‘She frees us from weariness, sadness and scruples,’ three ills only too familiar, alas! to those who thirst for liberty and to those imperfect souls who do not live in Mary and therefore not in God.
Yes, those who are happy in this artificial world are always sad underneath, because their hearts remain empty, lonely and unsatisfied, unappeased by the meager, monotonous and harmful food with which they are fed. Ah! surely, the immortal complaint of S. Augustine is inexorably true: ‘Our heart is always restless until it rests in God.’
The imperfect soul, with its thin coating of virtue, is ever restless, first because it feels clearly that it is not faithful to its duty, and then too, beneath the avenging tooth of remorse, it feels the restless, anguished awakening of conscience till it sometimes utters cries of fear. (It is not a question here of scruples, which are a disease of the soul but not a sign of unfaithfulness to grace.) We are concerned with the deliberate and willful unfaithful, who know not fidelity and who, as a result, do not taste the deep and wonderful joy which God promises and lavishes upon those who love Him and who are consistently faithful to Him.
But the slave of love, fervent and faithful, tastes and enjoys in Mary content, quiet, peace and joy.
‘It was this devotion that Our Lord taught to Mother Agnes of Jesus, a Dominican nun, as a sure means of deliverance from the intense sufferings and interior trials in which she found herself. Make thyself My Mother’s slave,” He said to her. She obeyed, and in that moment her troubles vanished.’
‘This example of Mother Agnes,’ says Père Lhoumeau, ‘shows that this remedy is not to be recommended only to timid experienced souls, who through want of spiritual formation have become scrupulous or faint-hearted. It can be used with similar success by the most advanced whom God purifies by interior trials.’
This devotion commits us to an absolute surrender to Mary. It brings into practice that obedience which is the most necessary virtue to scrupulous souls. If such souls can only surrender themselves sufficiently to Mary, they will receive great knowledge, a clearer vision and a more just, a greater breadth of ideas. By degrees Mary will bring them out of these exaggerated, unreasonable fears which cramp their trust, check their eagerness, paralyze their efforts, cast a shadow of unrest, unease and discontent upon their slightest acts, even on those which are holiest and most of sanctification. The surrender to Mary will give them true liberty while dilating their consciences in trust and filial love. Then they will be able to accomplish acts more useful and more meritorious.
‘To authorize this devotion I would have to refer here to all the Bulls and Indulgences of the Popes and the Pastorals of Bishops in its favor, to the Confraternities established in its honor, the example of many saints and great personages who have practiced it. But all this I pass over in silence.’
(To be continued.)