Here comes that promised review of The King’s Good Servant but God’s First by James Monti in addition to St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s The Glories of Mary, which I happened to obtain free from the traditional Catholic organization, America Needs Fatima. On occasion, their e-mails and newsletters kindly offer free books, religious medals, and even blessed rosaries in the hopes of strengthening the Catholic faith in America. (Since I have not been able to donate for a while, I owe this force for good some advertising for all the free stuff they’ve sent me and will send me.) At any rate, Monti’s biography of St. Thomas More sticks closely to historical facts and the Christian polemics raging at that time. On the other hand, de Liguori’s work focuses on the passages of patristics, medieval saints, later writers, and miraculous stories associated with St. Mary in order to stir up one’s devotion. As such, I can recommend the former to any studious individual (I myself could barely put the book down), while The Glories of Mary has devout Catholics as its target.
The goal of increasing devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary holds such value that one who propagates her devotion is certainly saved. Also, all the saints attest to the necessity of being devoted to the Mother of God. So, The Glories of Mary is quite a necessary book, though it did not stir my devotion as much as The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude. The best part of St. Alphonsus’s book lies in the many examples of St. Mary saving sinners from final damnation–even those sinners whose devotion to St. Mary was very slight or even those who just managed to call on her just prior to death. One is reminded of the devil in Dante’s Purgatorio complaining about the many sinners St. Mary snatches from his hands.