Happy Feast of the Nativity of Mary!
Category Archives: Mary
(d) To act for Mary.
‘Lastly we must do everything for Mary.’ This is a point of the Montfortian teaching which must be well explained and well understood, if we would avoid errors of interpretation, misleading of conscience, and the deflection of our acts. Blessed de Montfort defines it forthwith and clearly, ‘as we are the slaves of this august Princess, we must work no more but for her, for her profit and for her glory as our immediate end, and for the glory of God as our last end.’
A necessary scale of values, essential and definite. This indispensable distinction is part of the infinite difference between the Creator and the creature, between God and Mary. On the first page of his Treatise of the True Devotion, Blessed de Montfort clearly lays down this principle in order to avoid any misunderstanding. We will quote it.
‘I avow with all the Church, that Mary, being but a mere creature that has come from the hands of the Most High, in, in comparison with His infinite Majesty, less than an atom, or rather, she is nothing at all, because He only is. “He Who is,” and thus by consequence that great Lord, always independent and sufficient to Himself, never had, and has not now, any absolute need of the Holy Virgin for the accomplishment of His will and for the manifestation of His glory. He has but to will in order to do everything.’
We with Montfort do not write these words to depreciate Mary; far from it. But it is rather to show to what almost infinite height God raised her in the plan of Redemption and in her office of Mediatrix.
God alone is the necessary being and must alone be the only supreme and final end of every creature without exception. And He Himself, God as He is, cannot escape this necessity. He is obliged, having created us, to possess us and to draw us to Himself.
God then attracts everything to Himself by the essential power of attraction which is part of His Being, and nothing can escape this centre of gravity.
Jesus, inasmuch as He, like His Father, is God, partakes of this irresistible attraction. He is, equally with the Father and the Spirit, our only supreme and final end.
Once this indispensable principle of the primacy of God and of His Christ has been laid down, we know where we are with regard to the Montfortian teaching and our duties toward Mary.
God is the final end of our actions; Mary must be considered and used as the mediate end, as an intermediary and as a means.
(To be continued.)
In itself slavery has something repugnant to the mind. But with our eyes on Mary we cast over it the veil of love, and at once, transfigured, it shines with a sublime beauty and an alluring charm.
The Slavery of Love for which Blessed de Montfort pleads, is free and voluntary; the slavery of those who have a devotion to Mary is freely chosen and accepted. This gives it its nobility and its merit.
Man can be united to Jesus Christ in three ways according to the three titles of the Savior. He is our Sovereign, our Redeemer, and our Head. We must be His subjects because He is our Sovereign; His captives because He is our Redeemer; His members because He is our Head. We must love beneath His laws as a Sovereign, His wishes as a Master, His orders as Head.
It is to this that the slavery of love to Jesus in Mary brings us. But this slavery, most glorious to God, most dear to Mary, most useful to our neighbor, most salutary for our souls, must depend entirely upon our love and our will, upon our desire for a closer union with God through ties more intimate and more loving. And this more intimate and loving means is complete surrender to Mary.
(To be continued.)
‘But this is why,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘this soul will find God at once infinitely holy and aloof; infinitely condescending and understanding towards our weakness.’
In fact, God shows two very different aspects of Himself. On the one hand, the Creator God, infinitely holy, powerful and dread, Who seems to crush us with His boundless greatness, before Whom nations and individuals are as if they were not. On the other hand, we have the Redeemer God, infinitely kind, veiling His sovereign majesty, becoming as a little child, and coming down to us, going so far in His wonderful love as to die for us and to feed us with Himself.
Beneath both these aspects, He is in Mary. But in her, His infinite love is shown as much as His limitless power. In her, He is complete. But Mary, with the Mother’s delicate skill, knows wonderfully how to soften the greatness of God so that the children’s eyes see only the adorable lineaments of the Savior.
‘Since God is everywhere,’ by His Creation and His Omnipresence, ‘we can’ and we must ‘find Him everywhere,’ in Heaven where He is the joy of His angels and His elect, on earth where He reigns by grace in the hearts of His Saints and His faithful, and ‘even in hell’ where the sternness of His justice and His power is felt by those who were not willing to taste the tenderness of His love. ‘But there is no place in which the creature can find Him nearer to itself and more as its weakness can bear it, than in Mary, since it was for that reason that He took up His abode in her.’
(To be continued.)
And Blessed Louis continues: ‘He made a world for man as a pilgrim, the one we live in; He made a world for man in his state of blessedness, Paradise; but He made another wherein to dwell Himself, and He called it Mary.’
God Himself told His privileged One of what should come to her. And when His Divinity had invaded her, when Mary had a clear consciousness of it, and when her love, kindled at the glowing hearth of eternal Love, leapt in its turn in eager flame toward that Heart, with what infinite return did the Father answer? The Blessed Trinity in Its entirety, a willing a captive in the bonds of her love, came towards her and made of her a lasting dwelling-place.
‘It is a world,’ says Montfort, ‘almost unknown to all mortals here below and incomprehensible to all the angels and saints in Heaven.’
Few are the privileged ones to whom it has been granted to penetrate into this divine Interior, for it pleased the King ‘to hide His secret.’ And Blessed de Montfort, whom Mary deigned to show some of the marvelous beauties hidden within her, owns that he cannot find words for them.
And we may well apply to this living Paradise what S. Paul says of the invisible Heaven. ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard: neither hath it entered into the heart of man.’ The holy Mother of Jesus is a creature so apart that we should need divinely inspired knowledge to understand her. Hic taceat omnis lingua. Let all mortal flesh keep silence.
And that which makes the Heavens wonder and understand that Mary is indeed a peerless being ‘in the past and in the future,’ as the Church hymns her, that she is the unique Masterpiece of God, is just this: ‘To see this God, so high, so remote from the angels, the saints and all the elect, so withdrawn and hidden in His own world, the divine Mary.’
And when whilst they make the celestial vault resound with their triumphant Hosanna of adoration, whilst they cry without ceasing: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy,’ they also sing to Mary their hymn of love, praise and adoration, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.’
(To be continued.)
‘The second is quick, easy and gentle, causing hardly any trouble or expense, provided of course that the mold be without flaws, and exactly represent the model, and that the material used is easy to handle and in no way resists the process.’
Who has not seen a mold? From a rough model in potter’s clay the molder makes a mold, and in this shape the artist casts his material whether soft or melted, whether it be plaster, stucco or metal, in its melted state. In this way the farmer’s wife makes her dainty pats of butter and the pastry-cook fashions his appetizing cakes. The material fits itself exactly to the outlines, projections and hollows of the mold so that a faithful copy of the model is reproduced.
Let us apply these principles to Mary’s formation of the predestined soul to holiness.
Blessed de Montfort lays down two conditions for the molding of a statue: a flawless mold and docile material.
Now for the formation of souls we find that the first condition is eminently fulfilled in the Holy Mother of God. If the soul corresponds and supplies the second condition, the effigy which will come from this divine mold will be perfect. So, Blessed de Montfort.
(To be continued.)
‘A sculptor,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘may make a statue or may represent nature in two ways. First with the help of good instruments, he may by his skill, strength, hard work and professional knowledge, chisel it out of some hard and shapeless material, or secondly, he may cast it in a mould.’
Of the two, the statue sculptured from a block of marble or the effigy modelled in a mould, which will be…I do not say the richer…but the more beautiful, the more artistic, the more sought after? It is a matter of opinion. You may reasonably maintain that a statue, chiselled in gold or silver, hewn out of marble or granite, by a clever workman will have intrinsic and artistic value, having regard to the material and the skill, greater than that of a plaster or bronze presentment cast in a blind, uniform and unvarying mould. Granted; but I ask you to note that it is not from this point of view that we must look at the question.
From the supernatural point of view it is the soul which is to be formed in the image of Our Lord. It is, then, of importance to know if by personal efforts, unskilled, painful, spasmodic and slow as they are, we shall be able to produce an image of holiness, as adequate and as like Jesus, as if we cast ourselves entirely in Mary as in a mould, by means of a perfect devotion.
The most beautiful work that Mary achieved was Jesus. Even if a Saint could ever have formed himself in the image of Christ without the intervention of Mary, he would only be, for all his perfection, a pale and distant copy of the ideal Exemplar formed in Mary. And what would such a one be by the side of the giants of Mary’s school: S. John, S. Augustine, S. Bernard, S. Francis de Sales, S. Jean Eudes, Blessed de Montfort, the Holy Curé d’Ars? But you will not find this hypothetical saint. Since Jesus, it is Mary who, of necessity, trains the saints and the predestinate.
(To be continued.)