Category Archives: Redemption

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CXXVI

6. It is the means of acquiring the true liberty of the Children of God.

This devotion makes us truly free with the liberty of the children of God.’

Liberty in the literal sense of the word is a right which allows man to do what he will.  But let us note at once that liberty is not independence.  S. Paul lifts up his voice vigorously against such as would claim this.  He says to himself: ‘All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.’

Human liberty is relative.  It is within certain limits and exercised according to conscience, the divine and human law, and is subject to the established order of things.  It must follow the principles of eternal reason included in the dictates of the human conscience and in the divine principles contained in the Gospel and the Decalogue, taught by the Church.  This sovereign law is opposed to liberty independent of all dogma and all morality that it may lay down for it what is good and what is evil.  It is then within these impassable limits of submission to order, that we can and must act and our liberty evolve and be developed.

If it transgresses these laws, if it turns aside from true reasonableness, if it crosses these limits, there follow disaster, abuses, sin, slavery.  We think to free ourselves from a humiliating and embarrassing constraint, and we do not perceive that we are submitting ourselves to a degrading and bitter servitude.  Man is only great and noble on his knees before God, under the easy yoke of His law and in obedience to His will.  Everywhere else and always, man is the slave of someone or something.

In the human conscience, on the Tables of the Mosaic Law, in our Lord’s Gospel of the new Law, the rights of God to command are written.  But desirous of liberty, Adam emancipates himself, the Jews put the divine Lawgiver to death, these distant ancestors of the French Revolution inscribe at the head of the new Code, the Rights of Man.  Do we think they gained true liberty, the source and pledge of the future bliss we dream of?  No, they subjected themselves to every kind of slavery: that of suffering without consolation, work without an aim, physical and moral distresses, death without the hope of a death which should make all good; that of the curse of Heaven, the blindness of the mind, the hardness of the heart; that of social revolution, unjust and homicidal strikes, of blood…

In the world, man resists the divine law.  He denies to God and His representatives the right of having a word to say in the government of the nations and the obedience which they owe to the Sovereign Governor of the worlds.  Then as they no longer desire a God, it is but logical that they should no longer desire masters, for a master is a vestige of authority, and they have done with authority.  Such a nation has the leaders and the masters that it deserves, effeminate tyrants, incapable and therefore dangerous.

Man is unwilling to serve God in the love and holy liberty of the child.  Such a one becomes the slave tormented by every bad passion, by every untrammeled ambition, degrading vice, the thrall of sin, of error, of every sort of compromise, in short, of the devil…

(To be continued.)


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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CII

Jesus Christ as our Creator and our God is our Sovereign, Master and Lord.  He has an absolute dominion over us.  He possesses us unconditionally.  We depend essentially upon Him and He is ever exercising over us His universal and plenary empire.

Jesus Christ holds His complete power in right of His divinity and of His eternal birth: ‘The Lord hath said to Me: Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.  Ask of Me and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance.’

But Jesus Christ also possesses the empire of the world by right of conquest and redemption.  His sufferings, His blood, His cross, His death, all that mission fulfilled by Him, have seemed to Him an unimpeachable right of ownership.  He is our Master and only Lord, the God-man born of the Virgin Mary Who died upon the Cross.  ‘Dominus regnavit a ligno’: the cross is His sovereign throne and His rights are written and signed with His blood.

Baptism, by applying to us the merits of His Passion, by delivering us from the shameful slavery of satan, has placed us in the honorable mystery slavery of Jesus.  And by Baptism He has acquired fresh rights to our service and to the ownership of us.  To serve Him, love Him, adore Him, to do His good pleasure and His will, to die for Him, and all this without expecting from Him any reward, any wage, save the bliss of serving and loving Him more, these are our duties.  And we must refer everything to Him, actions, words, thoughts, sufferings, health, strength, work, prayers, prospects, and so on, everything to Him Who permits us to do so, because we are His conquest, His property, His chosen people, His spiritual and eternal heritage.

All this is indeed to belong to Him, to be His slaves.  Slaves, I say, and not servants, namely, entirely His, His chattels, res Domini, with which He can do what He pleases.

(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 – LVII

It was to Mary that God the Son said: In Israel hereditare: Dear Mother, let thine inheritance be in Israel, that is to say, in the predestinate.’

Jacob received from God Himself the name of Israel.  For the space of a night, an angel wrestled with him, and could not overcome Him.  He touched Jacob on the sinew of his thigh which shrank and made him halt.  The angel said to Jacob: ‘Let me go, for it is the break of day.’

Jacob answered: “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.’

The Angel said: ‘What is thy name?’  Jacob answered: ‘Jacob.’  Then the angel said: ‘Thy name shall not be called Jacob, but Israel, for if thou hast been strong against God, how much more shalt thou prevail against men?’

This glorious name was to be handed down to Jacob’s posterity, to the people of the covenant.

But alas! this people of the covenant became ungrateful and rebellious, ceaselessly striving against God.  They fought against the messengers of God, they persecuted the prophets, they killed the Son of God.  They spent their life as a nation in struggling against God up to the Easter morning, to the Resurrection from Death, to the dawn of the new dispensation.  The strength and the goodness of God could not win them.  And therefore when on the Easter morning Jesus left the tomb, living and glorious, without having conquered their obstinacy, it was not a blessing which He conferred upon them.  These madmen had said: ‘His blood be upon us and upon our children!’

Their prayer was at once granted, and without pity.  It is no longer the sinew of the thigh which is touched to make them halt, but their mind and their heart.  God blinded their minds and hardened their hearts.  They struggled to the end against God and His Christ.  God and His Christ cursed them and rejected them.

And so on the night of the divine Agony, when this people who were to kill their God uttered their cry of revolt, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us,’ Jesus in the bitterness of His soul, but also in full accomplishment of the divine plan, rejecting for a space this people who were a figure, turned to His Mother and said: ‘These find My words too hard and My yoke too heavy.  They go away with curses on their lips.  I let them depart into their iniquity with the divine vengeance and malediction upon them till the day when the scales shall fall from their eyes.  But lift up thy eyes round about and see: all these are gathered together, they are come to thee; thy sons shall come from afar and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side.  Then shalt thou see and abound and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged.’

Who are these who come thus from every side, to my Calvary and to thy Heart?  They are those whom I am redeeming now, the Church which comes from My side, pierced by the soldier’s spear, and in the Christian Church, all the predestinate.  Enter into this new and more wonderful heritage.’

And Mary accepted.

(To be continued.)


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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LIII

But in the town of flowers, beneath the flat roof of the holy home, in which the hard-working youth of the unknown Savior came to maturity, in the sweet shadow of the authority of Mary and Joseph, God saw pressing forward out of time and space and round the First-Born, the Divine Brother, beneath the same outspread wings, a multitude that none can number of other children.  Qui sunt isti?  Who are these?  The children of men who have become the children of God, the sons of wrath and sin, now the sons of love and grace, redeemed by Jesus and now engendered by Mary.  And for them too, God laid in the heart of the universal Mother treasures of tenderness and love, a marvelous vocation for Motherhood, the gentle authority of a Queen ‘to nourish them and make them grow in God.’

If there is in the child’s heart a natural instinct which urges and casts it irresistibly into the mother’s arms, there is also in the mother’s heart a feeling of tenderness, love, devotion, untiring, disinterested, constant, fierce, sublime, inexhaustible, braving fatigues and dangers, ever growing and rising sometimes to the wildest extravagances, to the most tragic and poignant heroisms.

Now if this natural love of the child and the mother is so strong, what must we say of the supernatural love drawn by grace from the heart of God?

Mysterious and yet actual wonder: there is from his baptism in the heart of every Christian, a mysterious love for Mary.  It is the inborn impulse of the Christian soul which explains this natural need of a Mother.  And just as the child as soon as its little lips begin to move utters that word so sweet in every tongue, because it is the first cry of the heart, Mother; even so the child of God, conscious of his supernatural rank, says to God, ‘Our Father Who art in Heaven,’ and thus the child of Mary instinctively gives her this name, for him a reassuring caress, ‘My Mother, who are in Heaven.’

But reciprocally in view of her future functions, God has concentrated in Mary’s heart a unique ineffable love, composed of all tenderness, goodness, devotion, energy, potentiality.

‘Throw, if you can,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘all the natural love which all the mothers of the world have for their children into the one heart of one mother for one only child.  Surely that mother will love that child immensely.  Nevertheless it is true that Mary loves her children yet more tenderly than that mother would love that child of hers.’  Yes, this love is supremely beautiful and incomparably superior because it draws its ardor and its power from the infinite Home of all love, from the very Heart of God Who created it and whom she bore.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LII

8. Because it is Mary’s office to nourish souls and make them grow in God.

Mary,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘has received from God a special dominion over souls in order to nourish them and make them grow in God.’  There is in this sentence an astonishingly rich and suggestive synthesis of the part Mary was to play.

This power over souls comes to her from her spiritual Maternity and is founded on the function of human mothers with regard to their children.  The reason of Mary’s power over souls come to her then from her rank of spiritual Mother.

Blessed de Montfort then lays down a definite principle which he deduces by means of logic from the place occupied by Mary in the scheme of Redemption.  In order to form in her, in all its perfection, the adorable Body of the Savior, God lavished upon her all graces, knowledge, power.  And she was thus able to fit the Son of God, Who was at the same time hers, with a perfect Body which made Him ‘the fairest of the children of men.’  In order to bring up Jesus, God gave Mary a heart loving above all things, a fair and enlightenend understanding, a maternal soul.  He made of her the model Woman, the ideal Mother, of whom the valiant woman of the Bible was but an inadequate figure.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LI

In the mind of God, the work of the Redemption is a whole which will only be completed with its consummation.  The Redemption is not limited to Calvary.  It began at Nazareth, it was accomplished at Golgotha, it is intended and is to be individually applied to each soul, to all souls, through all time.  Now all Christian souls are members of the Church, and the Head of that Church is Christ.  It is the complete and entire mystical Body of Christ.

What then do we see in the realization of this redemptive plan?  The intimate and constant co-operation of Mary.  God is the inspiring force, Jesus Christ is the principal and necessary agent.  Mary co-operates in a secondary but equally necessary way.  Without her, there would have been no Redemption according to the plan conceived by God.  The fall and the Redemption would not have balanced each other.  The fault would not have had its perfect counterpart in the reparation.  The man and the woman of the Fall needed for the harmony of the divine plan the man and the woman who should raise them up.

This action and this co-operation of Mary began then when the Head of the predestinate, Jesus Christ, was formed.  That they might attain their full consummation, they had to be in union with those of the Holy Ghost, that both might continue together the formation of the elect.

Then God’s work of Redemption will be perfect.  It will appear in all its majestic beauty, displaying, with the justice and the power of God, His mercy and His love.

(To be continued.)

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