflections from this priest during each week of Advent and Lent, every year. Father Cantalamessa’s book on Our Lady, Mary, Mirror of the Church, is as beautiful as you might expect from someone of such caliber. And one of his goals is to make Mary beloved by Christians of any sort. It also includes reflections on Marian iconography, with images.
If you’re not a big reader
Mary by Martina Degl’Innocenti and Stella Marinone is an art historian’s approach to Mary. Measuring only 5 inches by 6.5 inches, the book contains more than 700 pages of beautiful images of the Blessed Mother by artists throughout history. The text explains the iconography and artistic styles, but it’s a great book to keep around just to meditate on the artwork. Those who are more inspired by visual art than by literature will find much to contemplate within these pages. And even toddlers will sit still for a minute to look at the beautiful pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There are hundreds of other books that have been written about the Blessed Mother—we’d love to hear your favorites!