The Reed of God (Notre Dame, IN: Christian Classics, 2006)

On the surface, this may look like just a pious little Catholic devotional book about Mary, suitable for Advent reading if your taste runs along these lines. But Caryll Houselander was a remarkable twentieth century mystic and her writing conveys much more depth than sentimentality. She appreciates silence, contemplative waiting, and the embodied nature of authentic Christian spirituality. When she asserts that a person lost in sin is like the tomb in which Christ rests — awaiting resurrection — she skewers conventional piety and judgmental religiosity while simultaneously weaving hope, compassion and mystical truth together. This is a must-read for Catholics, but anyone who is open to a meaningful meditation on Mary will want to peruse this book.

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