Category Archives: Holy Spirit

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LXXIV

It is to the soul living by the grace of the Spirit ‘that He opens the Garden Enclosed that it may enter there.’  The Holy Spirit, in His rank of Spouse, alone has the keys of this mysterious garden, rich and delightful in a different way from the first Eden.  There can enter only those in whom He discovers some resemblance to the Son and the Mother.  At the gate of the lost Garden, an angel stood armed with a flaming sword, to forbid entrance to whomever should dare to present himself, and no one ever entered there.  At the gate of Mary’s Garden stands the Spirit of love.  And it is with joy and eagerness that He calls the predestinate and makes them enter this new Eden where refreshment, salvation and life are found.

It is to the soul eager for the living water of eternal Truth that the Holy Spirit opens ‘this fountain sealed up,’ that it may draw from it the living water of grace and drink long draughts of it.

Christ is like the pure expanse of those waters which lie hidden in the bosom of the earth.  Mary is like those abundant springs which rise from its surface.  ‘You shall draw water with jot out of the Savior’s fountains.’  ‘That soul will find but God alone in the adorable Creature.’  Mary possesses only God and can only possess God.

More clearly than the Psalmist she says: ‘The Lord is the portion of my inheritance.’  More clearly than the Apostle: ‘My God and my All.’  To the soul who seeks in her and through her, God alone, his End and All, she gives God, but she can give only God Whom she possesses and Who suffices her.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LXXIII

In these pages into which Blessed de Montfort has condensed so much beautiful and definite teaching, many ideas recur, resemble one another, dovetail and overlap each other.  We must neither wonder at it nor find fault with it.  Montfort is full of his subject: he sings it.  Expanded into repeated variations, like waves of music, from the breath of a winged inspiration, these are full of charm and eloquence, and show to thoughtful meditation unexpected vistas.

From the height to which Blessed Louis would have us climb, let us contemplate once more as from a wonderful observatory some of the beauties of that Paradise of delight which he describes to us.

He exclaims: ‘Happy, thrice happy, here below, is the soul to whom the Holy Spirit reveals the Secret of Mary that it may come to Mary.’

Secret of God, secret of Mary, secret of the soul.  Here for the first time, Montfort would have us understand that in order to know the Secret of Mary, that is to say, The True Devotion to Mary, we must by prayer address ourselves to the Holy Spirit, because Mary is His Spouse whom He alone knows perfectly and whom He alone can reveal to those interior souls who ask it of Him in sincerity.  There are in her divine secrets of grace, of virtue and of glory.  She alone, in the established order, communicates to her faithful one of the treasures stored within her.  It is she who fills our souls with the splendors of grace, the light of faith, the ardor of love, the demonstrations of piety, the excellence of charity, the activities of zeal and apostleship.  Those who visibly distribute to us these graces here below are only channels, instruments, intermediaries.  But she it is who ceaselessly draws upon the infinite treasure of her Son’s Heart, who asks in an irresistible manner because she is the Mother, and who grants liberally because she is the Queen.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LVIII

Finally, it was to Mary that the Holy Ghost said: ‘In electis Meis mitte radices: Strike thy roots, My faithful Spouse, in My elect.’

What is it to strike root?  To take possession, to plant oneself, to bring forth a harvest or a family.

And what was it for Mary to strike root in the elect?  It was to kindle in them the flame of the Christian life by the gift of grace, it was to have power and domination over them, to fill them with her mind, to bring forth among them a race of children, and a harvest of the elect.

Before His Ascension, on the very day, Jesus said to His Apostles, ‘Go ye, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.’

Mary was there.  Doubtless she, who was the Co-Redemptrix and the Mother and who was yet to remain for a while upon earth, doubtless, I say, she repeated the words and the gesture of the Master, her Son: ‘Go!’  But this scene had its climax.  Jesus ascended to Heaven.  For ten days He had been seated in glory at the right hand of His Father.  The Apostles were gathered together in one place.  All with one mind persevered in prayer with some of the women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus and His brethren.  It was the day of Pentecost.  Mary was there in the midst of the faithful group.  And suddenly there came from Heaven a sound as of a mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting, and there appeared to them parted tongues as it were, of fire, upon the head of the Holy Mother of God, which were afterwards distributed and rested upon each of them.  They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.  Now Mary was there.  And tradition, right, piety, all deem that the Holy Ghost descended upon the head of Mary first and that it was she who then distributed Him to the Apostles, to the holy women and to all the brethren present.  It was the official founding of the Church under the presidency of Mary.  And doubtless she must then have repeated the Master’s injunction: ‘Go!  Prepare unto me chosen ones.’  Henceforth to those souls whom the Apostles shall convert and those whom others after them will convert, to those elect whom the Holy Spirit gives her, Mary begins to communicate the grace of which she is the depository, to take her virginal root in them and assert her ownership by her virtues, her mind, her ways, her feelings, by the gift of her whole soul, so that these elect, these children may be like her and at the same time living and perfect iamges of the Head of the Predestinate, Jesus Christ.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XLVIII

7. Because it is through Mary that the Holy Spirit produces the predestinate.

With the whole Church the Blessed de Montfort calls Mary the Spouse of the Holy Ghost.  And he describes in a few lines all the doctrine of the formation of Jesus Christ and of the predestinate in Mary, by the vivifying breath and beneath the mysterious shadow of the divine Spirit.  This thought runs as it were through all his teaching.  It is its basis and its end, for what is its purpose?  To form souls in Mary after the example of Jesus.  This is the whole sun of his doctrine.

The Holy Ghost,’ he writes, ‘having never repudiated Mary whom He espoused, and in whom, by whome and from whom He produced that masterpiece Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, continues daily in a mysterious, but nevertheless real manner, to produce in her and by her.’

In these words there are two things, two degrees of formation.  When beneath the waters of Baptism and at the word of the priest, the little child is born to the supernatural life, the same moment which makes him a child of God, makes him a child of Mary, and Mary’s acceptance of her double Maternity, at the word of the Angel, becomes a reality.  Mary then will be and must be the Mothre according to grace of this child, born into the supernatural life.  But there is more.  That is the first step.

Behold the second.  Mary is the Mother of all souls born to grace.  But there are some in whom she strives to develop yet further the likeness to Jesus.  And that is Mary’s true work, the training of the individual souls to holiness, to the perfection desired by God.  Mary’s training is intensive, ceaseless, according to the degree of grace and of correspondence to that grace, a training which under her influence will make souls more and more like Jesus Christ, members worthy of such a Head.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XLII

Mary is then the treasurer and the dispenser of all graces.  Fathers, Doctors, Saints, Theologians, spiritual writers, all are unanimous on this point and speak in powerful unison.

And so Blessed de Montfort, voicing them all, says with S. Bernardine of Siena: ‘Through the power thus received, she gives to whom she wills, as she wills, when she wills, and as much as she wills, the graces of the Eternal Father, the virtues of Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.’

S. Bernard has taken the whole doctrine and coined it into one sympathetic phrase: ‘God has not wished us to have anything save by the hand of Mary.’  Nihil nos Deus habere voluit quod per Mariae manus non transiret.’

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXIX

2. Because Mary alone is the Mother of grace.

She has,’ says our holy writer, ‘given being and life to the Author of all grace.’  ‘Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights.’  Now the Incarnate Word is One God with His Father and the Holy Spirit, so that all grace that descends from the Father and the Holy Spirit, descends at the same time from the Son, all three forming one sole God.  The Eternal Word, being equally God with the Father and the Spirit, is likewise equally the Author of all grace, the Word ‘by Whom all things were made and without Whom was made nothing taht was made.’  Blessed Louis, with the whole of theology, then, is right in concluding with certainty that Mary ‘has given being and life to the Author of all grace, and this is why she is called the Mother of grace, Mater gratiae,’ the Mother of substantial incarnate grace.

What is it that gives life to the soul?  Sanctifying grace, the divine life communicated to the creature.  Now the divine life of grace is the participation of angels and men in the divine nature.  Now, in truth, Mary, in becoming the Mother of the Author of grace, became at the same time the Mother of that substantial grace which is God Incarnate, the great gift that came down from the Father, and of the divine life of grace granted to the soul to enable it to live as a partaker of the divine nature.  Behold the most amazing wonder of creation, the supernatural elevation of the creature called to live in God by the very life of God!  And we should be always thanking God Who grants us this sublime favor by her whom He took for His Mother.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XVII

And now is not de Montfort right when he cries to the soul that has risen to these sublime heights, raised as it is to this divine rank: ‘The Will of God regarding you is that you become holy like Him in this life and glorious like Him in the next‘?

How should we be the perfect image of the Heavenly Father if we did not resemble Him in holiness?

Holiness moreover is of obligation, if we wish really to live in this divine relationship in which sanctifying grace establishes us.  It is, besides, an inevitable condition of future glory.

And so Montfort rightly adds: ‘To attain to the holiness of God is therefore your real vocation.’  What a statement!

Thither all your thoughts, words and actions, your sufferings and all the happenings of your life must be directed, or you are resisting God in not doing that for which He has created you and still preserves you.  To attain to the holiness of God is to attain a very small portion of the divine holiness and place it in our human life.  Divine life by sanctifying grace, divine holiness by our co-operation in the divine action of grace.  ‘Be holy as your Heavenly Father in holy.’

To go to God by means of holiness is then our sure vocation.  And I hear the eager Apostle of the Gentiles ceaselessly urging us to be faithful to this heavenly calling, charging us to use all our powers to follow this divine summons, in small things as in great, in the small still more than in the great because they are more frequent.

‘That holiness which would only be baked by the fire of extraordinary actions,’ says Père Charles quaintly, ‘would be no one’s daily bread.’  We must begin by practicing the interior life, by being faithful in little things, adapting ourselves diligently to all the urgings of grace.  Let it be our fear lest we grieve the Holy Spirit in our souls.

(To be continued.)

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