‘Carrying the gold of love in their hearts’. An ardent love of God and our neighbor. Here we should realize that God may only want us to exercise that love practically in a very limited circle throughout our life. We have the example of St. Therese of the Child Jesus burning with love for God and her neighbor yet confined to the four walls of the Carmelite convent of Lisieux. She lavished that charity on those who lived with her. Therefore although Montfort is speaking of Apostles, we should not be taken up with the idea of traveling to the four corners of the earth, but apostles doing the will of Mary wherever she wants us to be, and doing what she wants us to do. It is by this ardent love of God and the practical love of our neighbor for the sake of God that we can bring down untold graces on others.
One way of progressing in this spirit of charity is to accustom ourselves to offering Mary everything in the following way. We offer to her the faculties of our soul.
A) the memory: By this we tell Our Lady that we wish to refrain from reflecting deliberately on matters or occasions which could cause us to think or speak uncharitably. Whenever we are tempted to think on past happenings that are apt to get us ‘worked-up’, we should make that short prayer to Mary: ‘I offer you my memory’. We offer her our memory so that we may not look back in bitterness on any person or occasion that upset us or hurt our pride.
B) the understanding: We ask Our Lady to help us to judge charitably. That we may never judge rashly the actions of our neighbor. Therefore we offer her our understanding that we might see things as she would see them.
C) the will: We must want to think charitably. We must want to be charitable. Therefore in offering our will to Our Lady we must strive to act towards others as she herself would act.
We offer her our bodily faculties.
A) speech: We offer her our God-given power of speech in order to express the thoughts of charity which we have in our mind and the desire of charity which we have in our will.
B) hearing: That we will not listen willingly to unkind things said of others.
C) sight: That we will not take pleasure in seeing the discomfort or unhappiness of others.
D) touch: That we may use the gift of our hands to be of service to others.
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Priests must be ever mindful that the faithful will follow them in devotion to Mary. If their devotion is mediocre that of the faithful will be mediocre too. If, on the other hand, theirs is white-hot, so likewise will be that of the faithful.
And if their devotion to Mary is white-hot, satan will be opposed by the greatest barrier preventing him from taking possession of those souls.
As priests let us ask ourselves: ‘What are we doing about devotion to Mary? Is it mediocre? Have we a real interest in a living devotion to Mary? Are we convinced that Mary must be placed before the faithful as the great means of grace and of overcoming satan?’ ‘To enkindle everywhere the fires of Divine Love.’ That will come about, says Montfort, with the practice of the Holy Slavery. Of course every priest wants the Kingdom of Christ to be advanced in the hearts of all. St. Louis-Marie is here offering us the means of hastening that hour. But his devotion to Mary is no catch-phrase. Here he brings before us the hard, unvarnished truth of the Cross. That and that only is the perfect way of Mary!
It is the archer who directs the arrow, and the arrow will only attain the target insofar as it follows the aim and direction that has been given to it by the archer. We have to leave ourselves in the hand of Mary to be directed by her. We must be willing to serve her in any place at all. Once we start seeking our own will in the service of God then we are not leaving ourselves in the hands of Mary, and we are not being directed by her. This is a question of Mary’s spirit of obedience; it must be dominant in us.
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‘This will doubtless come to pass if, with the grace and light of the Holy Ghost, the predestinate enter into the interior and perfect practice which I shall later unfold.’ Obviously if a person seriously undertakes St. Louis-Marie’s devotion to Mary then she is bound to be more known, loved and honored by that person. But there is something very important that we should note here. St. Louis-Marie foresees the Apostles of the Latter Times. That very point is something that has often been seized upon by writers (some with acknowledgement to St. Louis-Marie!) but let us not overlook what Montfort says:
‘If, with the grace and light of the Holy Ghost, the predestinate enter into the interior and perfect practice which I shall later unfold.’ Therefore according to him these future Apostles will be slaves of Mary.
This is something we should never forget. It is completely wrong to adopt Montfort’s ideas on the Apostles of the Latter Times and to have no regard for his teaching of the Holy Slavery to Our Blessed Lady. It is pointless merely to say that these souls will be exceptional in their devotion to Our Lady. According to Montfort they will be slaves of the Blessed Virgin. This devotion to Mary is to be the particular stamp of these Apostles. It is to be the ‘raison d’etre’ of their very being – raised up by God as slaves of the Blessed Virgin. Since St. Louis-Marie expresses himself so clearly, there can be no doubt in our minds as to what he visualized in those future Apostles of Mary. ‘They will perceive the grandeur of this Queen and will consecrate themselves entirely to her service, as subjects and Slaves of Love.’
The Immaculate Way
Could we imagine God not wanting His Mother more known, loved and honored? Every act of love of Mary resounds to the glory of God. Her life in heaven is one continuous Magnificat, a perpetual song of praise. For every act of love offered to Mary, God is receiving greater praise from her. Mary shows the purpose of creation – that God may be glorified in His creatures. As God created us solely for His external glory and our own happiness, everything that resounds to that glory will be welcomed by Him. Thus Montfort excels himself in his prophecy of the Apostles of the Latter Times, because they shall give the greatest glory to God by glorifying Him in His most resplendent creature, Mary. Like an army in battle array they shall stand in the reflected glory of Our Lady and share in her God-given power in crushing the head of satan.
As the first prophecy of Revelation ‘I shall place enmities between thee and the woman’ has to be fulfilled throughout the ages, it means that God Who uttered that prophecy, is, in His infinite and divine Wisdom bringing it about throughout the ages. Consequently He is bringing Our Lady more and more before the minds of men. No wonder then that He will want her more known, more loved and more honored than she has ever been by mankind. It is all part of the plan of God that Mary is to come forth like the rising sun over the world, gradually taking possession of the hearts of men – of their souls – because that is the kingdom in which satan is to be crushed and conquered.
The soul of man is the battleground. Therefore Mary must be brought to men, that they may know her & love her and honor her and through her allow Christ their King and Savior to rule over them. Thus we can understand de Montfort’s thought that God, in raising up His saints, will raise up people of tremendous devotion to the Immaculate Mother of His Divine Son. They will be the elite of His army in crushing satan.
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How can we expect Our Lady to guard us against satan when we are leaving a door deliberately open for him to enter? As it were, we are in the ridiculous position of being on our knees before Our Lady asking her to preserve us from satan while at the same time keeping the door ajar for him!
‘She will always unmask his serpent’s cunning, she will expose his infernal plots, she will scatter to the winds his devilish counsels and to the end of time will safeguard her faithful servants from his cruel claw.’ The devil will try all ways to lead us from the path of perfection. He is a past master in the fine art of keeping out of sight so that we do not even sense that he is there. But if we are seriously devoted to Mary she will enlighten us. For example the devil will tempt us into disobedience, but not directly. He will suggest to us the faults of those in authority and thus undermine our spirit of faith. Again, he will tempt us to spiritual pride by showing us the weaknesses of others, tempting us to consider ourselves better than them. Our Lady helps us to see those traps in time and thus avoid falling into them.
First and foremost this must be done in our own soul. It is no good visualizing the world being brought to the feet of Christ if we neglect ourselves. We must hesitate at nothing in order to give Mary full power over us in crushing the head of satan.
The Immaculate Way
Tomorrow is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Here is a great book on how to prepare for Holy Communion in union with Mary.
‘Mary saved by obedience.’ Obviously then that should be the ideal of our life – absolute and perfect conformity to the Will of God. And no matter what it asks from us. After all, whom do we obey when we disobey the Will of God? That arch-enemy of God and Mary, satan. We should determine to ensure that in every action of ours we obey only one voice, that of the Immaculate Mother of God so that we may obey Her Son the more perfectly.
We could meditate profitably on this passage of St. Louis-Marie. Here is a test as to whether our consecration to Mary is meaningless or not. What is our reaction to the spirit of the world? How do we think and speak when we know something is being done against the Will of God? Are we afraid at times to show our disapproval or do we allow our silence to be taken as a tacit approval? Are there not times when we approve by our words when we know that what is being done is wrong? Would Our Lady act or speak as we do in such circumstances? It is rather strange that some people who wish to be devout are timid when such practical occasions present themselves. They have their principles, but are afraid to act or speak on them. What sort of love of God is this where He is sacrificed to human respect? Although we say we love Him, we are afraid to stand by Him! What is our reaction when the spirit of Christ is ignored by others? In other words we are afraid to suffer in the cause of right, even if it be only from a mild form of bantering!
The Immaculate Way