Walking With Mary is the truly lovely new book from Edward Sri, who has already given us a number of beautiful, edifying works.
Given that there are so many resources available to us about the Blessed Mother, you might wonder if you need another one. I can speak only for myself, but I'm in complete agreement with Dr. Sri when he says that even though he's been writing about Mary for years, he is still "just beginning to know her."
Relationships are meant to grow and deepen; my own relationship with Mary is ever-changing, and I constantly rediscover truths that (I hope) I then absorb more fully. Walking With Mary is full of such truths -- it is a tutor, a companion, and a love song.
I'm including an excerpt here, and below you'll find a link to more information from Image Books, including other stops on the blog tour.
“Do Not Be Afraid”
In response to Mary’s concern, Gabriel says to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).
Have you ever sensed that God may want you to do something daunting or make a change in your life? When the Lord knocks on the door of our hearts, some of us might feel a little trepidation. You sense you are supposed to tell someone that you are sorry, but a part of you doesn’t want to admit you were wrong. You feel drawn toward giving more of yourself to your kids, but you are hesitant to give up all the time and energy you spend advancing your career. Or maybe you sense you shouldn’t be watching a certain show on TV or viewing a particular website, but you don’t want to give it up. Or you think God wants you to share your faith a little more and defend Christian values, but you are afraid of what others might think of you.
The Bible reveals that fear is a typical human response to God’s call in our lives. When we sense the Lord may be inviting us to do something new, face some challenge, or make a significant change, we can feel a little uneasy: What will this mean for me? How will it all work out? Do I really need to give this up? Can I do this? Like Mary, we might feel “greatly troubled” when we sense the Lord might be asking us to do something difficult or unfamiliar.
These initial emotions of fear should not control us or keep us from pursuing God’s will. Just because we feel troubled about an unexpected situation, a new possibility, an intimidating challenge, or a sense that the Lord is demanding something difficult from us does not mean we should close the door on what is unfolding before us. We need to be like Mary, who continued to ponder the meaning of what the Lord wanted to show her. As Luke’s Gospel tells us, Mary “considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke 1:29).
Benedict XVI explains how this response to the Lord’s initial call for her life is exemplary. He notes how the Greek word Luke uses for considered, dielogizeto, is derived from the Greek root word meaning “dialogue.” The term denotes an intense, extended reflection, and one that triggers a strong faith.* This indicates that even though Mary is troubled by what the angel’s greeting might mean for her life, she does not turn away from the Lord’s call. She remains an attentive listener to God’s Word.
As Benedict XVI explains, “Mary enters into an interior dialogue with the Word. She carries on an inner dialogue with the Word that has been given her; she speaks to it and lets it speak to her in order to fathom its meaning.”† Mary thus responds like Samuel, who at the first promptings of God stirring in his heart, did not close the door to God’s call, but humbly put his life at the Lord’s disposal, saying, “Speak, for your servant hears” (cf. 1 Sam. 3:10).
Excerpted from Walking with Mary by Edward Sri. Copyright © 2013 by Edward Sri. Excerpted by permission of Image Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
*See Carroll Stuhlmueller, “The Gospel According to Luke,” in Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 2, ed. Raymond Brown et al. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968), 122.
† Joseph Ratzinger, “Hail, Full of Grace: Elements of Marian Piety according to the Bible,” in Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Mary: The Church at the Source, trans. Adrian Walker (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 70.
Details on the blog tour for Walking With Mary are here, at Image Books.