The Greatest Marian Titles. Their History, Meaning and Usage
Anthony Buono

A most useful book! And for more than one reason!

The Greatest Marian Titles starts out with Mary's Present Mission: a clear signal that Mary is not a figure of the past but an ongoing, active and rich presence all through salvation history. Veneration and love, deepening understanding and religious experience made her the lady of many titles, an expression of both human and heavenly answer, and a veritable encyclopedia of Marian treasures.

Anthony Buono sets his gallery of Marian portraits in a historical frame covering the development of titles from the second to the twentieth century. Reference is given to the overall foundation of her titles in Biblical conciliar and traditional sources. Each one of the twenty-four titles follows a loosely-handled outline highlighting history, meaning, endorsement by the church and application to the present. Each one of the titles leads from a "sitting theology" to a "kneeling theology," indeed, the author offers a special prayer at the end of each one of the presentations. Ordered according to the alphabetical criteria (Advocate of Grace to Queen of All Hearts) these "most important and popular titles of Our Lady in our time" fall into a variety of categories, some biblical (Handmaid of the Lord; Daughter of Zion), some dogmatic (Immaculate Conception, Mother of God). Some of these titles are from earlier times (Advocate of Grace), others championed in the recent past (Mother of the Church). Mystical theology and pastoral concerns are not forgotten. Mary is not "Seat of Wisdom" and Temple of the Holy Spirit"--pointing out Mary's relationship to the Trinity; she is "Our Lady of the Rosary" and "Queen of Families": a beacon of courage in past and present and a protector of the "first and vital cell of society." She is Mother (Blessed Mother) and Queen (Queen of All Hearts), linking affection and admiration; close to her son and redeemer (Associate of the Redeemer) but also close to us (Help of Christians). Speculative and practical at the same time "Queen of All Hearts" according to the author represent the "culmination of all Marian titles." There is even the odd entry of the Exemplar which, in a sense explains all others. The use of titles responds to the human need for models. A 'singular model', Mary invites imitation as model of the Church and model of all Christians.

In sum, what we have here is a kaleidoscope where different facets of the same foundational image reflect an underlying common foundation and meaning. It makes Buono's book to be a little summa of Mariology which can be read as separate chapters on each of the titles or as a fresco of the Church's lasting memory of Mary's person and role in salvation history.

--Johann G. Roten, S.M.

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