True Devotion to Mary.
Prologue: Having tried to read and understand St Louis De Montfort’s book but finding myself wanting I am writing this synopsis which might lead me to an understanding of what I am certain is a great work. It is significant that Pope John Paul II admitted that he had to read the book several times until it became ‘a turning point in his life’. I also recall the words of Padre Pio’s assistant, Father Joseph Pius O.F.M. Cap., who said during a Retreat at Pantasaph in 1995 that reading this book was “the best thing to do after baptism”.
St Louis De Montfort
St Louis was born on the 31st January 1673. He was ordained a priest in 1700. He wanted to become a missionary but was advised to remain in France where he did exceptional work in travelling around Western France giving instructions, preaching, helping the poor, hearing confessions, giving retreats, opening schools and rebuilding church buildings.
He walked the thousand miles to Rome to obtain the Holy Father’s approval for his work. Pope Clement XI told him to continue with his work and named him Missionary Apostolic.
St Louis founded two religious orders one for women, the Daughters of Wisdom, and one for men, Missionaries of the Company of Mary (Montfort Fathers and Brothers). He wrote several books based on his sermons which emphasised devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Exhausted by his labours he died peacefully on the 28th April 1716. He was only 43. He was canonized in 1947.
St Louis’ Preliminary Remarks
It was through the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus came in to the world, and it is also through her that he reigns in the world. By her perfect humility she remained hidden during her life.
St Bonaventure tells us that all the angels in Heaven cry out incessantly “Holy, holy, holy Mary, Mother of God and Virgin”, and that they offer to her, millions and millions of times a day, the Angelic Salutation, Ave Maria.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor man’s heart comprehended” (1 Cor. 2:9) the beauties, the grandeurs, the excellences of Mary – the miracle of the miracles of grace, of nature and of glory.
The more the Holy Ghost finds Mary
His dear and inseparable spouse, in any
soul, the more active and mighty He
becomes in producing Jesus Christ in
that soul and that soul in Jesus Christ.
St Louis De Montfort
Necessity of The Blessed Virgin and of Devotion To Her
Mary, being a mere creature that has come from the hands of the Most High, is in comparison with His Infinite Majesty less than an atom; or rather, she is nothing at all. Nevertheless. God willed to commence and complete His greatest works by the most holy Virgin.
Mary Was Necessary to God in the Incarnation of the Word.
St Augustine tells us that the world was unworthy to receive the Son of God direct from the Father’s hands. He gave Him to Mary in order that the world might receive Him through her.
He found His glory and His father’s in hiding His splendours from all creatures and revealing them to Mary only. He glorified His independence and His majesty in depending on that sweet Virgin in His conception and His birth, in His presentation in the temple, His hidden life of thirty years, and even in His death, where she was to be present in order that He might make with her but one same sacrifice and be immolated to the Eternal Father by her consent, just as Isaac of old was offered by Abraham.
Our Blessed Lord began his miracles by Mary. By Mary’s word at the Visitation He sanctified St John in Elizabeth’s womb. He changed water into wine because of Mary’s prayer. He began and continued His miracles by Mary. He will continue them to the end of ages by Mary.
When the Holy Spirit, the spouse of Mary, finds Mary in any soul, the more active and mighty he becomes in producing Jesus Christ in that soul and that soul in Jesus Christ.
Mary is Necessary to God in the Sanctification of Souls.
1. God the Father made an assemblage of all His graces and He called it Mary.
2. God the Son has communicated to His Mother all that He required by His life and His death.
3. God the Holy Spirit has communicated His unspeakable gifts to Mary. He has chosen her to be the dispenser of all He possess and she distributes to whom she wills, as much as she wills and when she wills, all His gifts and graces.
‘These three important facts stated simply above can be proved by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, quoting the original passages but as I speak particularly to the poor and simple, who being of good will, having more faith than the common run of scholars, I content myself with stating the truth quite plainly, without quoting Latin passages.’
In the writings of Sts. Bernard, Bernadine and Bonaventure we learn that in Heaven and on earth even God Himself is subject to the Blessed Virgin as a child is subject to its Mother. Her prayers and petitions are so powerful with God that they always pass for commandments with His Majesty, who never resists the prayer of His dear Mother, because she is always humble and conformed to His will.
As Moses by force of prayer, stayed the rage of God against the Israelites, so much more can Mary who is more powerful than Moses.
In Heaven Mary commands the angels and due to her humility is empowered to fill with saints the empty thrones from which Lucifer and his followers fell by pride. God has empowered Mary to be sovereign of Heaven and earthy, dispenser of His graces, worker of His greatest marvels, restorer of the human race, and Mediator between God and man.
We all have an earthly mother and father and in the supernatural and spiritual sense our Father and Mother are God and Mary. For this reason those who do not acknowledge Mary but treat her with contempt do not have God as their Father, however much they may boast of it.
We must welcome Mary into our souls. When she strikes her roots in a soul, she produces there marvels of grace, which she alone can produce. Mary has produced, together with the Holy Spirit, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be – a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time. In so much as Mary resides in our souls so will the Holy Spirit also take up residence. The Holy Spirit and His spouse, Mary, are ‘inseparable’.
CONSEQUENCES of the above.
Mary is Queen of All Hearts
We can conclude that Mary cannot carry out all that is contained in the previous three chapters unless she has a right and a domination over their souls by a singular grace of the Most High. It follows that she is Queen of all hearts.
Mary Is Necessary to Men
In that Mary is necessary to God in consequence of His will, it follows that she is far more necessary to men in order that she may attain their last end.
Necessary to All Men to Attain Salvation
In their writings many of the great Fathers of the Church including St. Augustine, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Anselm, St. Germanus of Constantinople, St. Bernard, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure, have proved invincibly that devotion to our Blessed Lady is necessary to salvation. To quote but one; St. Francis when in an ecstasy saw a great ladder ascending into Heaven, at the top of which stood the Blessed Virgin. It is by her that we make our way to Heaven.
Still More Necessary to Those Called to a Special. Perfection
It is Mary alone to whom God has given the keys of the cellars of divine love and the power to enter into the most sublime and secret ways of perfection and the power likewise to make others enter in there also. The souls richest in graces and virtues, shall be the most assiduous in praying to our Blessed Lady and in having her always present as their perfect model for imitation and their powerful aid for help.
Especially Necessary to the Great Saints Of the Latter Times
God revealed to St. Vincent Ferrer, the great apostle of his age, that in the end times great souls, full of grace and zeal, will be chosen to match themselves against the enemies of God. They shall be singularly devoted to our Blessed Lady and led by her spirit and sheltered under her protection. They will overthrow and crush the heretics with their heresies, the schismatics with their schisms, the idolaters with their idolatries and the sinners with their impieties.
Providential Function of Mary in the Latter Times
It was through May that the salvation of the world was begun, and it is through Mary that it must be consummated. Mary hardly appeared at all in the first coming of Jesus Christ, in order that men, as yet but little instructed and enlightened in the Person of her Son, should not remove themselves from Him in attaching themselves too strongly and too grossly to her.
Existence of This Function and Reasons for It
God then wishes to reveal and make known Mary, the masterpiece of His hands, in these latter times. Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy and in grace, to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall return to the Catholic Church.
Exercise of This Function In the struggle against Satan
What Lucifer has lost by pride, Mary has gained by humility. What Eve has damned and lost by disobedience, Mary has saved by obedience. Eve, in obeying the serpent. has destroyed all her children together with herself, and has delivered them to him. The humble Mary will always have the victory over that proud spirit.
Exercise of This Function In the Formation of her Apostles
God wishes that His holy Mother should be more known, more loved, more honoured than she has ever been. Her apostles will learn her sweetness and her maternal goodness and will consecrate themselves entirely to her service as subjects and slaves of love. They will be true disciples of Jesus Christ walking in the footsteps of His poverty, humility, contempt of the world, and His charity.
Fundamental Truths of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
The previous chapters show the necessity of devotion to the most holy Virgin. Now we must explain in what this devotion consists.
Jesus Christ is the Last End of Devotion To Mary.
There is no other name given under Heaven, except the name of Jesus, by which we can be saved. If we are as one with Jesus Christ then we have nothing to fear. If then we are at one with Jesus then establishing a solid devotion to our Blessed Lady will establish even more perfectly our devotion to Jesus Christ. Sadly the greater part of Christians, even the most learned, do not know the union there is between Jesus and His Holy Mother. (See www.religiouswriting.com ‘The Life of Our Lady’ Pages 76 and 77).
We Belong to Jesus and Mary as Their Slaves.
St Paul explains to us: 1Corinthians:19-20 “…..your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God. You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.” There is nothing among men which makes us belong to another more than slavery. Jesus Christ took on the form of a slave for us. At the Annunciation Mary said “I am the Lord’s servant….”.
Our Blessed Lady is the means Our Lord used to come to us. She is also the means we must use to go to Him.
We Need Mary in Order to Die to Ourselves.
Our bodies are corrupted by both original and actual sin. Before our souls can receive God’s graces they must be cleansed of this corruption,. We do this by ‘dying to sin’. We must choose, among all the devotions to the Blessed Virgin, the one which draws us most towards this ‘death’. The next ‘Truth’ is a consequence of the ‘Third.’
We Need Mary As Our Mediatrix With Our Mediator, Jesus Christ.
God The Son is our Mediator with The Father but our tendency to sin means that our purity can never be enough to enable us to go directly even to The Son. We need another ‘Mediator’ and that is Mary. To go to Jesus we must go to Mary. She is our is Mediatrix of Intercession.
We Need Mary in Order to Preserve the Graces & Treasures we have Received from God.
When we have all the graces and treasures from God how can we guard them against the evil of devils who are always on the prowl?. Through lack of humility we may consider ourselves capable of defending ourselves. No so! We must hasten to Our Blessed Mother and ask for her protection.
Choice of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Having laid down the five truths, we now consider the seven false devotions to Our Lady. We must understand these so that we may examine ourselves to ensure that we are not party to any of them.
1. False Devotions to the Blessed Virgin and False Devotees’
These ‘devotees’ criticise nearly all the practices of devotion. They lack humility.
2. Scrupulous Devotees
These devotees fear dishonouring the Son by honouring the Mother. They dislike the Holy Rosary, and other devotions to Mary, because they do not understand that the end product of prayers to Mary are to honour her Son Jesus.
3. External Devotees
These are ‘devotees’ who ‘go through the motions’ without amending their lives. They pray many Rosaries, attend Masses enrol themselves in confraternities but all without imitating the virtues of the holy Virgin.
4. Presumptuous Devotees
These ‘devotees’ continue living a life of sin; pride, avarice, impurity, drunkenness, anger, etc. whilst claiming that they will be ‘saved’ because they pray the Rosary; fast on Saturdays or wear the Scapular. Nothing in Christianity is more detestable than this diabolic presumption.
5. Inconstant Devotees
These ‘devotees’ are devout to Our Lady in fits and starts. Sometimes fervent then a little while afterward lacking in any devotion.
6. Hypocritical Devotees
These ‘devotees’ put on a display of devotion in order to be taken for what they are not.
7. Interested Devotees
These ‘devotees’ have recourse to Our Lady when they are in need. Their ‘devotion’ is false and they are pleasing neither to God nor His Holy Mother.
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Having laid bare the false devotions we now give the characteristics of true devotion.
True devotion to Our Lady comes from the mind and heart.
This devotee is full of confidence. In times of temptations and weaknesses it implores the aid of its good Mother. In all trials the soul has recourse to Mary without fear of annoying her or displeasing Jesus Christ.
True devotion leads the soul to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of the Blessed Virgin.
These devotees do not ‘go along with the trend’ but are courageous in opposing the world in fashion, the flesh, and temptations. If they fall they stretch their hand out to their good Mother. They live by faith.
This devotee does not seek to serve Mary from a spirit of personal interest or for personal gain but from a genuine love for the Mother of God.
Common practices, both interior and exterior
To honour her as the worthy Mother of God
To meditate on her virtues.
To contemplate her grandeurs.
To make acts of love, praise and gratitude to her.
To invoke her sincerely.
To offer ourselves to her and unite ourselves with her.
To begin, continue and finish all our actions by her in order that we may do them
by Jesus Christ.
To enrol ourselves in her confraternities.
To join religious orders instituted in her honour.
To proclaim her praises.
To give alms and fast in her honour.
To wear her liveries such as Rosary and Scapular.
To recite the Holy Rosary.
To sing or have sung her canticles in her honour.
To ask pardon of God through her for the sins of the day.
To adorn her altars and crown her images.
To carry her image as a mighty arm against evil spirits.
To have copies of her name and picture placed in churches and other suitable
To consecrate ourselves to her in a special and solemn way.
MOTIVES OF PERFECT DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN
PERFECT CONSECRATION TO JESUS CHRIST
If we give ourselves entirely to Mary then we are automatically giving ourselves to Jesus.
We must give Mary our body with all its senses. Our soul with all its powers. Our exterior goods of fortune whether present or to come. Our interior and spiritual goods, which are our merits and our virtues, and our good works, past, present and future.
A person who voluntarily consecrates themselves to Jesus Christ through Mary can no longer dispose of the value of any of his good actions. All he suffers, all he thinks, all the good he does, belongs to Mary, in order that she may dispose of it according to the will of her Son.
Jesus did not will to come into the world at the age of a perfect man but like a poor little babe and through the Virgin Mary. He found no more perfect means than to submit Himself in all things to the Blessed Virgin.
We cannot find a more perfect means of glorifying God than to submit ourselves to Mary as Jesus did.
St Bernard said that God, seeing that we are unworthy to receive His graces immediately from Him, gives them to Mary to give to us. “That grace should return to the giver by the same channel through which it came”.
By consecrating ourselves to Mary we become the perfect servant of Mary as did St John “The disciple took her for his own” (John 19:27). Therefore we no longer rely on our own dispositions, intentions, merits, virtues and good works; our treasure is Mary.
However humble and well meaning our intentions may be they are tainted with our worldliness. Mary will purify them and make them acceptable to her Son.
Our Lady will ensure that our good works are done for the greater Glory of God.
Devotion to Mary will not eliminate all crosses on life’s journey but the Graces which we will receive form Mary will make our journey easier.
Devotion to Mary is a shorter route as we are assisted by the Blessed Virgin.
As Jesus came to us through Mary so it is the most perfect way for us.
There is evidence that Devotion to Mary has been practiced for nearly a thousand years and it is therefore historically secure.
Through devotion to Mary we are slaves of Jesus. What better Master could we have than Jesus?
The value of all our good works are in Our Lady’s hands and will be employed by her for the conversion of sinners and deliverance of the Souls in Purgatory. Thus our devotion to Mary assists our neighbour.
By being Devoted to Mary we are not relying on or own weak faith. She will protect us, not that she will take away all our temptations but she will give us graces to help us to fight them.
The Blessed Virgin and Her Slaves of Love.
The charitable duties which Our Lady gives to her faithful servants
1. She loves them.
2. She Fosters and Nurtures Them.
3. She Conducts and Directs Them.
4. She Defends and Protects Them.