An audio version of my homily for the Feast of Mary – Mother of God is provided just below:
The Catholic Church (both in the East and West) has a long and rich tradition of devotions dedicated to the “Theotokos.” These would include the rosary, novenas and daily devotions. In his “Spiritual Thoughts Series,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote a book of reflections on Mary. St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary is a spiritual classic (A very fine, simplified version is available here). The Legion of Mary (along with their Prayer Book) has perpetuated a devotion to Mary for decades.
One area with which we, in the West, might be less familiar is praying with icons of Mary. A neat little book on the topic is, Praying with Icons By Linette Martin
From the synopsis of Martin’s book we read, “Icons are different from paintings, they point us beyond themselves. They are a doorway to prayer that deepen your relationship with God. An icon speaks to both the mind and the soul. We respond in belief, or praise, or wonder, or encouragement, or simply—prayer.”
I read Linette Martin’s book and found it tremendous. It is very short but, within a few pages, offers answers to numerous questions that one might have about the topic of praying with icons such as:
* What makes an image an icon.
* The history of icons in the Orthodox Church.
* Some of the most recognizable icons ones and their meanings.
* How to get started incorporating icons into your life of prayer.