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Posted October 2, 2007

Book: Behold Your Mother: Priests Speak about Mary
Edited by: Stephen J. Rossetti
Ave Maria Press. Notre Dame, IN. 2007. Pp. 157

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

In this collection of inspiring reflections, ten esteemed priests share the role that the Blessed Mother has played in their personal spiritual lives, seeking to renew Marian devotions for both younger clergy and those with years of priestly life. Each priest offers theological reflections and pastoral insights deeply rooted in his own devotion to Mary.

The priests tell of their childhood devotion to the Blessed Mother, often nurtured by their own mothers, and relate the impact of their personal encounters with some of the great spiritual figures of recent times, from Mother Teresa to Father Patrick Peyton to Pope John Paul II. Rooted in the Church’s rich tradition, these essays have both a personal and practical character that priests — and laity as well — will deeply appreciate.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Contemplatio: Treasuring All These Things in Her Heart

As St. Luke recounts the Holy Family’s two journeys to the Temple in Jerusalem, both for the presentation of Jesus and for the celebration of the Passover, they begin as ordinary events of ritual observance. As they unfold, however, they become mysterious, inscrutable, even hurtful events that leave Mary and Joseph wondering.

The final description of Mary’s response is unexpected and utterly instructive. St. Luke says, “His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:51). It is hardly surprising that when human beings encounter divine purpose, there is puzzlement and perhaps even deep confusion. God speaking through the prophet Isaiah says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord: (Is 55:8). What is surprising and instructive is Mary’s response. It is a contemplative response in the face of the mystery of the Word made flesh unfolding among us. She treasured all these things in her heart.

In the course of serving as priests, we inevitably encounter not only our own puzzlement, but also the often intense questioning of the people we serve. Of course, when we stand at the intersection of the holy mystery of God and human response to that mystery – as we do on a daily basis as priests — there should be no surprise that we share a common befuddlement with our people. The circumstances in which this happens are many: facing grief, dealing with illness, experiencing success, choosing a life direction, confronting human anger, engaging human and divine love. This list is endless. The puzzlement is similar and, often very intense.

There is an almost gravitational pull within us to try and figure out what is happening, to determine what this all means, and to identify causes, factors, and outcomes. It is a highly rational response to the mystery of God alive in our priestly ministry. Especially as men, we are highly susceptible to this approach. Mary shows us a different way.

When she treasures things in her heart, she assumes a contemplative stance. She watches and waits. She does not try to figure things out. She is confident that God’s truth will emerge. She instructs us by her example. We only need alert attention and patient waiting. God’s truth will come to the surface.

Table of Contents:

1. At the School of the Mother: The Marian Spirituality of John Paul II
Rev. Anthony J. Figueredo

2. Mother of Every Priestly Grace
Rev. Msgr. Fernando Ferrarese

3. Mary, the Pope, and the American Apostle of the Family Rosary
Rev. Willy Raymond, C.S.C

4. Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, Walks with Her Son’s Priests
Rev. Louis J. Cameli

5. Priests’ Response in the Face of Reports of Marian Private Revelations
Rev. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.

6. Mary: The Perspective of a Parish Priest
Rev. Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi

7. Mary’s House
Rev. Msgr. Walter R. Rossi

8. Mary and the Divine Presence: A Biblical Reflection
Most Rev. Arthur J. Serratelli

9. She Will Crush His Head
Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti

10. Mary, Catholicism, and Priesthood
Rev. Gerald O’Collins, S.J.

Concluding Remarks
Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti