Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review: Help For Suffering Humanity: Mary Help of Christians

I have just finished reading my review copy of Help for Suffering Humanity: Mary, Help of Christians authored by Dr. Brian Kiczek. The book is just 83 pages long and not over whelming. Once you start reading, you cannot stop.  I finished it in about a half an hour. In the book, Dr. Kiczek advocates for increased devotion to our Lady as the "Help of Christians." He begins introducing the importance of Mary in the early Church citing the prayer Sub tuum praesidium and private revelation which he clearly states are not to be taken as historical. 

Nevertheless, these private revelations build up the premise of the book showing how Mary is indeed the help of Christians.  Kiczek also relies on Sacred Scripture to further show how Mary has been the help of Christians since the beginning of Christianity. Moreover, he shifts to sharing the stories and legends surrounding Saint John Bosco's devotion to Mary, Help of Christians. We see how Mary has helped those who asked for help after Saint John Bosco recommended her intercession to them. The stories are inspiring and will help devotees of Our Lady appreciate more the power of her intercession before her Son, Jesus. Dr. Kiczek cites from several sources supporting the information he presents in the book.  As a book worm and nerd, I truly appreciate this.   

In the remaining chapters, he presents that humility is important in order for prayer to really take hold. He uses extracts from several authors, including saints to make the case for humility. Next, he offers prayers that can be said for an increase of humility, Mary's intercession, followed by personal testimonies of how Mary has interceded on behalf of his wife and others during their time of need. Dr. Kiczek closes with a reminder of how important frequent Confession and Communion is in the life of Catholics. He shares the famous dream of Don Bosco where the pope steers the flagship between the two pillars at sea, one with Our Lady and the other with the Holy Eucharist. As he steers the great ship, other smaller ships approach attacking with false ideas represented as books or pamphlets. These represent the world and its heresies.

I recommend this book to all Catholics, especially those who are truly devoted to the Blessed Mother. This book will not be palatable to Protestants or Atheists, but will increase appreciation for Our Lady among Catholics. The book had a few typos which is nothing serious. It has many references which readers can look up to confirm the claims Dr. Kiczek makes and do more research. The book is meant to be what I call a "devotion supplement," or a book that aids with devotions a Catholic may already have. While reading the book, one will cherish Our Lady more and her role in Christianity. She is not just the mother of Christ or a woman in the Gospel who is mentioned briefly and then disappears. Mary is much more than this. She is a great intercessor second only to Christ her son who is the sole mediator. 

Help for Suffering Humanity: Mary, Help of Christians is a book that should be on every Catholic's bookshelf. In this time of ideological disaster, we need to be reminded more and more of Mary as our help who points to Christ.  As former atheists, Dr. Kizcek and I can relate to how important Mary is in the conversion process.  Mary is indeed our help and Dr. Kiczek hits a home run showing this in his book.          

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