RSS

Category Archives: The Devotion to Jesus through Mary

IN OUR OWN AGE, THE CALL TO SANCTITY IS MORE IMPERATIVE THAN EVER

IN OUR OWN AGE, THE CALL TO SANCTITY IS MORE IMPERATIVE THAN EVER

For Part 1 please click here.

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

In our own Age, the call to sanctity is more imperative than ever, if only because our race seems to be drifting further and further from God. The Blessed Virgin has appeared, notably at Fatima, to appeal for reparation. God has raised up a great Saint like St Therese of Lisieux to recruit an army of victim souls. The Popes have called upon all members of the Church to seek after integral Catholicism, which necessarily implies the practice of the lay apostolate.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Providence of God should in these times offer sincere souls a means of sanctity, specially designed for those who must continue to live in the world.

Mary’s Army exists primarily to sanctify its members. To accomplish this, it has devised a unique scheme of spiritual formation designed to bring its members ever closer to God through frequent reception of the Sacraments, regular prayer, the practice of all the virtues and, most of all, devotion to Our Lady.

We are well aware that no one can take the slightest step towards sanctity without grace. Mary’s Army calls all its members to have the greatest devotion to the Holy Eucharist, the very Source of Grace. The Mass is the continuation among men of the Sacrifice of Calvary, containing all that Christ offered to God and all that He acquired for men. From Calvary, every Grace flows: hence, desiring to share plenteously in the gifts of Redemption, the Child of Mary has fervent and frequent recourse to Holy Mass, which he is particularly enjoined to hear in union with and in the spirit of Mary. Through him, Mary will re-enact her prayer on Calvary, the first fruits of which were the earliest converts to the Faith. With Her, he will unite himself to Christ, to be but a single victim, offered to God for the sins of men. [to be continued]

– Excerpts from Holiness Through Mary by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s contact details, please visit the link above (Part 1).

 

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , ,

THE FINEST SERMON EVER PREACHED WAS DELIVERED BY GOD

THE FINEST SERMON EVER PREACHED WAS DELIVERED BY GOD

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

The finest sermon ever preached was delivered by God, in Person, as He sat on the slopes of a mountain over 2000 years ago: “Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Blessed are the patient; they shall inherit the land. Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.”

Christ was challenging the world. Speaking to a group of ordinary, illiterate country people, He told them that their vocation in life was to aspire after the holiness of God Himself. “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect… Lay up treasure for yourselves in Heaven… Make it your first care to find the Kingdom of God and His approval… Make your way in by the narrow gate.” Little wonder that St Paul, a few years later, could tell the people of Thessalonica: “What God asks of you is that you should sanctify yourselves.”

Christ lived and taught on this earth to sanctify souls. That was the reason He established His Church. He intended all men to be saints. There is not one kind of Christianity for priests, monks and nuns, and another for people living in the world. To all, St Peter addresses these words: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for Himself; it is yours to proclaim the exploits of the God Who has called you out of the darkness into His marvellous light.”

Every Christian, in virtue of the fact that he is a Christian, is bound to seek after holiness. Monks and nuns bind themselves by vows to help them in their quest, but the vows do not make the obligation: they simply reinforce and emphasise it. The destination of the Christian life is perfection for all. In every Age of the Church, there have been saints in the world as well as in the cloister. [to be continued]

– Excerpts from Holiness Through Mary by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s contact details, please click here.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

MY SPIRITUAL THERMOMETER

MY SPIRITUAL THERMOMETER

During a visit which we made to a learned and pious friend, writes a religious, we found among the books which lay on his table, “The Glories of Mary,” by St Alphonsus de Liguori, and as we were looking at it, he remarked to us:

“That is my spiritual thermometer. When I am faithful to grace, a page of this book enlightens me, animates me, makes me happy; when I am careless or lukewarm, it scarcely suits me at all; it becomes, as it were, too much for me; it wearies me; I no longer understand it; it is not the brilliancy of the light which has become less, it is rather the eye of my soul which can no longer bear it. I labour then to restore to that eye its purity and its strength, and soon the thermometer rises, or rather my soul mounts and finds itself in unison with the praises of the Blessed Virgin.”

THE PURITY OF THE EYE OF THE SOUL

How precious are these words! Is it not well to be able to discern “where the life of our poor heart is?” These hours of weakness are so long and so alarming.

This we may know through “the love we feel for Mary.” It grows or lessens in proportion as innocence increases or diminishes in our hearts.

As long as we remain pure, there exists a close relation between us and the Blessed Virgin, which manifests itself by a thrill of joy each time that our mind can ponder on her goodness, or our lips murmur a prayer in her honour.

Then we search for all that recalls Mary to us; the prayers which we prefer are those addressed to Mary; books please us less if they do not speak a little of Mary. The rosary is for us a special source of peace, and the joy of our heart is even manifested in our countenance.

THE WORLD’S CONTAGION

Should we become “less pure”, even though we do not sink into real sin, we feel a coldness towards Mary; we find it very irksome to say our rosary; the pious practices of others who love her more than we do, appear exaggerated; we leave off some of our accustomed prayers – “we no longer have time for them…”

This condition, if we do not relieve our heart of its encumbrances, cannot remain long a state of innocence… The priest trembles when a soul tells him, “I have ceased to say my rosary.” The rosary is the first prayer one abandons.

It is your care or negligence in reciting it which specially serves as a thermometer to indicate the life of the soul.

A 100% RELIABLE SAFEGUARD

The rosary is more even than all this – it is a “safeguard.” As long as you recite it, despite your weariness, your distaste, your occupations, you will never wander entirely away. You will either cease to say it, or you will end by being touched and frightened; you will be LED to the priest in order to make to him the confession of your faults and commence a new life.

Devotion to Mary is like a beacon-light erected on the road which leads to God. It reassures and encourages; withdraw it, and though you know with certainty where God is, and the road which leads to Him, yet you are timid and have no longer the courage to follow that path.

Thus the devotion to Mary is not a “simple ornament or embellishment” of Catholicism, nor even “a help” among many others, of which we may avail ourselves or not, as we will: it is an integral part of our religion. Jesus Christ deigned to come to us only through Mary. It is through her that we should go to Him. As one seeks the heart’s pulsations in order to assure himself that there is life, so in like manner, in order to find if a soul still lives, seek to discover whether the name of the Blessed Virgin thrills it or is heard with indifference.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WHAT IS TRUE DEVOTION?

There is nothing mysterious about true devotion. It is LOVE, pure and simple. But love is love only insofar as it forgets pure self and becomes absorbed in the will, the good and the glory, and the embrace of the perfect union, of the beloved.

“He must increase, and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30) – this is the expression born of true love.

When people seek themselves in their human relationships or their relationship with God, they feed themselves. Seeking their happiness in the service of others, however, selflessly and without expectation of return, they find quiet, serenity and joy.
When we serve and love ultimately God, rather than allowing our efforts to terminate in ourselves and our fellow men, then we find “the peace that surpasses all understanding”.

“He must increase, and I must decrease”.

 

JESUS CHRIST IS THE LAST END OF DEVOTION TO MARY

Jesus Christ our Saviour, true God and true Man, ought to be the last end of all our other devotions, otherwise they are false and delusive. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end of all things. We labour not, as the Apostle says, except to render every man perfect in Jesus Christ, because it is in Him alone that the whole plentitude of the Divinity dwells together with all the other plentitudes of graces, virtues and perfections. It is in Him alone that we have been blessed with all spiritual benediction; and He is our only Master, who has to teach us; our only Lord, on whom we ought to depend; our only Model, to whom we should conform ourselves; our only Physician, who can heal us; our only Shepherd, who can feed us; our only Way, who can lead us; our only Truth, whom we must believe; our only Life, who can animate us; and our only All in all things, who can satisfy us. There is no other name given under Heaven except the Name of Jesus, by which we can be saved. God has laid no other foundation of our salvation, our perfection or our glory, than Jesus Christ. Every building that is not founded on that firm rock is founded upon the moving sand, and sooner or later will infallibly fall. Every one of the faithful who is not united to Him as a branch to the stock of the vine, shall fall, shall wither, and shall be fit only to be cast into the fire. Outside of Him there exists nothing but error, falsehood, iniquity, futility, death and damnation. But if we are in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is in us, we have no condemnation to fear. Neither the angels of Heaven nor the men of earth nor the devils of Hell nor any other creature can injure us, because they cannot separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ. By Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ, we can do all things; we can render all honour and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost; we can become perfect ourselves, and be to our neighbour a good odour of eternal life.

If then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ.
– from: ‘True Devotion to Mary’; St Louis de Montfort

 

LIVING THE CONSECRATION TO JESUS THROUGH MARY (IV): FOR MARY

(After making the solemn Act of Consecration (see previous posts), St Louis de Montfort definitizes that we are henceforth to work and serve as never before, whilst living with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary to glorify her Divine Son Jesus.)

IV. FOR MARY

Does working for Mary imply acting for her rather than for the Lord, pleasing her and ignoring Him? God forbid!
Mary’s will is completely united to the Will of God. We cannot please her without pleasing Him; we cannot please Him without pleasing her.
The ultimate and final reason for doing all that we do must be to please God, and to unite ourselves to Him. Vast and incomprehensible as is her dignity, the glory of the All is infinitely greater.

GOD IS AND MUST BE THE PRINCIPAL END OF ALL OUR ACTIONS. MARY IS SECONDARY, BUT INSEPARABLY CONNECTED.

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.
And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt 22:37-39)
These are two Commandments, yet in a sense they are one. The first obliges us to love God for His own sake. The second commands us to love our neighbour. But why? On account of his intrinsic worth, totally unrelated to God? Not at all. All that is lovable in man is so simply because it is a reflection of the Divine Excellence. In one case it is God we love in Himself; in the second it is really God we love too, but in His image.

Sometimes it is hard for us to realize that certain individuals are made to the image and likeness of God, so hidden is that likeness under a fearful mask of depravity and corruption. But there is no excuse for our not loving with all the power of our soul, His image as revealed in Our Lady. Always excepting the human nature of her Son, hypostatically united to the Divinity, she is the most glorious masterpiece that has ever proceeded from the hand of God. She is the Mirror of Justice that reflects with dazzling brilliance the Divine Splendour. If we love God we must love Mary, love her as we love no one below her, for her likeness to Him will forever exceed our powers of comprehension. If we love Mary, we must love God, for everything in her that is lovable, as is the case with all the rest of us, is so simply because it reflects the splendour of the Lord, only she is ineffably more perfect a mirror than we are.

It is difficult indeed to love God in His image when that likeness is befouled and besmirched, dim and almost unrecognizable.

By our obedience in doing our best, we perform a great act of love for God. But we simply cannot love one who mirrors only a few of His perfections, and then but poorly, as much as we can one who reflects His glories in uncounted number, and to unspeakable perfection. We cannot love what is not there. By loving Mary as we should love her, we love God in His image as far as it is possible for us to do so.

To do all that we do for God and for Mary, in other words, for Him in Himself and in His image – that is the perfect observance of the First and the Second Great Commandments, and they comprise all the Law and all the Prophets.
– Fr N. A. Norman

 

LIVING THE CONSECRATION TO JESUS THROUGH MARY (III): THROUGH MARY

(After making the solemn Act of Consecration (see previous posts), Louis de Montford definitizes that we are henceforth to work and serve as never before, whilst living with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary to glorify her Divine Son Jesus.)

III. THROUGH MARY

Does a man enter the home of a friend through the window or through an opened door? Does he climb over a wall, or go through an opened gate?
Mary is the Gate of Heaven. Through her the Lord of Heaven came to us; through her He wishes us to return to Him.
It is true we can speak to God directly. Must prayers of love and praise and thanksgiving go through her too, as must prayers of petition?
MUST they? The question rather should be: “Can it be that the peerless Queen herself will speak for me? Will she take my rude, uncouth efforts and present them before His Majesty in a way suited to His magnificence and glory?”
Mary knows His ways: she is His daughter, His Mother, His spouse. She is the Queen of Heaven.

WHAT A PRIVILEGE THAT MARY WILL TAKE OUR CLUMSY EFFORTS AND MAKE THEM WORTHY TO BE SPOKEN TO THE LORD OF HOSTS!

So with all our good works – the Queen enhances and beautifies them before she presents them to the King. We are like children. How many a little boy treasures strange odds and ends, which to his elders are so much rubbish, and would be no suitable present at all! How many a little girl loves devotedly a ragged and nondescript doll that would never belong in the cradle of a prince! If she parted with her treasure to give it to him, it would be a great act of love indeed, but how much better it would be if someone would fix it all up for her like new before it was presented!
That is just what Our Lady does with all the prayers and good works that we send to the Lord our God through her. She purifies them all from the stain of self-love, and of that imperceptible attachment to created things which slips unnoticed into our best actions. As soon as they are in her most pure and fruitful hands, she embellishes our works, adorning them with her own merits and virtues. It is as if a peasant, wishing to gain the friendship and benevolence of the king, went to the queen and presented her with a fruit which was his whole revenue, in order that she might present it to the king. The queen, having accepted the poor little offering from the peasant, would place the fruit on a large and beautiful dish of gold, and so, on the peasant’s behalf, would present it to the king. Then the fruit, however unworthy in itself to be a king’s present, would become worthy of his majesty, because of the dish of gold on which it rested and the person who presented it.”

What an inestimable privilege and blessing! Who can boast that his prayers and good works are perfect? No self-seeking therein, no self-satisfaction, no hidden motives not clear to him but clear to God? If we constantly see people who have faults they never suspect, must we not be apprehensive that the same may be true of us, especially in the eyes of God?
Do we feel ourselves as worthy as Mary to appear before the splendour of His Sanctity and Majesty? Then what should ever hold us back from going TO GOD THROUGH MARY, always and in everything?
– Fr N. A. Norman