(3) ‘Be on your guard also against being distressed if you do not at once enjoy that sweet presence of the Blessed Virgin in your soul.’
What is the nature of this presence of Mary in the soul?
We have already treated this question in the passage entitled ‘The Formation of souls.’ I will not revert to it. I will only say with Père Lhoumeau that Mary is in us as a moral influence just as the sun is in a room through its light and warmth. ‘This grace is not given to all. When God in His great mercy favours a soul with it, it can very easily be lost again if the soul is not faithful to interior recollection. If this misfortune should happen to you, return humbly to your Sovereign and make ample amends to her.’
‘This presence of Mary,’ remarks Père Lhoumeau, ‘is a favour enjoyed by Blessed de Montfort to an exceptional extent, as can be seen in his life. He is contemplating his own measure of enjoyment of the privilege when he says: This grace is not given to all.’ For there are indeed degrees.
According to its aspect, height, absence or presence of obstacles, a house will be more or less exposed to and warmed by the sun. So is it with the soul. In the measure of the direction of its thought to Mary, its repeated calls, its flight from sin and its faithfulness to grace, it will enjoy a more or less intimate and sensible presence of the Blessed Virgin. This is why Blessed de Montfort invites everyone to the practice of this perfect devotion, promising as its fruit without reserve ‘that the soul of Mary will be in us: Sit in me anima tua ut magnificent Dominum; sit in me spiritus tuus, ut exulted in Deo.’
Let us note: ‘It is true he imposes as an absolute condition a persevering practice of this devotion; and if this presence of Mary is not granted to all, it is because but few, even to a moderate degree, are faithful to its spirit.’
As for us, let us, by our correspondence to grace and our generous perseverance, deserve to have and to feel the sweet influence of Mary in our souls to illuminate them and strengthen them in their union with God.
(To be continued.)