UNDER THE MANTLE: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest
Written by: Father Donald Calloway, MIC
I just received my copy of Father Donald Calloway’s newest book, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest. My first inspiration is simply “Wow!” as I’ve already begun to shed tears at the beauty contained within it.
The tone for the entire book is set right at the outset with the lovely image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the background of Fr. Donald’s dedication to his beloved Lady-
“To the Immaculata, My Dove of Beauty: Arise my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the recesses of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely. Song of Songs 2:13-14
Father Calloway identifies as a Marian priest of the 21st century, and has captured in word the essence of the Church’s wisdom and his personal witness shared on the road with thousands of souls thirsting for Truth and the Divine Mercy of God. How awesome to hold in my hand the messages that Father shares while traveling and sharing the message of Divine Mercy and the love of Our Lady for each of us. The nine chapters summarize nine different talks that he offers, all of which weave together one magnificent tapestry that illuminates how beautifully Our Lady keeps the Church – and each of us individually as her children – under her mantle.
I have heard several of these talks, but seeing them in print is a different experience, allowing for a different kind of immersion in the message.
Father Donald has a way of communicating the profound Truths of the Church to, as he puts it, “Joe Six-Pack in the Pew”. Those of us who relish a more advanced style of writing will not be disappointed, however! These Truths are communicated with clarity and an expert writing style that appeals even to a person like myself who is more oriented to academic-type texts. And, let’s face it, human nature is such that we need to read and re-read important truths to increase our understanding and conviction of our faith and what we really believe. This book satiates the hunger and thirst for deeper knowledge of truths that may be more difficult to comprehend, and will be a pleasure to read and re-read.
“Catholicism is about being in love and accepting an invitation to the eternal wedding with the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, the lover of your soul.” (Introd. p, 11)
And just a warning to all ye who have any dissenting beliefs or attitudes, and any misconceptions about Our Lady, the Holy Priesthood, Confession, Prayers and Devotions in the Catholic Church, and the Authentic Manhood and Femininity of our creation – prepare to be transformed! And to those who are yearning to learn more about the faith with clear, rich explanations of the beauty of the teachings of the Catholic Church – this is your book! Father Calloway has a unique way of teaching these magnificent Truths in a simple, meaningful, personalized fashion that speaks to the heart – if, indeed that heart is open.
Father Calloway…of all people…understands what the Lord can do if the heart and mind are open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – and the lengths that Mary will go to save her children! If you don’t know why this is so, check out his previous work, “No Turning Back”, to read about the amazing journey in his own life in which Our Lady brought him to conversion from being a “Grateful Deadhead” to a embrace his identity as a beloved son of the Most High God and a holy catholic priest after God’s own heart. It will make “Under the Mantle” all the more beautiful, and, I believe, awaken your heart to receptivity for all that the Lord has for you in the witness of Fr. Calloway.
One of the things I especially like are the Marian Gems that Fr. Calloway has included in each chapter. Most of these will be unfamiliar to many readers, and contain so much love and wisdom! Here are a couple of my particular favorites:
“The Eucharist began in Bethlehem in Mary’s arms. It was she who brought to humanity the Bread for which it was famishing, and which alone can nourish it. She it was who took care of that Bread for us. It was she who nourished the Lamb whose life-giving Flesh we feed upon. She nourished him with her virginal milk; she nourished him for the sacrifice, for she foreknew his destiny.” St. Peter Julian Eymard
And another one that moves me deeply…
“If you could have pre-existed your mother [….] would you not have made her the most perfect woman that ever lived — one so beautiful she would have been the sweet envy of all women, and one so gentle and so merciful that all other mothers would have sought to imitate her virtues? Why, then, should we think that God would do otherwise?” Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
And, indeed, these are only the beginning! There are multiple, beautiful Marian Gems found in each chapter for your pondering delight.
If I had to pick a favorite chapter, I would have to choose Chapter 9: Femininity. As a Psychiatric NP with a specialty in women’s mental health issues, and a devout Catholic, I would have to say that so very many of the wounds, ills, interpersonal relationship issues, personality disorders, and depression, anxiety, mental pain/anguish, etc. would not exist if women knew and embraced their true creation. To expound upon this professional and personal opinion would be beyond the scope of this book review; however, I can say also that these issues dovetail as well with Chapter 8: Manhood. I heard a quote once attributed to Blessed John Paul II to Cardinal DiNardo….“You know….it’s all about the human person”. Thanks to Fr. Calloway who does a masterful job of explaining the wonder of our creation as male and female, and how we are intended to authentically love one another.
So….if it’s not been made clear already, I HIGHLY recommend this book to EVERYONE! You will not be disappointed. And, while you’re purchasing one for yourself, buy a couple for friends or others, and let’s get about the business of changing the world!
Please keep Fr. Calloway in your prayers.