Monthly Archives: October 2011

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LVIII

Finally, it was to Mary that the Holy Ghost said: ‘In electis Meis mitte radices: Strike thy roots, My faithful Spouse, in My elect.’

What is it to strike root?  To take possession, to plant oneself, to bring forth a harvest or a family.

And what was it for Mary to strike root in the elect?  It was to kindle in them the flame of the Christian life by the gift of grace, it was to have power and domination over them, to fill them with her mind, to bring forth among them a race of children, and a harvest of the elect.

Before His Ascension, on the very day, Jesus said to His Apostles, ‘Go ye, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.’

Mary was there.  Doubtless she, who was the Co-Redemptrix and the Mother and who was yet to remain for a while upon earth, doubtless, I say, she repeated the words and the gesture of the Master, her Son: ‘Go!’  But this scene had its climax.  Jesus ascended to Heaven.  For ten days He had been seated in glory at the right hand of His Father.  The Apostles were gathered together in one place.  All with one mind persevered in prayer with some of the women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus and His brethren.  It was the day of Pentecost.  Mary was there in the midst of the faithful group.  And suddenly there came from Heaven a sound as of a mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting, and there appeared to them parted tongues as it were, of fire, upon the head of the Holy Mother of God, which were afterwards distributed and rested upon each of them.  They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.  Now Mary was there.  And tradition, right, piety, all deem that the Holy Ghost descended upon the head of Mary first and that it was she who then distributed Him to the Apostles, to the holy women and to all the brethren present.  It was the official founding of the Church under the presidency of Mary.  And doubtless she must then have repeated the Master’s injunction: ‘Go!  Prepare unto me chosen ones.’  Henceforth to those souls whom the Apostles shall convert and those whom others after them will convert, to those elect whom the Holy Spirit gives her, Mary begins to communicate the grace of which she is the depository, to take her virginal root in them and assert her ownership by her virtues, her mind, her ways, her feelings, by the gift of her whole soul, so that these elect, these children may be like her and at the same time living and perfect iamges of the Head of the Predestinate, Jesus Christ.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LVII

It was to Mary that God the Son said: In Israel hereditare: Dear Mother, let thine inheritance be in Israel, that is to say, in the predestinate.’

Jacob received from God Himself the name of Israel.  For the space of a night, an angel wrestled with him, and could not overcome Him.  He touched Jacob on the sinew of his thigh which shrank and made him halt.  The angel said to Jacob: ‘Let me go, for it is the break of day.’

Jacob answered: “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.’

The Angel said: ‘What is thy name?’  Jacob answered: ‘Jacob.’  Then the angel said: ‘Thy name shall not be called Jacob, but Israel, for if thou hast been strong against God, how much more shalt thou prevail against men?’

This glorious name was to be handed down to Jacob’s posterity, to the people of the covenant.

But alas! this people of the covenant became ungrateful and rebellious, ceaselessly striving against God.  They fought against the messengers of God, they persecuted the prophets, they killed the Son of God.  They spent their life as a nation in struggling against God up to the Easter morning, to the Resurrection from Death, to the dawn of the new dispensation.  The strength and the goodness of God could not win them.  And therefore when on the Easter morning Jesus left the tomb, living and glorious, without having conquered their obstinacy, it was not a blessing which He conferred upon them.  These madmen had said: ‘His blood be upon us and upon our children!’

Their prayer was at once granted, and without pity.  It is no longer the sinew of the thigh which is touched to make them halt, but their mind and their heart.  God blinded their minds and hardened their hearts.  They struggled to the end against God and His Christ.  God and His Christ cursed them and rejected them.

And so on the night of the divine Agony, when this people who were to kill their God uttered their cry of revolt, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us,’ Jesus in the bitterness of His soul, but also in full accomplishment of the divine plan, rejecting for a space this people who were a figure, turned to His Mother and said: ‘These find My words too hard and My yoke too heavy.  They go away with curses on their lips.  I let them depart into their iniquity with the divine vengeance and malediction upon them till the day when the scales shall fall from their eyes.  But lift up thy eyes round about and see: all these are gathered together, they are come to thee; thy sons shall come from afar and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side.  Then shalt thou see and abound and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged.’

Who are these who come thus from every side, to my Calvary and to thy Heart?  They are those whom I am redeeming now, the Church which comes from My side, pierced by the soldier’s spear, and in the Christian Church, all the predestinate.  Enter into this new and more wonderful heritage.’

And Mary accepted.

(To be continued.)

 

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LVI

9. Because Mary must dwell in the predestinate.

We have arrived at a trilogy of thoughts which often recur life a refrain in the writings of Blessed de Montfort.  It is the theme of the relationship of the Blessed Virgin to the three divine Persons.  Elsewhere the holy writer describes what is rather passive action of Mary with regard to the Blessed Trinity, that is to say, her formation by the three divine Persons.  Blessed Louis here explains the active part given by them to Mary in souls, that she should dwell in them and prepare them for the reign of God.

It is for Mary,’ he says, ‘that God the Father said: In Jacob inhabita: Daughter, let thy dwelling by in Jacob, that is, in my elect typified by Jacob.’

We all know the beautiful story of Jacob and Rebecca explained by Père de Montfort in his Treatise of the True Devotion.

Isaac is a figure of the Eternal Father; Rebecca of Mary; Jacob of the predestinate; Esau of the rejected.  We desire the paternal blessing.  Mary, like Rebecca, will see to this.

Jacob, as his Hebrew name signifies, is a supplanter.  For a mess of red pottage, Esau sells him his birthright.  Thanks to his mother’s skill, Jacob actually supplants Esau in the paternal heritage.

Jacob prefigures the Gentiles; Esau the Jews.  Thanks to Mary’s skill, the pagan nations come into the inheritance of the Jewish people, and supplant them in the Church, the inheritance and mystical Body of Christ.

Later on Jacob and Esau are reconciled in the love and with the blessing of Isaac and Rebecca.  In the end of time, Christians and Jews will be reconciled, united, will love each other, in the same faith in Christ and the same devotion to Mary.

Jacob prefigures true Christians, children of grace and of Mary; Esau, false Christians, children of wrath and of Belial.

These true Christians, these predestinate, are supplanters.  Mary dwells in them, inspires them, directs them, makes them succeed.  Thanks to her diligence, they supplant the children of this world, obtain the paternal benediction of God and enter into possession of the celestial heritage.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LV

And so it is,’ concluded Blessed de Montfort, ‘that as the child draws all its nourishment from its mother who gives to it in proportion to its weakness, the elect also draw all their spiritual nourishment and all their strength from Mary.’  A beautiful comparison which illustrates in an admirably concrete manner the maternal function of Mary.  Take the child; there are two ways of nourishing it.  The first is that in which the mother for some reason that seems to her sufficient and necessary confides it to a nurse.  The second, indubitably in every way the best, the noblest, the worthiest and the most natural, is that in which the mother herself nourishes her child.  Then the child, according to its capacity, really draws all its food, its substance and its life from its mother.

Are there various ways of living the Christian life, interior, supernatural, religious, sacerdotal, of sanctifying oneself, of arriving at our particular degree of perfection?  Yes, doubtless, but remember that in this case, as Blessed Louis says elsewhere, ‘it will be by many crosses and persecutions.’  Let us also remember that even so, it is impossible to escape from the influence of Mary, God’s chosen Treasurer and Dispenser of all graces, in a word, the universal Mediatrix between Jesus and us.

No saint, whoever became one, sanctified himself without the intervention of the Blessed Virgin.  The best training for the interior life, the best school of sanctification, is Mary’s.  Then this good Mother, having born us into the Christian life, herself undertakes to furnish us with our spiritual food, to make us grow speedily in strength and supernatural health.  For this purpose, she communicates to us, identifies with us, her intentions, her feelings, her inclinations, her aspirations, her desires, her virtues, her merits.  She gives to us of the love of her Heart, the light of her Soul.  She shows herself as a true Mother, our Mother, distributing to us food for our need, help for our weakness, and always at the right moment and on the most suitable occasions.

Sometimes she seems strong and vigorous with souls who are hardy, bearing them as the mother eagle bears her little ones, to contemplate the Sun of all-holiness, feeding them with the generous wine of crosses and sacrifices.  Sometimes she seems tender and gracious with natures whose will is good but who are weak and timid; these she takes by the hand, tempers the trial according to their strength, and measures grace according to their needs, feeding them with the milk that we give to young children.

Such a one is a Mother, and this is Mary’s way of training souls.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LIV

Blessed de Montfort quotes here a very beautiful and consoling thought of S. Augustine who says ‘that all the predestinate are in the womb of Mary and that they are not born until their good Mother brings them forth into life eternal.’

Thus then before even entering on the life of this world the predestinate are spiritually conceived, carried, hidden in the womb of Mary and when she sees fit, according to the divine will, she brings us forth to the life of grace, the conditions and prelude of the life of glory.

Blessed Louis thinks the same when he says that we were with Jesus at the time of the Annunciation, of the Nativity, and of His life at Nazareth, in Judea and on Calvary.  We were with Jesus in the mind and heart of Mary and it is thanks to her that God deigns to call to us, each in our hour, to the Christian’s glorious life.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LIII

But in the town of flowers, beneath the flat roof of the holy home, in which the hard-working youth of the unknown Savior came to maturity, in the sweet shadow of the authority of Mary and Joseph, God saw pressing forward out of time and space and round the First-Born, the Divine Brother, beneath the same outspread wings, a multitude that none can number of other children.  Qui sunt isti?  Who are these?  The children of men who have become the children of God, the sons of wrath and sin, now the sons of love and grace, redeemed by Jesus and now engendered by Mary.  And for them too, God laid in the heart of the universal Mother treasures of tenderness and love, a marvelous vocation for Motherhood, the gentle authority of a Queen ‘to nourish them and make them grow in God.’

If there is in the child’s heart a natural instinct which urges and casts it irresistibly into the mother’s arms, there is also in the mother’s heart a feeling of tenderness, love, devotion, untiring, disinterested, constant, fierce, sublime, inexhaustible, braving fatigues and dangers, ever growing and rising sometimes to the wildest extravagances, to the most tragic and poignant heroisms.

Now if this natural love of the child and the mother is so strong, what must we say of the supernatural love drawn by grace from the heart of God?

Mysterious and yet actual wonder: there is from his baptism in the heart of every Christian, a mysterious love for Mary.  It is the inborn impulse of the Christian soul which explains this natural need of a Mother.  And just as the child as soon as its little lips begin to move utters that word so sweet in every tongue, because it is the first cry of the heart, Mother; even so the child of God, conscious of his supernatural rank, says to God, ‘Our Father Who art in Heaven,’ and thus the child of Mary instinctively gives her this name, for him a reassuring caress, ‘My Mother, who are in Heaven.’

But reciprocally in view of her future functions, God has concentrated in Mary’s heart a unique ineffable love, composed of all tenderness, goodness, devotion, energy, potentiality.

‘Throw, if you can,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘all the natural love which all the mothers of the world have for their children into the one heart of one mother for one only child.  Surely that mother will love that child immensely.  Nevertheless it is true that Mary loves her children yet more tenderly than that mother would love that child of hers.’  Yes, this love is supremely beautiful and incomparably superior because it draws its ardor and its power from the infinite Home of all love, from the very Heart of God Who created it and whom she bore.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LII

8. Because it is Mary’s office to nourish souls and make them grow in God.

Mary,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘has received from God a special dominion over souls in order to nourish them and make them grow in God.’  There is in this sentence an astonishingly rich and suggestive synthesis of the part Mary was to play.

This power over souls comes to her from her spiritual Maternity and is founded on the function of human mothers with regard to their children.  The reason of Mary’s power over souls come to her then from her rank of spiritual Mother.

Blessed de Montfort then lays down a definite principle which he deduces by means of logic from the place occupied by Mary in the scheme of Redemption.  In order to form in her, in all its perfection, the adorable Body of the Savior, God lavished upon her all graces, knowledge, power.  And she was thus able to fit the Son of God, Who was at the same time hers, with a perfect Body which made Him ‘the fairest of the children of men.’  In order to bring up Jesus, God gave Mary a heart loving above all things, a fair and enlightenend understanding, a maternal soul.  He made of her the model Woman, the ideal Mother, of whom the valiant woman of the Bible was but an inadequate figure.

(To be continued.)

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