Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Under the Mantle" by Fr. Donald Calloway

I spent this afternoon reading Fr. Calloway's latest, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest, and I just have to say, "Wow!"  This book is tremendous - insightful, straightforward, down-to-earth, humorous, and Marian.  Once I started looking at it, I had to purchase it; I am going to read these chapters aloud to my son in middle school.  Here is a priest who speaks and models authentic masculinity - strength expending itself in sacrificial service to Christ and His Church.  In this book he writes about foundational issues such as the Papacy, Eucharist, Confession, Prayer, and the dignity inherent in both Masculinity and Femininity; but he presents these timeless Truths through analogies that any 21st century Americans can understand. Let me give you an example of what I mean, because it's pretty unforgettable:   

Confession is like a spiritual diaper change. Fr. Calloway points out what an incredible wise Heavenly Father we have.  When God made us members of His Family, He knew that, on our way to maturity, we are going to make a mess of things.  Like human parents He knows there "is no 'once cleaned, always cleaned' situation when it comes to taking care of a child.  No parent would ever say to a child, 'What's this?  I cleaned you yesterday! No more cleaning for you!"  And that is why God gave us the gift of Confession; and our Father administers this cleansing through the hands of our Mother, the Church.  Observe how Fr. Calloway brings it home, "In light of this we should never be afraid to approach our Father and our mother, the Church.  It shows we have humility when we, like a little child, come to Confession and echo in childlike terms: 'Uh oh, I did it again!  I'm messy again.'  Then Dad and Mom clean us up every single time."  See what I was saying?  You are never going to forget that analogy, and there isn't a person alive who cannot understand it (so by all means, share).

What I appreciate most about this book though, is the way Fr. Calloway has integrated the Blessed Mother into every facet. He teaches in a practical, common sense way the truth glimpsed by all of the great saints - that Mary is Jesus' most perfect disciple and the personification of the entire Church.  And as such, God intends for her to play an integral role in the life of every Christian. We are meant to pray, live, celebrate, obey, suffer, and come to eternal life - just as she was!  Every Christian is called to be a "Marian" Christian - by the grace of God to say, "Let it be done unto me according to Thy word" (Lk.1:38) in every circumstance.

I am failing to do this book justice; seriously, you need to check it out for yourself ... and then share it with someone you love.

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