Self-knowledge is a most important asset. St. Louis-Marie desired that before anyone tool up this devotion to Mary he should spend at least one week in praying that the Holy Ghost will enlighten him on knowledge of self. ‘That they may know themselves’ – and how necessary that is if one is to be faithful to God.
‘Of this I am certain that no principle of good dwells in me, that is, in my natural self’ [Rom. 7:18].
There is no reason to be disheartened. There is nothing wrong in knowing the truth. It is when we realize how sinful we are, we also realize how miserable we must be in the eyes of God. We can then ask ourselves: ‘What cause have we for pride?’
It is when we examine Montfort’s writings in this way that we see how logical he is in his devotion to Mary. By the Holy Slavery we give everything to Mary so that what we have may not be ruined by pride. But in realizing our nothingness, our utter inability to do anything supernaturally good, we ask Mary to tend the vineyard of our soul. We beseech her to embellish it with her virtues and graces, so that God, looking into our soul, will not see the wild grapes of pride, but the fruit of true humility.
We are absolutely nothing in the sight of God. Every grace we have has been obtained for us by the Passion of Christ Our Lord. Just think for a moment that it took the Son of God Himself to obtain for us even the smallest grace. We could not give ourselves the grace to say as a supernatural act ‘Lord Jesus’ without God’s help. We could not raise ourselves from the least habits of venial sin of ourselves or by ourselves. It took the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Passion and Death of the Son of God for us to do that. It would be a good thing to make the Stations of the Cross, reflecting at each station: ‘Jesus, it took all this from You, for me to be able to say, “I love You”.’ Who then are we that we should think of ourselves as anything before God?
The Immaculate Way