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Christians from liturgical traditions like Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have long venerated Jesus' mother Mary as a miraculous intercessor, icon of holy life and God's closest human relative. Believers from Protestant denominations, on the other hand, have attempted to appreciate Mary within the boundaries of what is known about her from the New Testament, seeing her as worthy of respect but not devotion. In this study of Mary as prophet, matriarch, theologian, disciple, intercessor and paradigm, Duckworth, an Episcopal priest and poet, encourages readers to approach her from the classic Anglican perspective of the middle way, which "allows us to understand Mary as a model, a pattern, a paradigm and, as such, a soul friend as we proceed toward the perfection that is Christ." It may be jarring for more conservative readers to discover that Duckworth views the Gospels not as historical documents, but as witnesses of faith anchored in the "truth" of myth and folklore. On the other hand, her evident affection for the subject and her even-handed approach to some of the more controversial aspects of Marian devotion will appeal to those seeking a well-rounded portrait of one of the major figures in Christian history and worship. Each meditation is enriched by personal anecdotes, Duckworth's poetry and her multicultural perspective on art history, folklore and Marian tradition.
Although Mary is a preeminent figure in Christianity and one of the most celebrated women in history, to many Christians she seems distant and unapproachable, a porcelain perfection of abstract motherhood that is irrelevant to their everyday existence. Still, interest in Mary is high, as evidenced by retreats, pilgrimages, liturgical formulations, and church discussions on her. Many Christians are hearing new wisdom in her Magnificat and are searching for ways to integrate her into their lives of faith. Although we inevitably look at Mary from a twenty-first-century perspective, in this book Duckworth shows that our appreciation will be deeply enriched if we remember the sources that have influenced our tradition and try to comprehend the grand sweep of Marian devotion. As descendants of that tradition, we can look to Mary not only as the mother of our Lord but as the mother of a growing, changing church that is finding its way to a contemporary appreciation of her many dimensions. Duckworth addresses six of those dimensions Mary as prophet, matriarch, theologian, disciple, intercessor, and paradigm in this compelling work that combines theology, history, devotion, and meditation on biblical texts."
Buy Mary: The Imagination of Her Heart by Penelope Duckworth from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781561012602 & 1561012602
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