Though you can’t judge a book by its cover, I often do anyway. This book is simply beautiful. The color is deep and rich, the image draws you in and causes you to wonder how Mary fits in our modern world, and I happen to have a hardcover version which feels sublime in my hand as I read it. I haven’t purchased a hardcover book in a long time and I had forgotten how lovely they feel.
The physical beauty of this book makes it a stunning present to give to a friend, and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that if its beauty was only cover-deep.
The Marian Option by Carrie Gress is exactly the remedy I needed to combat the darkness that was settling in my mind. As the news cycle keeps spitting out vitriol and chaos, I found myself worrying more and more about the state of our world and the country my children would grow up in.
Would we be safe?
Was there nothing sacred anymore, even our God-given gender?
Should we just move to the mountains and act like monks to save our souls?
How can I combat the slew of negative images that come my way each day?
The Marian Option wrapped me in Mary’s mantle and gave me a soft hug and told me, “It’s going to be okay.” There may be war, famine, blasphemy, and death but your Mother is with you. She loves you. Stick with her and this worldly darkness will be but a blink compared to the glory of spending eternity in Heaven with Jesus, Mary, and the saints.
This book was written somewhat as a response to The Benedict Option, a book that urges people to embrace many of the principles that St. Benedict espoused. The book focuses on seven principles (order, prayer, work, asceticism, stability, community, hospitality, and balance) and suggests that the world has become so broken that Christian ought to withdraw and form communities to practice these principles a bit like monks in a monastery.
While The Benedict Option addressed many of the problems in our modern day society, the solution felt . . . a bit out of reach. Most of us cannot pack up and live somewhere remote with other conservative Catholics to focus on the simple ways of religious life as we leave the modern world behind.
In comes The Marian Option!
This book instead suggests that there have always been great struggles in the world and the answer has always been Jesus or the Blessed Mother. She has appeared so many times to comfort us and to draw us back to her Son. She urges prayer, fasting, and reconciliation. She meets us where we are. She lets us know that no matter where we live or the chaos around us, she is a safe harbor. She will see us through even if that means we are to quickly leave this world and meet our maker. We WILL be safe and loved.
“At first glance, the Marian Option might appear to be simple – perhaps too simple. The only requirement is a relationship with Our Lady. But simplicity is not the same as superficiality. Many things that seem simple can be powerful, efficacious, and surprisingly profound.”
The book goes on to explain why we need Mary in these times. Then Gress shares many of the Marian apparitions around the world and the miracles attributed to our Blessed Mother, especially in times of hopelessness. Next, she explains the very essence of Mary and why we can come to depend on her. The book closes with how we can live out the Marian Option in our own lives.
In short, this book filled me with hope. With quotes like, “A mass movement isn’t needed – only a very few who know the true source of strength, grace, and genius to transform the world,” I felt the world brightening already, if not only in my own living room.
I could never read too many books about Mary. I always learn something new about this remarkable woman who is my own mother. This book was no different and highlighted so many gems that I will take with me and treasure.
I highly recommend this book and again, I think it would make a beautiful present. I think anyone can embrace the principles laid out in the Marian Option and find not only hope but the key to salvation as Mary does what she does best and leads us to the heart of Jesus.
This is my favorite book about teaching children to love Mary: Leading The Little Ones to Mary. If we do this well, we won’t be in such a crisis 20 years from now!
What is on your heart today? What do you need our Blessed Mother to help you with? Comment and this wonderful community will pray for you!
Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.
Copyright 2017 Sterling Jaquith
Your purchase of the resources mentioned here through Amazon affiliate links benefits the author of this article.