You know by now that I’m a Mary junkie, so it should come as no surprise that, when I saw Mysteries of the Virgin Mary: Living Our Lady’s Graces on the list for the Catholic Company Reviewer Program, I was all about getting it and reading it.

As an added bonus, it’s by a priest who’s the founding editor-in-chief of Magnificat, Father Peter Cameron. (What? You haven’t heard of Magnificat? Or, if you have, have you heard about their iPhone/iTouch app? Great Christmas idea for the Catholics in your life, especially the ones who have it all.) I have an on-and-off relationship with Magnificat, but I love it all the same. And Father Cameron’s writing always touches me when I read it in the editorials and reflections in the magazine. Seeing his name on the cover made me rub my hands together (and get my pen ready — I knew this was going to be a mark-and-fold sort of read).

In Mysteries of the Virgin Mary, I found a treasury and a book that not only added to my library but that enriched my understanding of Mother Mary. The first chapter covers a background reasoning for Marian devotion in seven reasons. The next 14 chapters each deal with a major Marian title, topic, or devotion. Though I read it cover-to-cover, I know I’ll be picking it back up again soon — chapter 14 is about Our Lady of Guadalupe and we have that feast coming up on December 12 (and I might just have a baby in my arms as I read it!). Each chapter stands alone, so it’s perfect for reading through the year. In fact, I started reading it the day before the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15), and I read that chapter first, before starting the book.

I was struck, both times I read that chapter — and as I read the entire book, by the simple depth of Father Cameron’s writing and referencing.

Here’s a taste from chapter 8, the one about Our Lady of Sorrows:

Our Lady of Sorrows saw beyond the abomination, and it was that sight — that certainty — that made her steadfast at the cross.

In the margin, I wrote: “She saw HOPE in suffering.” Reading that, my own handwriting from almost two months ago, I remember how I was struck by that sentence above, how it made me think of watching loved ones suffer and the challenge in remaining open to God’s will even when it hurts like crazy.

A bit more:

When we find the courage to come to terms with the wounds in our lives, we see the face of the one who first sympathized with our suffering — Our Lady of Sorrows.

Coming to terms with the wounds in my life…easier said than done. (That’s not written in the margin, but I’m quite sure I thought it then just as I am thinking it now.) But, from what Father Cameron writes, it’s worth it. From my own limited success with it, it’s worth it. It must be worth the effort.

I find that the more I read about Mary, the more I want to read about Mary. Additionally, the more I learn and read about Mary, the closer I find myself to her Son. This book is certainly a grace-filled tool that can lead you closer to Mary and, through her, to her Son. I hope, when and if you find it in your hands, you are as changed and moved by it as I was.

Be sure to check out the Catholic Company’s awesome selection of baptism gifts. Also, they have a load of other reviews of this book (in case I haven’t convinced you to spend your hard-earned money on it).