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No Walk in the Dark

Mary is the supreme example for our walk of faith, says theologian

In this Year of Faith, marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, perhaps no other saint holds more relevance to the Christian than the Mother of Jesus Christ. Her story, tied so intimately to that of her Son and to the story of salvation, is characterized largely by her walk of faith.

In Walking with Mary (Image Books), theologian Edward Sri looks at key moments in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and draws practical lessons from them for the lives of ordinary Christians.

Sri, provost and professor of theology of the Augustine Institute in Colorado, responded to email questions about his new book and about Mary’s relevance for fathers and families.

FFG: What do you hope the average Christian will take away from Walking with Mary?

Sri: I hope readers will come to know the humanness of Mary better. Many Catholics know Mary as the Mother of God and the Queen of heaven and earth, but how many of us know her humanness and the profound interior journey of faith she made? Mary was certainly endowed with unique graces and privileges, but she remains someone to whom we can all relate. She experienced the joys of parenthood and the blessings of walking in God’s ways. But she also experiences moments of discernment, moments of trials and sufferings, times when she did not understand what was happening and all she could do is keep all these things and ponder them in her heart. How Mary handled those opportunities and challenges in her life can teach us much about how we should respond to God’s will in our own lives.

In the book I consider nine pivotal moments in Mary’s life as revealed in Scripture; nine steps of faith the Lord invited her to take. What we see is that throughout her life, from Nazareth to the temple to the cross, God was constantly calling Mary to ever greater levels of trust and surrender. And at every step of the way, she responded with perfect faith.

FFG: Is “walking with Mary” necessary for the Christian life?

Sri: Yes. The Bible reveals Mary as the first and model disciple. She is the one who first responds positively to God’s will in the New Testament era, and all throughout her life from Nazareth to the cross to the eve of Pentecost, Mary stands out as someone who remained faithful to God’s will — someone who heard the word of God and kept it faithfully.

FFG: You mention that the book could be read by both Catholics and Protestants. In your experience, what opens Protestants to the Catholic understanding about Mary?

Sri: I’ve already heard positive feedback from some Protestants about the ideas in this book. “I’ve never thought of Mary this way before!” is what one of my friends told me recently. I think some Protestants are so concerned about Catholic doctrines and devotional practices regarding Mary that they miss seeing how the Bible itself reveals her to be a model disciple for us to imitate. But I think this book will be very welcoming for many Protestants because it’s focused on the Scriptures.

FFG: How can fathers and families benefit by “walking with Mary?”

Sri: For me personally, the prayer, research and writing surrounding this book has made me want to draw even closer to Mary and to share with my children more about her life. They know the Marian prayers and devotions. They know the doctrines. But I want them to know more intimately the person of Mary — the young woman of Nazareth who was called by God to something great and had to make a choice; the woman who humbly thanked God for all His blessings in the Magnificat; the woman who constantly asked what the Lord was trying to teach her as difficult events unfolded in her life; and the woman who did not run away from the cross, but remained close to Jesus in his suffering.  Since Mary is such an outstanding model of the human journey of faith, she can be a concrete reference point for our own lives. She can serve as an example of how to live with Jesus deeply in our daily lives.

So certainly, we should pray to Mary as a married couple, as a family. In fact, the Rosary or at least a decade of the Rosary each day as a family is a great way to draw the family near to Mary. But we should also take time to know her and consider her exemplary faith for our lives.

Learn more about Walking With Mary.