THE GREATEST MARIAN PRAYERS
First Printed: 06-04-1999
Praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary has always been a part of our Christian heritage. From the beginning Christians have praised Mary as the Mother of God and prayed to her both in the Liturgy and in private devotion. They have done so knowing that whenever Mary is honored, Jesus, her Son, is duly acknowledged, loved and glorified and his commandments are observed. Twelve prayers have been singled out for study here as the greatest of these Marian prayers: the Hail Mary, the Magnificat, the SubTuum, the Akathist Hymn, the Final Antiphons (Alma Redemptoris Mater and Ave Regina Caelorum), the Hail Holy Queen, the Angelus, the Regina Caeli, the Stabat Mater, the Memorare, the Litany of Loreto and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. An Appendix to the work includes sixty other short prayers which have found their way into the popular piety of the People of God. In bringing them all together in a single volume it is hoped that knowledge of these Marian prayers will keep them alive in the hearts, minds and lives of the faithful into the new millennium.
About the Author: Anthony M. Buono, the author of two other Alba House titles dealing with the liturgy and prayer (Praying with the Church, 1990; and Active Participation at Mass, 1994) has devoted a good part of his professional life in the field of liturgical publishing. This book is in response to the great resurgence of Marian devotion in our day, attributable in large part to Pope John Paul II. As such, it seeks to throw light on these devotions that are such an integral part of the heritage of the Church, the prayers the faithful recite every day.
Book: 172 pages
Prod. Code: 0861-0
"Prayer to Mary, the Mother of God, has been and continues to be an integral part of our Catholic heritage. So often the Hail Mary or an invocation to Mary falls from the lips of Catholics. But have you ever wondered about the origin of some of the most popular prayers to Mary? In The Greatest Marian Prayers, Anthony Buono describes the origin of twelve great Marian prayers. He begins by situating prayer to Mary in the history and theology of the Church. He then outlines the history of appeals to Mary as these have grown through the centuries. In each of the twelve chapters -- beginning with the Hail Mary, the most popular prayer to Mary -- the author presents the biblical and historical origin of a famous Marian prayer and then shows how each prayer relates to our life today. Other prayers discussed include the Hail, Holy Queen (a favorite of Saint Alphonsus Liguori), the Angelus and the Memorare. With the exception of the Akathist Hymn from the Eastern Catholic tradition, Buono gives the full text of each prayer. It would have been helpful also to have the text of the Akathist Hymn as a whole rather than in parts throughout the chapter. A welcome addition to the volume is an appendix, "Sixty Classic Prayers of Catholics to Mary." This small book is an excellent tool for all who want to deepen their devotion to Mary." -- John Gouger, C.Ss.R. in Liguorian, July-August 2000
"If most people were asked to name the oldest Marian prayer they would probably respond by saying the Hail Mary -- good answer, but wrong. The Sub Tuum (in English, "We fly unto your patronage") predates the complete Hail Mary. After a brief reflection on Marian prayer through the 16th century, the book offers historical development and reflection on 12 Marian prayers. Among them are the Hail Mary, the Angelus, the Stabat Mater, the Magnificat and theMemorare. The book is interesting and insightful to read and could easily serve as the basis for a parish course on Marian prayer. --Rev. Henry Mancuso in The Priest, December 1999
"This attractive book is designed for a general audience and provides historical background and commentary on the most well-known and solid Marian prayers. Whenever possible, Buono traces the biblical roots of the prayer (as, for example, in the 'Hail Mary') and its further development in later Christian tradition. This is not meant to be a dispassionate historical work, however, but to lead the reader to a deeper appreciation of the strong Catholic piety expressed in these revered Marian prayers. --Donald Senior, C.P. in The Bible Today, November 1999
"Buono's slim volume presents some of the historically most popular Marian prayers, along with his commentary on their background, use and theology.... Each prayer is presented in its own chapter with a short history and a fairly detailed analysis. Buono's theological commentary is primarily for nonspecialist readers, who may have recited these prayers for many years without stopping to consider their theological riches. His line-by-line commentary will lead to a deeper appreciation for the substance of the prayers; he reveals that the praise they express flows not from a naive adulation, but from a deep knowledge of Mary's role in the mystery of redemption.... [The book] is a worthwhile addition to any serious Catholic's shelf; indeed, a case for its indispensability could be made solely on the strength of its appendix of 60 Marian prayers. This includes prayers from Church Fathers like St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine, to medieval saints like St. Catherine of Siena and St. Anselm, to modern prayers by St. Maximilian Kolbe and Pope John XXIII. Included there is the most beautiful paean of praise ever written in honor of Mary: Dante Alighieri's magnificent "figlia del tuo Figlio" from the final canto of the Divine Comedy, a prayer he puts on the lips of St. Bernard of Clairvaus. Buono's book may help make those immortal words known by more Catholics -- and perhaps come to their lips spontaneously in times of prayer." -- Raymond de Souza in National Catholic Register, September 19-25, 1999