The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis Is a New Book by Carrie Gress

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Christian “options,” in the vein of Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option. The publication of The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis during May, a month traditionally dedicated to Mary, adds to that conversation. The book might focus that conversation even further on the Incarnation, as well as the promises and mandates that Christ’s death and Resurrection present to Christians.

“The benefits of choosing Mary go well beyond our own soul and spread out dramatically into the world,” author Carrie Gress writes in The Marian Option. “Mary shows us how the ‘yes’ of one person can change all of history. We know from the history. We know from the historian Toynbee that it doesn’t take many people to change the world. Your ‘yes’ might mean more to the world than you will ever realize this side of heaven.” We talk about this “option” and its implications.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Benedict Option. Dominican Option. Reading about one option —  never mind multiple options — can be exhausting! Will it ever end? Isn’t this whole conversation about living the Christian life seriously?

Carrie Gress: I know. Another option, really? I wouldn’t have bothered if I hadn’t stumbled upon something different that actually answered my own questions about what the world needs now. What I was looking for when I started reading Rod Dreher’s work was some sort of argument based on history and theology to explain why we needed Saint Benedict’s charism again. What The Benedict Option advises, as you mention, is really about going deeper into the Christian life — but that’s not exclusive to Saint Benedict. So I kept looking.

One thread I kept in mind is that when looking at Salvation History, patterns emerge. God supplies the antidote to the evil of every age. So for pagan Rome, Saint Benedict and his retreat were required both to protect what was left of civilization…

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