Clearly the difference is important and this difference gives the True Devotion all its originality. The nature of the baptismal vows and of the Consecration by Mary is the same, but the manner is different; and the surrender of the Holy Slavery adds to the vows, completing, beautifying and perfecting them, their characteristic and distinctive mark, namely: by Mary. Our whole life, with everything that it contains and of which it is composed, is consecrated to Mary, who may dispose of it according to her good pleasure.
The words of Blessed de Montfort then are exact and true: ‘The devotion which I teach is a perfect renewal of the vows and promises of Holy Baptism.’
And we may add with joy and certainty, because we do so with the saints, though not from the same point of view, that the sacrament of baptism and the devotion to Mary are necessary to salvation.
4. Three kinds of Slavery: The Slavery of Love.
Blessed de Montfort holds that the consummation and crown of our duties and of our relation to Jesus Christ is an unconditional belonging to Him and an absolute dependence upon Him which he calls Holy Slavery. In order to attain to it and to remain in it he would have us surrender ourselves to Mary as Jesus did.
‘I have said,’ he writes, ‘that this devotion consists in giving oneself to Mary in the capacity of a Slave.’
‘Such is,’ comments Père Lhoumeau, ‘the nature of this consecration. It places us with regard to Mary and to Jesus in a state of utter and absolute dependence, that is, actually, the state of a slave. But in order to remove from this holy and noble slavery any idea of degradation or tyrannical violence, Blessed de Montfort is careful to explain that it is a voluntary slavery, entirely honorable and loving, with, as its fruit, the liberty of the children of God.’
(To be continued.)