The way of Christ will always be the way of the Cross. There is no other way of finding Him. The way of Mary is also the way of the Cross. But she who was with Jesus on Calvary will remove all doubts and temptations when the Cross comes to us. That is what Montfort means in this passage. With Mary we shall always have a guide on that hard road of sanctification. We shall not be relying on our own sense of direction, but following the shining light of Mary. The great grace of this devotion is that it enlightens the mind and brings peace of soul.
Montfort emphasizes the important point that devotion to Mary is not a way of by-passing the Royal Road of the Cross. This way is only ‘easy’ in the sense that we are helped to bear the Cross and that with Our Lady we are sure we are on the right road. Montfort does not mean that we attain to Jesus without any exertions on our part… Nobody can attain deep union with God without great suffering. It is Mary who reveals to us what suffering really is. We give ourselves to Mary that she will help us to understand the mind of Christ. ‘Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.’ If we have completely the mind of Christ then we are not afraid of the truth which is the Cross. We want Mary to form Christ perfectly in us. She cannot do that unless we are prepared to accept the Cross and unite ourselves with it as Our Blessed Lord did.
In her life on earth Our Lady was so intimately united with the sufferings of her Divine Son that she is bound to lead us that way herself. It is the only way she knows. We could apply to her those words written of the Woman of the Apocalypse: ‘Crying out as she travailed in great pain of her delivery.’ In the spiritual sense, Mary, who had become the spiritual Mother of the Mystical Body at the Incarnation, brought forth her spiritual child on Calvary. As every mother loves her child partly because of the pain she undergoes for it at its birth, so likewise Mary loves tenderly her spiritual children because of the terrible agony and anguish of mind she underwent when they were born anew through the death of her Divine Son on the Cross.
We should often meditate on the sufferings which Our Lady offered in union with her Divine Son. Our love for Mary must always go back to the Cross. The remembrance of Mary’s suffering joined with the infinite value of the suffering of Our Blessed Lord will make us realize that to bring souls to the life of grace, then we too must share in that suffering. We can understand why St. Louis-Marie insists that the Cross will be specially offered to those who are devoted to Mary. His own life is a proof of that. A thing is appreciated if it costs a price. Mary teaches us that all our suffering can be united with that of Jesus in order to save souls. She teaches us to want the Cross in order to obtain priceless graces for others.
Our love of the Cross will always be the proof of our love of Jesus. The more the cross comes into our life the more consoled we should be. It means in practical reality we are getting closer to Jesus, closer to His dereliction and to the ‘emptying of ourselves’. This desire for the Cross will lead us on to the purest love for Christ in which there will be no desire for any favor or consolation beyond the privilege of sharing in His desolation on Calvary.
‘It is quite true that the most faithful servants of the Blessed Virgin, being her greatest favorites, receive from her the greatest graces and favors from heaven, which are crosses.’ Could we be really devoted to Mary without wanting a share in her suffering? It is through living with Mary that we learn to carry the Cross in her spirit. The Cross will come to all who wish to follow Christ. The closer we get to Christ, the greater will be our share in His suffering. It is our devotion to Mary that will be the source of our strength and make us capable of carrying such crosses.
The Immaculate Way