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Category Archives: The Devotion to Jesus through Mary

TRUE DEVOTION – THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN A CHEST

TRUE DEVOTION – THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN A CHEST

In 1842, a priest was looking through an old chest in a house in Saint Laurent-sur-Sevre, in France. The priest was a member of the Fathers of the Company of Mary, today commonly called the Montfort Fathers, and the house belonged to the community.

At the bottom of the chest, the priest found a stack of old handwritten pages, yellow with age. The priest took the sheets to his superiors. There were many consultations, many readings, much comparing of handwriting. Finally it was announced that these were two manuscripts which had undoubtedly been written by Father Louis Marie de Montfort, the founder of the community.

A STACK OF OLD HANDWRITTEN PAGES, YELLOW WITH AGE

The Bishop of Lucon authorised the publication of the work, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has since gone through 130 editions and has played a tremendous part in increasing devotion to the Blessed Mother. The other manuscript, The Secret of Mary, is a summary of the True Devotion. 

“YOU ATTACK ME IN VAIN; I STAND BETWEEN JESUS AND MARY.”

Louis Marie de Montfort was born in a little town in Brittany in 1673, the eldest of seventeen children. He was ordained a priest in 1700. Most of his priestly career was devoted to preaching against the heresy of Jansenism which had taken a strong hold in France. In his preaching he constantly taught devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He stressed the fact that she is Mediatrix. In 1716, worn out by his constant labour, he was struck by a fatal illness. Just before he died, he cried out: “You attack me in vain; I stand between Jesus and Mary. I have finished my course. I shall sin no more.”

“THE DEVIL WOULD ENVELOP IT IN THE SILENCE OF A COFFER”

For a long time after his death, De Montfort was almost forgotten. Then, about a century later, discussion of his virtues began. In 1853, Rome decreed his writings to be exempt from all error that could be a bar to his canonisation. He was beatified in 1888 and canonised on July 20, 1947.

Sometime between his ordination in 1700 and his death in 1716, De Montfort wrote True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Secret of Mary. As he wrote he said, “If I thought that my poor blood could help to carry the truths that I write in my dear Mother’s honour to the hearts of men, I would use it instead of ink to form the letters.”

But he foretold that the little book would not come to light for a long time. He said that the devil would “envelop it in the silence of a coffer, in order that it might not appear.” He went on to prophesy that eventually it would appear and that it would be successful. We have seen that these prophecies were fully realised. The manuscript was lost for 126 years, but the book is now widely circulated.

THE BOOK IS NOW WIDELY CIRCULATED

Although St Louis Marie lived and died long before the period covered by this book, he belongs in any study of the Blessed Mother in the modern world.

The True Devotion preached by St Louis Marie was total consecration to the Blessed Virgin. We give her all our earthly possessions, all our thoughts, words, and deeds. Mary exists only to honour God and to serve Him, so when we offer these things to Mary we really offer them to God through Mary. St Louis Marie says that we should make ourselves slaves of Mary. He calls his devotion “the slavery of Jesus in Mary.”

The devotion did not originate with St Louis Marie, but to him must go most of the credit for making it widely known and widely practised. The devotion will be discussed more fully in a later chapter. For the present, we shall confine ourselves to that section of True Devotion which concerns the role of the Blessed Virgin in the modern world. In writing this section, the saint-author seems to have been inspired from heaven, because he looks into the future and tells what is going to happen. Many of the events that are taking place in the world today are more understandable when considered in the light of De Montfort’s words.

“MORE  KNOWN, MORE LOVED AND MORE HONOURED THAN SHE HAS EVER BEEN”

“God wishes that His Holy Mother should be at the present time more known, more loved and more honoured than she has ever been,” St Louis Marie tells us.

This statement helps explain the many manifestations of the Blessed Virgin in the last [centuries] and the great increase in devotion to her. The manuscript of True Devotion was found in 1842. In the twelve years preceding its finding, there had been manifestations of the Blessed Mother at the convent of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, at Blangy, and at the shrine of Our Lady of Victories in Paris. Four years later, our Lady was to appear to children at La Salette. Twelve years later the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception was to be defined. Three years after that our Lady was to appear to Bernadette of Lourdes. And this was only the beginning! Truly, it would seem that God wants his mother more known, more loved, and more honoured than ever before. – Why does God wish this?

“IN MERCY, IN MIGHT, AND IN GRACE”

“It was through Mary 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. But in the second coming… Mary has to be made known and revealed by the Holy Ghost, in order that through her, Jesus Christ may be known, loved and served…”

It was through Mary that our Lord came into the world the first time. It is through her that he will come back to the world. In order to accomplish this, Mary herself must become better known and better loved.

St Louis Marie then elaborates on why God “wishes to reveal and make known the masterpiece of His hands in these latter times:

“It is by her that the souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life, that is Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But no one can find Mary who does not seek her, who does not know her… It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known.

That is a further possible explanation for the many apparitions of the Blessed Virgin that have been taking place since 1830.

FOR THE GREATER KNOWLEDGE AND GLORY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY

St Louis Marie continues: “Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might, and in grace in these latter times.” In mercy, he says, to bring back the strayed sinner. In might, against the enemies of God who shall rise in terrible revolt against Him. In grace, to sustain the soldiers and servants of Christ who shall battle in His service.

He concludes the list of reasons with the following words which seem to have special bearing on the present world situation:

“And lastly Mary must be terrible to the devil and his crew, as an army ranged in battle, principally in these latter times, because the devil, knowing he has but little time, and now less than ever, to destroy souls, will every day redouble his efforts and his combats. He will presently raise up cruel persecutions, and will put terrible snares before the faithful servants and true children of Mary, whom it gives him more trouble to conquer than it does to conquer others.”

One has but to think of the events of the past two centuries and of conditions in our modern world to realise that the devil has indeed been raising up cruel persecutions of the Church and that they have been increasing in intensity. St Louis Marie tells us that these last and cruel persecutions “shall go on increasing daily till the reign of Antichrist.”

With such a powerful enemy ranged against us, the situation would be hopeless if we did not have an even more powerful friend and protector. After the fall of our first parents God said to the serpent: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”

On this point St Louis Marie says: “God has formed… but one enmity, but it is an irreconcilable one, which shall endure and grow even to the end. It is between Mary, his worthy Mother, and the devil – between the children and servants of the Blessed Virgin, and the children and tools of Lucifer.” God has given His Mother such power over the devil, De Montfort tells us, that Satan “fears her not only more than all the angels and men, but in a sense more than God Himself. Not that the anger, the hatred and the power of God are not infinitely greater than those of the Blessed Virgin, for the perfections of Mary are limited, but Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the divine power.

The devils, we are told, fear one of Mary’s sighs for a soul, “more than the prayers of all the saints, and one of her threats against them more than all other torments.”

THE BATTLE HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR CENTURIES 

The battle between the devil and our Blessed Mother has been going on for centuries. It is a battle for souls. The devil is trying to lure all of us into the lowest depths of hell. Mary is trying to lead us to heaven. Today, according to De Montfort, the devil is more active than ever before because he has little time left. As a consequence the Blessed Virgin is making herself better known to us, so that we might resist the devil and enrol on her side. The battle seems to be approaching a great climax.

The saint’s words about Mary’s power over the devil are consoling ones for these trying days. Satan may rage and roar at us. He may persecute us openly or subtly, but he cannot harm us do long as we stay by Mary’s side.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

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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).

 

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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