2. The Four Precepts.
(a) To act with Mary.
‘Moreover we must do all our actions with Mary, that is to say, we must look on her as our perfect model in all we have to do.’ This devotion makes Mary our partner. Life is a journey. Mary becomes the companion, guide and model of that journey. ‘That is why before beginning anything, we must renounce ourselves and our own views.’
‘These brief headings show,’ says Père Lhoumeau, ‘that the act of union with Mary comprises two things that are inseparable in the work of our salvation. (1) The putting away of obstacles (that is, sin or sinful inclinations) by renouncing ourselves. (2) The union of our will and our actions to the divine will and the impulse of grace. Without this renunciation, which when faithfully practiced extends to every place, person and thing our union would be either imperfect or purely imaginative, and we should not be absolutely dependent of Mary. Observe also that in making us sacrifice all our views and intentions, however good they may be, in order to take up those of Mary, Blessed Grignion binds us to the practice of greatest perfection.’ And so the holy author insists: ‘We must annihilate ourselves before God, acknowledging that we are incapable of any action that would tend towards our salvation or of anything supernatural.’ We have deepened this natural incapacity of our nature, aggravated by actual and personal sin and yet further increased by the devil and all the obstacles which gather before us, and that is why ‘we must have recourse to the Blessed Virgin, unite ourselves to her and to her intentions, though unknown to us; we must trust her; she will not disappoint our expectation.
But we must go further and climb higher. Mary is a means: ‘Through Mary we must unite ourselves to the intentions of Jesus Christ; that is to say, we must put ourselves as an instrument in the hands of the Blessed Virgin so that she may act in us, and do with us and for us as she think fit for the greater glory of her Son and through her Son Jesus Christ for the glory of the Father.’
There is nothing to add to words so clear, practical and definite. Life is a journey towards Heaven. We walk with Mary like a little slave with his Mistress, our eyes on hers, our hand in hers, in step with her, with no other will, intention, desire, or love than hers. We are following the road of virtue towards the Heaven where we shall find Jesus. This is what Montfort means, ‘so that we take no step in our interior life or in our spiritual work embrace anything except dependence on her.’
(To be continued.)