Monthly Archives: September 2011

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXVII

4. To find this grace, it is necessary to find Mary.

De Montfort knew this way, and taught it, but for the moment he is not thinking of this nor is he discussing it.  He is seeking something else which shall contain all ways and facilitate them.

The important thing therefore is to find an easy means of obtaining from God the grace which is necessary to enable us to become saintsIt is this I wish to teach you.’  It is what he calls his secret.  ‘Now,’ he announces, ‘I say that to find this grace of God, it is necessary to find Mary.’

‘It is this means of finding the grace of God,’ remarks Père Lhoumeau, ‘that characterizes the devotion of Blessed de Montfort and makes it a special form of spiritual life.’

To find grace, we must find Mary, for Mary only has found the fullness of grace.  ‘Invenisti gratiam apud Deum.’  Let us examine how Mary found grace with God.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXVI

3. For the practice of Virtue, grace is necessary.

And de Montfort adds: ‘To practice these means of salvation and holiness, the grace of God is absolutely necessary.  No one can doubt that sufficient grace is given to each one in a greater or less degree.’  Everybody knows that the channels of grace are the sacraments, that prayer is also an efficacious and habitual means of obtaining grace; that God always grants to all sufficient grace to save themselves, but that there are in addition gratuitous and particular graces, which He grants to certain souls in view of a special vocation.

Grace is necessary.  God grants it to all who ask for it and merit it.  The wrong lies in not corresponding to it and conforming our will and acts to it.

Blessed Louis adds further: ‘I say, in a greater or less degree, for though God in His infinite goodness gives sufficient grace to each one, He does not give to all in equal measure,’ either because this gift is not part of His plan or because the soul does not deserve it.

The faithful soul with great grace performs a great act and with less grace a lesser act.  On the value and excellence of this grace bestowed by God and corresponded with by the soul depend the value and excellence of our actions.  These principles are incontestable.’

From the union then of divine grace and personal correspondence is derived that moral sanctity which God crowns in Heaven.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXV

Continual prayer, the sine intermissione orare, is the habit of recourse to God, and not continual prayer as such, which is impossible.  Understood thus, all the life of man, with the whole sum of thoughts, words and actions which it contains, becomes a perpetual prayer, a sacrifice constantly offered to God, a sacred fire which ever burns through the constant tending of the soul to God.  And so it must be if we wish our whole life to have efficacious value, deserving of future reward.

Mortification in all things.  As long as we are on the way we must struggle.  Temptation is ever near.  Ceaselessly the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour.  The powers of our soul are fallible, our physical senses are fragile, our passions are always awake.  Hence the constant necessity for vigilance and mortification.  There is no more frequent charge in the Gospel.  To conquer we must strive, mortify ourselves, bear our cross.  No one escapes it.  Since original sin came among us, the obligation to fight and to renounce is a constant one.  Who has not been through this painful and sanctifying experience?  It is by suffering that we enter into glory.

Abandonment to Divine Providence.  Let us remember that God is a Father and that He never leaves one of His creatures in need.  And why would He thus leave a child whom He calls to the supernatural order of grace and glory?

And conformity to the will of God.  God ordains or permits everything.  He who lives by faith understands the immense advantage in conforming in everything to the most holy will of God.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXIV

Blessed de Montfort points out some of those means which are at once the result of the efforts of our will and of the supernatural multiplication of our acts.

They are,’ he says, ‘humility of heart, continual prayer, mortification in all things, abandonment to Divine Providence and conformity to the will of God.’

The mind which pushes each of these terms to its utmost limit will draw from them much luminous and suggestive meaning.  De Montfort had weighed them well.  In their daily practice and in their application to everything which constitutes our moral and supernatural life, we do indeed find the most propitious means for edifying and sanctifying our souls.

‘Humility of Heart.’  Every material edifice, every spiritual work needs a foundation.  Humility is the foundation of all the virtues.  If faith is the foundation of the truths which we must believe, humility is the foundation of all the virtues which we must practice.  And we must bear in mind that in order to practice definite virtue, we must first humble ourselves, our intelligence, our will, our judgment, our heart, our body: charity, faith, obedience, gentleness, patience, work, mortification, etc.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXIII

The Church has made this doctrine of sanctification and salvation hers.  The Doctors and Masters of the spiritual life have made of it an invincible Code, a sovereign means of sanctification for souls.  Their teaching is a doctrine complete, definite, fixed, determined, sacred, sacred on account of its origin, its object and its end, which is God.  It is a universal doctrine addressed to all, to the learned and the simple, to small and great, rich and poor, to every age and class and rank and state.  It is a doctrine which makes its appeal to all the faculties, the intelligence, the will, the heart.  It satisfies all needs, all aspirations, all demands.  It embraces everything, mysteries divine and mysteries human.  It solves all problems, reads all riddles, answers all questions.  It is for time and eternity.

It tells us what God is, whence we are and whither we are bound.  It tells us what we must do and avoid, that virtue will be rewarded and wrongdoing punished.  Relying upon these promises, man walks safely and sleeps peacefully because he knows that God does not deceive, that His word is true and that over his grave will throb the certainty of a glorious and immortal awakening.

It was by following this code of doctrine that the saints sanctified themselves.  Outside it, we have ethics, natural, variable, limited; not perfection, divine, true, meritorious.

It was not by following the philosophical teaching of Plato, of Confucius, of Mahomet, of Averroes, or of our modern philosophers that the saints of every rank have climbed the ladder of perfection; it was by following the evangelical doctrine preached by the Saviour and taught by the Church.  It is needless to add that this same doctrine is ‘necessary to everyone who desires to attain salvation and to arrive at perfection.’

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXII

The means of attaining salvation and holiness,’ says de Montfort, ‘are known to all.  They are mentioned in the Gospel, explained by the Masters of the spiritual life, practiced by the saints, and are necessary to everyone who desires to attain salvation.’  When the Son of God on the day of the Incarnation descended into the most pure womb of Mary, He brought with Him a religion which has regenerated the world.  He preached the Gospel.  The Gospel is a body of doctrine capable of satisfying intelligences and wills however eager for supernatural wisdom or moral perfection.  The most exacting thinkers in their most profound and sagacious investigations have not exhausted the wealth of ideas in its seams or the meaning, sublime and ever new, with which its mine is fraught.

Saints of the most exalted virtue have yet to mount the boundless heights of which it teaches.  The Gospel, then, is able to satisfy those most exacting as to doctrine and perfection.

For three years the Savior preached this doctrine of divine knowledge and supernatural holiness; to an amazed world He showed virtues which were ldeal, new, attractive.  He taught ceaselessly a sublime, consoling doctrine, so strong that the finest minds quailed before it, so luminous that the boldest conceptions of human reason paled in its light, so moral that it was to transform the world, and be the means by which material being could rise to the dizzy heights of sanctity.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXI

Blessed de Montfort asks the leading question: ‘Soul, what will you do?  What means will you employ to mount up to where God is calling you?’

Let not the soul, called by God Himself to holiness and salvation, fall into anxiety or discouragement.  The Divine Wisdom which appoints our end, furnishes us at the same time with the means of reaching it.  God, Who has placed in our heart of hearts imperious aspirations, the certainty of survival, the eager hope of a happiness at once consoling and satisfying, has given us at the same time the means to satisfy them.

(To be continued.)

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