‘I confide it to you,’ he says, ‘by the Holy Ghost on conditions: I. That you do not communicate it except to those whom prayers, alms, mortifications, persecutions, detachment and zeal for the salvation of souls render worthy of it.’ Père Lhoumeau makes the following remark: ‘These words show the esteem in which Blessed de Montfort held this Devotion. Are there not secrets in every art and craft held in reserve for those capable of appreciating them and of making use of them? In the same way this secret of sanctity should be confided only to those anxious to attain to perfection. And so, obedient to the injunction of Our Lord against desecration of holy things, Blessed Grignion reserves this devotion with a jealous care that is, in reality, only the respect due to a gift of God.’
A secret is a thing known to the few and the initiated and only entrusted to one who has been tested and tried, who will know how to keep the door of his lips. As regards the spiritual life the secret of Montfort is even such a one. He would not have divulged it to those who do not merit it by a fundamentally Christlike life, borne out by their actions. What he requires is the perfect life, at least an earnest striving after it.
The second condition is: ‘That you make use of it to become holy and heavenly, for this secret becomes great only in proportion to the use a soul makes of it.’ The secret of de Montfort is a secret of holiness. There are people who possess gifts or who know secrets of nature for curing a certain disease, for manufacturing a certain perfume or a certain liqueur. The doctrinal recipe of Blessed de Montfort is a secret of sanctification.
“In order to be faithful to God always and to do His will in everything.”
‘Whoever,’ he says in the Treatise of the True Devotion, ‘desires to advance in the way of perfection, let him embrace with all his heart this devotion to the Blessed Virgin which, till now, he had perhaps not known. Let him enter upon this excellent way which was unknown to him and which I shall show him.’
But he wants us to use this secret: what would it profit a man to have discovered a secret if he did not make use of it to enrich himself or others? The more he uses it, the more he will appreciate its advantages.
And it is the same with The Secret of Mary. ‘Beware, therefore,’ says de Montfort, ‘of standing idle with your arms folded.’
It shall profit you little. Such idlers have never grown rich.
(To be continued.)