‘The second consists in having for the Blessed Virgin a more complete feeling of reverence, love, trust, and veneration. It causes us to join Confraternities of the Holy Rosary, of the Scapular, to say part or the whole of the Holy Rosary, to honor the statues and altars of Mary, to publish her praise, to join her Communities.’
‘All these devotions,’ observes Père Lhoumeau, ‘only ask from the faithful part of their time and certain practices of piety.’
It is a devotion, I would say, which clings to Mary as it were by the externals of the mysteries, as a little child grasps a fold of its mother’s dress. It mainly makes use of exterior practices. Doubtless, this devotion leads to the love, honor, service, and imitation of the Blessed Virgin. But to tell the truth, if we are not careful, if we leave it at that, we stay in the hall. It does not take us through meditation and its effects into Mary’s inner life and heart.
It is not in entire agreement with the thought of God in His conduct, past and present, with regard to Mary. It does not make us imitate in its deepest sense Jesus living in Mary.
However, Montfort takes good care, and so do we, not to blame, depreciate, or reject such a practice. It is a devotion honored by the practice of a number of very pious souls. ‘And this devotion,’ he says, ‘if we abstain from sin, is good, holy, and praiseworthy.’ Nevertheless, following up his thoughts, and marking plainly its inferiority, he hastens to add: ‘But it is not so perfect as the following, not so capable of withdrawing souls from creatures and detaching them from themselves in order to unite them to Jesus Christ.’ The one he proposes, indeed, embraces all our life, takes utter possession of our souls, detaches us from ourselves and from all creatures, and makes us live the life of Jesus in Mary.
(To be continued.)