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Discovering Mary: Answers to Questions About the Mother of God Paperback – September 4, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


David Mills should address all life s questions. His answers are simple and clear, brief when possible, but never cut short. He sticks to the facts and spares us his opinions. Such habits make this book the most valuable resource for discussions of a subject that is far more contentious than it should be. --. Mike Aquilina, executive vice president, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and author, Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts

About the Author

DAVID MILLS, a writer and editor, is former editor of the award-winning Touchstone magazine. Author of Knowing the Real Jesus and editor of The Pilgrim’s Guide: C. S. Lewis and the Art of Witness, he is a columnist for the Inside Catholic Web site and writes regularly for Catholic publications. He, his wife, Hope, and their four children were received into the Church while David was teaching at an Episcopal seminary.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Servant (September 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0867169273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867169270
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Growing up in a New England college town -- his father, a conservationist, taught part time at the university -- David always wanted to write for a living, but expected to be writing about politics, not religion. He was fascinated by the ins and outs of electoral politics, but an interest in pursuing the fundamental questions led him to think much more seriously about God and Christianity, and to find Christian doctrine even more interesting than politics.

Asked to edit a small Episcopal magazine, he began writing on the subject as he could, and achieved some small fame in that very small pond. While working both freelance jobs and a part-time job at a public housing agency in Boston, in 1988 he was called to work at an Episcopal seminary near Pittsburgh, which completed his move from political to religious work.

He currently writes a biweekly column called "Catholic Sense" for The Pittsburgh Catholic, the diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, as well as columns for Lay Witness magazine and the Inside Catholic website. He also writes regularly for the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, the New Oxford Review, and other Catholic publications. The Pilgrim's Guide: C. S. Lewis and the Art Witness (Eerdmans), a collection of scholarly and popular essays he edited, appeared in 1998, and his Knowing the Real Jesus (Servant), a kind of "Church Fathers for Dummies," in 2001. Richard John Neuhaus called the latter "A lesson in theology for those who are not theologians and a lesson in writing for those who are."

David, his wife, and their chidren were received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 2001, while he was still teaching at the Episcopal seminary. To his surprise, he was not sacked, partly because he taught writing and not theology, and partly because he edited the dean's writing. He left the seminary in 2003 to edit Touchstone, an ecumenical magazine that under his editorshop won the Associated Church Press's best journal award all five years it was a member. In 2008 he returned to writing and editing.

Married for 26 years, David and his wife have four children. Their eldest just graduated from college and is a Haverford Fellow working for a local foods group in Philadelphia, the second is a sophomore in college, and the youngest two, 16 and 11, are homeschooled and active in 4-H and local historical societies. The family have two dogs (both mutts from the Humane Society), two guinea pigs (one from the Humane Society), and three gerbils (store bought). They also spend some time protecting their chipmunks from the local cats.

They live north of Pittsburgh, which David refers to as "living in exile in the Midwest." This annoys the natives. They attend St. Joseph's Church in Coraopolis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Carol Blank on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author, an Episcopalian who joined the Catholic Church in 2001, opens his latest book with an introduction called "How I Came to Love Our Lady." He lists the more prevalent Protestant views of Mary, revealing that he had "intuited that she who bore the Word in her body had to be special somehow." With so much doctrine to absorb as a new Catholic, Mills didn't begin to appreciate Mary's significance for several years. This book, he writes, is the product of his growing to love Our Lady and his desire to overcome his own "gross ignorance" about her life and work. The remaining chapters, all in question and answer format, deal with the life, titles, and feasts of Mary; Mary in the Bible and Catholic doctrine; and Marian devotions, prayers, and apparitions.

Mills provides facts on Mary generally accepted by the faithful and found in magisterial documents and the work of recognized experts. He explains that the facts are "a way to find the spirit of the thing--which when found helps us see more deeply into the facts."

In an appendix for further reading the author suggests a long-weekend reading plan that offers a "surprisingly complete" introduction to Catholic belief about the Mother of God." He includes guidelines for the three-day plan with sources from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. He also gives web sites for almost all of the sources. The plan is a great follow-up to the Q&A chapters. It could also be adapted for a retreat or study group
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Taylor Marshall on July 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Five Stars

David Mills' Discovering Mary is an ideal book for those looking to meet the Blessed Virgin for the first time and also for those who already possess a deep devotion to our Lady. Mills' prose is excellent and he grabs your attention from the beginning with an account of his early Catholic days as a lackluster devotee of the Blessed Mother ("I was getting at best a C- in knowledge of Mary and a D- in devotion to her"). He shows how a richer understanding of Christ's incarnation led him to embrace Mother of Christ and the Catholic Church. Mills reminds us that Mary does not lead us away from Christ, but leads us to know Him more intimately.

This book is destined to be a classic manual in Marian apologetics. Mills includes a thorough treatment of the life of Mary (including Joseph!), and examines Scriptural accounts of Mary in detail. I appreciated the lucid explanation of the Marian dogmas from Scripture and the Church Fathers, and I also appreciated the book's description of contexts in which Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII declared the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary. I was impressed with how Mills delicately handles such issues as Marian apparitions. Related to this is his sober presentation Marian devotions and prayers commonly recited and memorized by the Catholic faithful. I honestly cannot think of a question or topic omitted by Mills. It's all there. Discovering Mary is the ideal go-to apologetics resource for your personal library.

I highly recommend this book - especially as a gift to friends who have yet "discovered Mary."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne B. Gardiner on June 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Discovering Mary, David Mills guides us toward a full appreciation of Mary. The information he offers may perhaps be found in magisterial documents, but perhaps not so well phrased and with such apt analogies. For example, Mills says that the Church, in declaring a Marian dogma, puts her ancient teaching in more precise form, not like a "mathematical proof," but rather "like trying to understand something in the heavens long seen in telescopes but only coming into focus as instruments improve and understanding of astronomy grows."

Framed as a series of questions and answers, with the answers ranging from a paragraph to two pages, Discovering Mary is well suited for any would-be, or poorly instructed Catholic. Mills tells how a newcomer might initially feel about praying to Our Lady: "I remember cringing, after I became a Catholic, when a woman I knew said, ‘I told the Blessed Mother….'" Yet his heart soon changed after he'd begun living with the sacraments.

Nowadays, skeptics (including some biblical scholars) claim that virtually everything the Bible says about Mary has been invented by early Christians. Mills replies that these thinkers are trying to eliminate "the supernatural from the Gospels, which means essentially eliminating Mary, bearer as she is of so much that is obviously supernatural.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Papa Z on July 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am taking a Theology Class and an assignment was to write a paper on Mary and to contrast the Catholic with the Protestant beliefs. Using Scott Hahn as a primary reference, I came across David Mills book and really enjoyed it. He has a question and answer format and gives a great explanation of the Protestant views and how to defend the Catholic doctrine. This book was a great resource and I feel that I understand the role of Mary in our faith much more thoroughly and recommend this book to others especially those who want to understand not only Catholic beliefs but the views of other Christian denominations.
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