Cover Image: Behold the Handmaid of the Lord

Behold the Handmaid of the Lord

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Member Reviews

This is the fourth volume from Father Looney it is not my favorite but it is an excellent volume. It is designed as an introduction to the thoughts of St. Louis de Montfort and his classic True Devotion to Mary. It can be done as a personal 10 day exercise, or easily done in a group over 10 weeks. I myself have done some of Father Gaitley’s consecrations previously, including 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration as well as Consecration to St. Joseph by Donald H. Calloway. But St. Louis de Montfort’s take it to a whole other level. Even if you are working through one where the language has been updated. But Looney in this volume gives us an introduction and over view that will I am certain inspire many to take that next level leap. The beginning of the description of the volume is:

“Considered by many to be the greatest book of Marian spirituality in one volume, True Devotion to Mary is St. Louis de Montfort's classic statement on the spiritual way to Jesus Christ though the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, Marian theologian Fr. Edward Looney masterfully summarizes the central teachings of St. Louis in a ten-day personal retreat that will bless even those who have completed the full devotion.

During the course of ten days, you’ll explore ten different titles for Mary popularized by St. Louis. Each presents a distinct aspect of her motherhood and protection while illuminating the spiritual path to Jesus through Mary.”

The chapters in the book are:

Foreword by Fr. Leo E. Patalinghug 
Introduction: Mother of All Believers 
Day 1: Queen of All Saints 
Day 2: Our Lady of the Holy Trinity 
Day 3: The New Eve 
Day 4: Mother of the Interior Life 
Day 5: Mother of Disciples 
Day 6: Star of the Sea 
Day 7: Queen of All Hearts 
Day 8: Mediatrix of Grace 
Day 9: The Mold of God 
Day 10: My Mother and My Queen 
Conclusion: What Now? 
Appendix 1: Dates for Marian Consecration 
Appendix 2: External Practices of Marian
Devotion Described by St. Louis de Montfort 
Notes 

I highlighted several passages while reading this book, some of them are:

“I don’t think many Catholics understand Mary’s role in Christianity or take it seriously enough. In fact, the foundation for Marian piety is Christology. There’s so much to learn about Mary that some may be intimidated to truly explore who Mary is in salvation history.”

“Thus, to understand Mariology and Marian piety, we have to look at how we pray, which establishes what we believe about the Blessed Mother. And then our beliefs about Mary should affect how we live as Christians.”

“Perhaps the lack of maternal affection I experienced as a child led me to Mary, a mother who would not fail me.”

“Over the next ten days, we will meet St. Louis de Montfort and learn much about Mary through exploring his thought and our Catholic intellectual tradition. Each day of our retreat is dedicated a title of Mary extracted from or inspired by True Devotion to Mary. We will use those titles to open up the wealth of knowledge St. Louis de Montfort presents and examine how it applies to us in our personal spiritual journey, life with Christ, and devotion to Mary.”

“A simple Twitter search for “St. Louis de Montfort” yields numerous tweets about his writings, including his most significant work on Marian devotion, True Devotion to Mary. These are powerful one-liners that can get people thinking and begin discussions about the Blessed Virgin.

“The writings, teachings, and sayings of the saints are powerful. But do you know who is more powerful? The Blessed Virgin Mary—the woman St. Louis de Montfort wants you to grow in love for and devotion to. Saintly men and women throughout time have known about Mary’s power. The devil does too (we will examine that further on Day 3).”

“St. Louis de Montfort hoped “for a great squadron of brave and valiant soldiers of Jesus and Mary, of both sexes, to combat the world, the devil and corrupted nature, in those morethan-ever perilous times which are about to come” (TD, 57). St. Louis de Montfort is drafting you into his spiritual army. As you read True Devotion and deepen your devotion to Mary, know that you are already a part of the army of the New Eve.”

“Catholics, though, find Mary to be a helpful companion in the spiritual life. In fact, we can call her the mother of our interior life.”

“We need Mary in our spiritual lives to be our intercessor and to bring our petitions to Jesus. Some who approach Our Lady do so on a daily basis. Others have been away from God and believe that they can approach Mary and ask her to bring their needs to Jesus. Mary’s importance in the spiritual life is to be our mediatrix of grace and, beyond that, to help us remain faithful to the graces that God has given us.”

“The first motive for Marian consecration, according to de Montfort, is to devote ourselves entirely to the service of God.
…
The second motive for Marian consecration is to imitate Jesus.
…
Once we allow ourselves to imitate Jesus in our relationship with Mary, we reach the third motive, which is to obtain the good offices of the Blessed Virgin. This means receiving a portion of Mary’s spirit and receiving grace through her intercession.”

“Once Mary has attained Jesus’ attention for us, she helps us to realize the fourth motive for Marian consecration: to obtain God’s greater glory.”

“We love Mary, we pray to her, and we have pictures of her in our homes. There are churches and monuments built in her honor. She is present in the Catholic Church, in other churches, and in the hearts of the faithful. But we do not usually think it is our duty to take Mary into our homes and live with her as John did. So great a mother can feed our undernourished Christianity and enlighten us with her advice. We could live in the presence of she who is so much the highest perfection of motherhood.”

The hardest part about reading this volume was stopping at the end of a day. This is an excellent little volume. It would serve great as an introduction to St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary. To some of the titles of Mary and her role in Salivation History. I can only hope that Father Looney will expand upon this work and do a long work focusing on the titles and feats of Mary with as much devotion and attention to detail.

A fantastic volume that I can easily recommend! All Catholics would benefit from reading this book.
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Do you want to grow closer to the Blessed Mother, but find yourself intimidated by the lengthy devotions and lofty language of St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary?  Fr. Edward Looney, a priest of the Diocese of Green Bay and vice president of the Mariological Society of America, has put together a new book to help you prepare for a 33-day consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Behold the Handmaid of the Lord: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary simplifies de Montfort's approach without watering down its wisdom. The book, new from Ave Maria Press, is a do-it-yourself retreat that helps readers learn more about Marian consecration.

God is at work through Marian consecration; it is powerful, and it changes lives. (xv)

Fr. Edward dedicates each of the ten days of the retreat to a different title of Mary, consolidating teachings from True Devotion to Mary to clarify the rich writings and deepen devotion to the Blessed Mother. His writing style is clear and approachable, and both his scholarship and dedication to Mary are evident throughout the book.

Each day's chapter is 10 pages or less (in a small-format book; it measures just under 5x7 inches) and begins with a teaching on that day's title of Mary, a prayer for the day, and a traditional Marian prayer or hymn. I was surprised to find that Serdeczna Matko ("Stainless the Maiden"), a traditional Polish Marian hymn I recently sang at a funeral at my parish, was one of the hymns included in the book. Its English translation, which I had never read, is beautiful. Other prayers and hymns include the Memorare, Regina Caeli, and "Ave Maris Stella."

During this retreat, readers will learn about these Marian titles and devotions:

Queen of All Saints
Our Lady of the Holy Trinity
The New Eve
Mother of the Interior Life
Mother of Disciples
Star of the Sea
Queen of All Hearts
Mediatrix of Grace
The Mold of God
My Mother and My Queen

I recommend that you keep a pen and journal close at hand as you read Behold the Handmaid of the Lord. I was highlighting this book all over the place as I read!

Bonus material in this book includes a chart of dates to begin Marian consecrations to end on feasts of Mary. The next three start dates are November 5, November 9, and November 29. Another very useful section is a list of 17 devotional practices found in the writings of St. Louis de Montfort. Many of these are practices you can begin with your family, such as praying the Rosary, carrying a Rosary in your pocket, praying or singing prayers and hymns in Mary's honor, and placing an image of Mary in a place of honor in your home.

Fr. Edward Looney has written several books about Mary and frequently posts on social media about his visits to Marian shrines throughout the United States. Listen to his How They Love Mary podcast on Spotify or your favorite podcast app.
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A ten-day retreat reading about Mary. Each day explores a different aspect of her role in salvation history.  Although it is not explicitly based on St. Louis de Montfort's work, it draws much from it and is good preparation for his longer program of consecration. 

Each chapter ends with a short prayer and a traditional Marian devotion.
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This is a book to read, but mostly to pray. It shows a solid Mariology but in a very easy way to understand. At the end of each chapter, there is a beautiful Marian prayer taken from different ages. It´s written in a way that with only 10 to 15 minutes each day you can read and pray with a chapter and by the end of 10 days, you would certainly know more about Mary and have increased your love and devotion to her. Even if you are already consecrated to Mary (as I am) you will benefit from this book, since the Holy Spirit may inspire different perspectives in your heart when you decide to spend some time to read about Mary and pray with her. As the Author advises: “If you want to be a saint, you need Mary in your life. Keep reading and keep paying.”
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This book shows that Mary is a necessary part of catholic faith. I'm a Catholic and consacreted to Jesus through Mary so I love this book and how made me love more Christ and Our Lady.
I learned a lot about Mary as well. I really like that every chapter has a prayer and a Hymn. 
Thank you Netgalley and publisher for free ARC in exchange of honest review. All thoughs are my own.
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This book was good but very short and a bit too simplified for me. Each day includes a reflection on a specific title and aspect of Mary as well as a short prayer and hymn. I read this book on its own but I think it would be very helpful to read it along side St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary as a guide or companion for the older and more dense book.

I think this particular book does a good job of celebrating the role of women and Mary in particular in the life of Jesus and showing how through Mary one can strengthen their relationship with and understanding of Jesus. The book encourages the reader to reflect on how Mary, with her multitude of qualities, can be more present in your life and can nurture your faith as she nurtured Jesus.
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Father Looney has written another amazing resource for Marian devotion! This book is a 10 day retreat that is based on St Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary. Each chapter shares a reflection on one of Our Lady's titles from that work and a Marian hymn. I have already completed the 33 day consecration twice but after reading this I want to do it again! Thank you Father Looney!
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Behold the Handmaid of the Lord: a 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary is a spiritually nourishing work. The author, Fr. Edward Looney, does a masterful job of explaining de Montfort's classic treatise in a down-to-earth, highly relatable manner.

Fr. Looney has a lovely way of writing about the Blessed Mother, as this passage indicates:

"From her we learn how to say yes to God's will, how to meditate and to treasure. Her example inspires us toward greater holiness, helping us advance from a mediocre spiritual life to one that is more attuned to God."

This is the type of book you can turn to year in and year out for spiritual sustenance and renewal. It is definitely one of the finest Catholic books I have had the pleasure to read in 2021.
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I received an advance copy of, Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, by Fr. Edward Looney.  This is an amazing devotional towards Mary.  If you love Mary already, or want to get to know her better, this is the book for you.
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