Lubich: Mary: Flower of Humanity
Leahy, Brendan (Editor), Povilus, Judith M. (Editor)
Mary: Flower of Humanity
Welwyn Garden City: New City, 2017. 192 p.
ISBN 978-1905039340, £9.95.
Leahy and Povilus have compiled a collection of Chiara Lubich’s writings and teachings about Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In so doing Lubich’s devotional and spiritual writings are categorised to explore various aspects that can be found in Marian theology. In so doing this book becomes somewhat of a spiritual autobiography exploring the impact of Mary on the Church, and the individual’s faith and devotion. Lubich (and her editors) are clear that while the role and place of Mary has often been a cause of division within the Church, her role within the Church, the world and salvation history is to lead people to her son:
“Mary is the door that leads us to God. A door isn’t a door if it doesn’t open to let you pass through… A door that is always closed is a wall. Whoever stops at the door does not reach God. The door serves to reach Jesus” (p. 29).
The suggestion is that Mary can be used as a basis for ecumenism in drawing Christians together rather than driving them apart.
The book has eight main sections that explore various aspects of Mariology, and how she can be used as the basis for life, and perhaps incidentally for theology. Lubich remains firmly rooted in Catholic tradition, and in particular is responsive to the tenor of Vatican II, where Mary is integral to Christian identity and doctrine. This does not restrict the book, but actually opens it up to further discussion and exploration.
It is designed, primarily, as a devotional text, and while the devotee will get much from its pages, its value for the theologian offers a summary or a starting point for a study of Marian theology. For both audiences this is an exceptional book; it summarises the various strands of Mariology well and unconsciously invites the reader to begin/continue a much rich study of the place of Mary in theology.
James Holt, University of Chester, UK