Monthly Archives: February 2012

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CL

But God, knowing our needs and wishing that we should make them know to Him, has determined official means for the obtaining of the graces which shall meet them.

By Holy Baptism, He makes us a free gift of the first grace which purifies our souls and makes them just and pleasing in His sight, so that they become His dwelling place.

But there are a number of other graces which will be precious, useful, necessary, in the normal course of our spiritual life.  God has promised us and always grants us grace sufficient for our salvation, but we must ask Him for it; we must ask Him especially for those graces which are indispensable for our growth in perfection and our union with the supreme Holiness.  And the usual means is prayer.

How much more effectual will our supplications be, if we make them through Mary.  And besides, even if we do not actually pray through Mary, it is none the less true that the graces which are distributed to us, have, all the same, passes through this divine and necessary channel.  Supported by the honor and the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin, they are almost infallibly certain to be heard.  It is the teaching of S. Bernard and Blessed de Montfort.  Has not Montfort sung in the quaint phrase of the seventeenth century:

‘Je vas par Jésus à son Père,

                        Et je n’en suis point rebuté;

Je vas à Jésus par sa Mère,

                        Et je n’en suis point rejeté.’

Those are the two steps to be climbed: Jesus Who leads to the Father, by redemption; Mary who leads to Jesus, by intercession.  Begin with Mary as Jesus Himself did; then you will go first to Jesus; and thence, Jesus will take you to His divine Father.

(To be continued.)


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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CXLIX

Furthermore, this devotion to the Blessed Virgin is a means of intercession with Jesus.

Upon the words of Blessed de Montfort quoted above, Père Lhoumeau makes the following commentary: ‘This does not mean that we cannot speak directly to Our Lord in contemplation, prayer and so on, nor that it is necessary to think actually and definitely of the Blessed Virgin at the beginning of each action.  Though Blessed de Montfort has said that clearly that an act of offering or consecration, even if renewed each month, each week (and we might say even each day), if it is but a passing act, does not establish us in the spirit of this devotion, which is that it be habitual.  He also observes that this turning towards Mary need only be “a general and imperceptible glance,” and it is clear that a virtual intention is sufficient.’

Blessed de Montfort has told us that Jesus is our Mediator of Redemption and that Mary is our Mediatrix of Intercession.  The two offices, the two positions are quite clearly defined.  Our Lord, by His whole life, His sufferings and His death, has merited for us all graces.  Mary by her intercession and her influence obtains for us all these graces, applies to us all these merits, while adding them to her own.

Thus the Montfortian doctrine is no other than the traditional Catholic doctrine of the Redemption and the attributing of the merits and graces of Jesus Christ through Mary.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CXLVIII

(c) To act through Mary.

The main point of this devotion is to do all our actions through Mary.  We must never go to Our Lord except through Mary, through her intercession and her power with Him, so that our prayer to Him is never merely our own unaided prayer.’

To do all our actions ‘through Mary’: that is what we must call with Montfort ‘the main point’ of the True Devotion.  It is the spirit of the Consecration of the Holy Slavery of Jesus in Mary.  The Blessed Virgin appears here as the ‘Means’ of approach to Jesus.  She is the easy, short, perfect and the secure way of which he discourses at length in his Treatise of the True Devotion.  Holy Slavery is not a devotion to oust the rest.  It suppresses nothing, replaces nothing.  It helps, it is a means, the surest.  It imitates the conduct of God.  It acts through Mary.

From the standard of our Christian beliefs, it is an elementary truth, indeed a classical one, that God made use of Mary to realize His redemptive plan, that the Son of God came to us through her, and that through her we must return to Jesus and through Jesus to the Father.  Through her divine Maternity, she was the instrument necessary to God, for the purpose of giving to us His only Son by a miraculous and human birth.  If the Son of God was to be man, live as men do, He needed a mother to incarnate Him and form Him and give Him to the world as a flower gives its ripe fruit, in the time appointed by the Blessed Trinity.  Mary was this Mother, chosen and prepared, and through her, Jesus came.

This is the fundamental doctrine of this Devotion, and so the chief feast of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Slavery of Jesus in Mary is the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word in the womb of Mary on March 25.

Hence this Devotion becomes a devotion of pure and simple imitation of God, but how great, how sublime, how sanctifying!  Even as the Word took upon Himself the form of a slave in the spotless womb of Immaculate Mary when He became man, so the soul becomes Mary’s slave of love by submitting himself completely to her rule.  By the same way that Jesus took to come to our poverty, we ascend to the Savior.  And according to the tradition of the saints, it is hardly possible to sanctify ourselves and to work out our eternal salvation without a special devotion, or at least without confident recourse, to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CXLVII

Mary is ‘the holy Altar on which to see God in her and with her.’  As in the Tabernacle, we shall find Jesus.  And in her, near her, we shall rest from our fatigues and our struggles, shall find peace.

In fine, Mary will be to us our one and all before God, and our refuge in all needs.  When we pray, it will be to Mary, when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion we will place Him in Mary, to take there His delights.  If we act, it will be in Mary, so that everywhere and in everything she will produce acts of self-renunciation.’

Prayers, communions, acts: all our life indeed.  To live it in Mary is to have the true interior life.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CXLVI

Mary is ‘the burning Lamp to light us on our way and set us on fire with Divine Love.’

The burning lamp is fire.  And fire is light and heat.  When we are in Mary, she lights us and warns us.

Of nothing are we more afraid than the dark, because by origin we are children of light.  Evil loves half-lights, sin hides in the dark.  Robbers and evil-doers work at night.

The just soul, on the contrary, desires the full light of broad day, which expands the plant, opens the flower, ripens the fruit and is always favorable to the abundant harvest.

But in the divine Oratory into which we have entered, we find a lighted Lamp.  This lamp is Mary.

She it is who in this beautiful setting lights us and warms us.

What is it that casts shadows for us?  Our hidden faults, our secret urgings of self-love, our petty remissness, the imperfection of our routine, our base treachery.  Mary unhesitatingly casts her beneficent light upon us, to expose all the invisible flecks of dust and the tiny creeping things which are hidden in the dark corners of our souls.  She helps us to sweep up and to drive out these unwholesome guests.  Let us allow her to purify us and free us from even the appearance of evil.  Unfaithfulness in little things is very harmful to the soul who aims at perfection and the loving union, the complete identifying of its will with God’s.  Let Mary free us from all this base dross and the least blemishes which darken our interior.  ‘Light, light!’ said a saint as she was dying.  Mary will give us perfect light.

What makes us cold?  Unfaithfulness to grace, remissness, lukewarmness, sin.  Our zeal, our love grow languid and our heart grows cold.  Mary is near; let us cast ourselves upon her.  Let us ask her for fervor and let us warm ourselves at the flame of her love for God.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CXLV

Mary is ‘the tower of David in which we can take refuge from all our enemies.’  What is it that disturbs the peace and recollection of the interior life?  Mainly foes from within, domestici eius – distractions, proud impulses, the seekings of self-love, lack of purity of intention, carelessness, imperfections, lukewarmness, venial sin.  There are too, sorrow, remorse, anxiety and the scruples due to our remissness and imprudence.  There are the ambushes and temptations of the devil, so many traps for our inexperienced, careless or imprudent feet.  There are too, those glances cast outside our spiritual dwelling, reversions to what has been put behind us, those persistent regrets, those longings for petty satisfactions, the weariness of ever imposing sacrifices upon oneself, and of living in dependence and poverty.  Their name is Legion, the legion of the foe.

Let us withdraw into our tower of safety.  Mary will calm our senses, will show us everything from a more correct angle.  She will make us understand if our will is good, in her we have nothing to fear from the malice and the cunning of all our enemies from within and without.

When once the soul is firmly established in Mary, everything is calm and reassured.  There will still be struggles.  There must be, that more merit may be gained and that faithful love and careful vigilance may be stimulated for,

‘la vie est un combat dont la palme est aux cieux.’

But in Mary we are certain to triumph gloriously.  Montfort sings as follows:

‘Elle est ma ville de refuge

Où je ne suis point outragé;

C’est mon arche dans le déluge

Où je ne suis point submergé.’

No, neither insulted nor overcome by the hostile flood, for ‘those whom Mary has in her keeping are well kept.’

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CXLIV

At this stage Blessed de Montfort multiplies his illustrations and comparisons.

She will be the Oratory wherein the soul will pray to God without fear of being repulsed’ Have you prayed sometimes in a quiet chapel at dusk? the last rays of daylight come softened through the storied windows; it is twilight and silence; you are alone.  A perfume of incense and adoration clings about the walls.  A calm sweetness envelops you and thrills you.  On your knees before the white statue, which is throned on Our Lady’s altar, you look at her, your Mother.  She looks at you, understands, smiles.  You are her child, hers, you are in her.  What do you do?  Do you pray?  Doubtless.  Your whole heart, soul and being, your whole attitude, even your silence and your peace, all tell its story.  You are in Mary.  More and better than the vessel which contains you, she is your Oratory, in which you feel at home with her, in complete trust and security.  There at her feet, on her heart, beneath her cloak, in her, you do not fear your foes.  She keeps you, you know that she keeps you and possesses you as a mother does her child.  You know that she is there for your sake.  You are sure that she will always hear you, in your prayers for your own needs and those of your brothers, the living and the dead, the just and the unjust.  You may pour out before her the flood of your supplications and sorrows and sufferings; she will understand, will soothe and comfort.  You know that she is near, for your soul and those of your brothers, and that she will always bring you safely to the divine Host, her adorable Son, Who, dwelling in His tabernacle of love and grace, awaits you.  And when you come away you are better, more resolute, stronger, more interior.

For a slave of Jesus in Mary, this temporary condition of the soul should be that of all its life.

(To be continued.)

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