Those who will not work or madly go on strike, reap nothing but poverty, and this is still more true as regards the supernatural life. In this de Montfort means, then, that we must know and use the Blessed Virgin for our sanctification. It is indeed unquestionable that the more we give ourselves up to the influence of Mary, the more we are impregnated with her spirit, the more too we grow in virtue, in perfection, in interior life, and in union with God. The nearer to Mary, the nearer to God. ‘For,’ writes the holy author, ‘my secret would then be but poison to you and tend to your destruction,’ just as a good remedy misused, can be fatal.
This Montfortian secret, which is nothing but the knowledge of an infallible means of sanctification, is a great grace. To have known and accepted it and then to neglect and despise it, is to expose oneself to failure and loss. Whilst the faithful observance of this doctrine is an earnest of God, and a grace perhaps necessary for the salvation of our souls, its neglect is like a draught of poison and risks out eternal future.
The third condition: ‘that you will thank God all the days of your life for the grace He has bestowed on you in teaching you a secret you do not deserve to know.’
This incomparable grace is indeed a gratuitous gift from God whihc the soul must only receive with feelings of lively gratitude and deep humility. Let us then consider the knowledge and the gift of this secret of Mary as a unique example of the Divine generosity, which thus grants us the faculty of sanctifying ourselves with much more certainty, ease, fruit and merit, and of saving ourselves almost certainly, according to the words of S. John Damascene: ‘Devotion to the Blessed Virgin is a mark of predestination.’
This doctrine as a whole and in its details, embraces, inspires, energizes like a divine motive power, without respite and without rest, all the acts and all the moments of our lives, to the end that they may produce their maximum of spiritual result. De Montfort assures us of it and the experience of holy souls who have loved Mary illustrates his attestation.
(To be continued.)