Category Archives: Religion

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XLIV

For birth into the natural life we need a father and a mother.  And even so it is in our introduction into the supernatural life.  Surely there would be something lacking if at the Font, which is the cradle of soul soul, we did not see bending over our christened brow the blessed smiling face of a mother.  But God knows our needs better than we do.  This Mother He has given us, His own.  And here a mystery of grace is at work.  Mary is truly our spiritual Mother according to grace.  She it is who bears us for the supernatural life.  The same act which made and consecrated her the Mother of Jesus, made her at the same time the Mother of mankind.  We must take Mary and consider her in all the fullness of her destiny and her functions as the new Eve even as they were conceived and willed and realized in the plan of Redemption,  She was to give birth to the Son of God that she might co-operate directly and individually with Him in the regeneration of mankind.

Even so must we take Christ and consider Him in all the fullness and extent of His being and His work.

In Him there are three inseparable things: His body of flesh and blood, His human soul, both united to the divinity in the person of the Word, and the Church which is His splendor, His consummation, His mystical body.  So that Jesus is not only human, body and soul united in the Word, nor only the Church, but the whole integral Christ is Christ in person with the Church, forming one whole, the mystical body.  And this mystical Body is as perfect and as real as His physical Body.  It is composed of all the children of the Church who are its spiritual members.  Part of this wonderful Body already enjoys celestial glory, part suffers and waits the hour of deliverance from the expiatory flames of Purgatory, and another is still militant on earth.  But all these members without exception have only one same Head, Jesus, from whom they ever receive divine and vivifying influences, and to whom they are united by the most intimate and holy of supernatural ties, ‘because we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.’

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XLIII

5. Because in order to have God for our Father, we must have Mary for our Mother.

As in the natural order,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘a child must have a father and a mother, so in the order of grace, a true child of the Church must have God for his father and Mary for his Mother.’

We have already said how through creation we become the image and the children of God, and how we become so still more and in a higher sense through Redemption and the grace of Holy Baptism.  It is a certain and consoling truth.  Through this Sacrament we enter the Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ, and united to our Head, we become the true children of the common Father Whom we have in Heaven.

But we may, through the free act of madness which is called sin, break within us the image and reject the fatherhood of God.  Nevertheless, even in this state of formal or latent apostasy, the soul still keeps the indelible character of the divine effigy and the seal of its supernatural origin.  But having repudiated its God, it is in its turn repudiated by Him, and at the same time, loses its rights to the paternal heritage.

It is important, then, and it is what Blessed Louis tells us, to remain true children of the Church, faithful to grace and to the obligations of the Sacraments…conformable to the model who created us and sanctified us, obedient to all the duties that filial piety, no less than the divine law, imposes upon us.  Then and then only shall we be true children of God and of Mary.

In the supernatural life, it is impossible to honor, to serve and to love God worthily and truly without having at the same time equivalent and proportionate feelings of devotion towards Mary.  Psychologically it would be a phenomenon contrary to all the laws of nature.  Would it be comprehensible that in a family a child could honot his father without showing this mother the same duty when both are equally worthy of it and ahve an equal right to it?

And,’ says de Montfort, ‘should he boast of having God for his Father, without at the same time having the tender love of a true child for Mary, his father is the devil,’ because to reject the paternity of God and all the harmony of the Redemption.  This is the will of the sublime Trinity.  It goes without saying that the father of this miserable deserter from the family of God and Mary is the devil.  Before accepting the homage which we owe Him, God insists, then, that we should show the same to Mary in proportion to the sublime and unparalleled dignity which He conferred upon her in the work of Redemption, in the Mystical Body of Christ and in the Kingdom of glory.

(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 – XLI

And this is how the mediation of Mary in its work of restoration, of grace, and of salvation, restores and repairs the part of Eve in the matter of the Fall, of death and of loss.

Blessed de Montfort has concisely condensed into a few words this consoling doctrine when he says, ‘Our Lord is our Mediator with God the Father, but we need a Mediator with the Mediator Himself, and this Mediator is Mary.  To go to God the Father we must go to Jesus, for He is our Mediator of Redemption; to go to Jesus we must go to Mary; she is our Mediatrix of intercession.’ (True Devotion)

Let us then conclude with S. Ephraim’s beautiful invocation: “Most gracious Lady, Mother of God, full of grace, thou the common glory of our nature, the channel of all blessings, Queen of all things after the Trinity,…the Mediatrix of the world after the Mediator; thou the mysterious bridge which unites Heaven to earth, the key which opens to us the gates of Paradise, our advocate, our mediatrix, behold my faith, behold my devout longings, and remember thy mercy and thy power.  Mother of Him Who alone is merciful and kind, receive my poor soul, and by thy mediation make it worthy to be one day at the right hand of thine only Son.’

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XL

Our Lord is the meritorious source, the first indispensable and final means of obtaining every grace necessary to salvation.  Therefore we always ask God to grant us His grace ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord.’

But in the Divine plan of the acquiring and the dispensing of graces Mary has always her place at the side of Jesus.

And it is God’s will that this place should be necessary and that this co-operation should be real, effective, continual and universal.

When God gives a grace, He looks at the group which stand for redemption, the acquiring of merit, intercession, mediation and the dispensing of graces.

In the foreground Jesus Christ: His intervention is necessary.  It would be sufficient, but He has not so willed it.

Behind Him, Mary: Her intervention is not necessary.  But God has willed it; we must have it.

Then Mary comes forward.  Her intercession draws all its efficacy from that of her Son.  She offers her own merits united with those of Jesus.  Far more – when she offers the merits  of the Saviour, she asks God to accept them.

And it is in this way, by continuing in Heaven the oblation made by her at Nazareth, at Bethlehem, in the Temple, on Calvary, uniting her prayers and her personal merits to the intercession of Jesus, that she admirably fulfills her function of Dispenser of graces.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXXIX

In order to illustrate this doctrine by examples, we need only open the Gospel and see how Jesus associated Mary in the performance of His two first miracles, the one of grace, the other of nature.  Blessed de Montfort is very particular upon this point.

The first sanctification made by Jesus, that of John the Baptist, was performed by the means and at the prayer of Mary.

The first natural miracle, that of the wedding at Cana, which led the apostles to believe in Him, was obtained by the tactful and discreet intervention of Mary.

Now that which God resolved to do once, He ever does, for ‘the gifts of God are without repentance.’

Bossuet in famous passage has magnificently sketched this truth.  Blessed de Montfort has explained this same doctrine in almost identical terms.  And both are only the echo of the whole Catholic tradition, whether of the Fathers or the Doctors, of the official and constant teaching of the Catholic Church.  Nor need we hesitate any longer since the liturgical institution of a festival, fixed for May 31, in honor of and under the patronage of ‘B.M.V. Omnium Gratiarum Mediatricis‘ (Benedict XV, 1920).

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXXVIII

Our ancestors, those inimitable builders of churches and cathedrals, had the intuition of this manifestation of the divine thought.  They consecrated to Mary a door of the sacred building, they placed her Image beside that of Jesus, Mary became the Mistress of Ceremonies for the kingdom of God, for the Church and for Heaven; or they placed the statue of Mary near the Tabernacle; or they placed the Blessed Sacrament on the altar of the Virgin to mark that Jesus is always found with her, and in her, and that by her means, Jesus continues to give Himself to souls.

But we must speak of Mary as the Treasurer and Dispenser of grace.  The saving group of which we have spoken arouses in us two different thoughts, resulting the one from the other and implying each other.  Bethlehem and Calvary suggest to us that Mary was associated with Jesus in His Incarnation and His death, when He merited for us.

This is the co-operation of the Blessed Virgin in the acquisition of grace.

The statue of Mary at the Church door, her altar within the building, the placing of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar of the Madonna, show us that Mary is still associated with Jesus when He calls souls to faith by baptism and to the Church by the fulfillment of their duties, when He develops in them the supernatural life by the gifts of grace in prayer and in the sacraments.

This is the co-operation of the Blessed Virgin in the application of the merits of Jesus Christ and the distribution of grace.

Distribution does not necessarily result from acquisition.  But is it not meet that the distribution of graces should be confided by God to the same hands which merited them, that is, to the Redeemer and His partner in redemption?  The acquisition and the application of merit form in the work of Christ a complete and homogeneous whole, that of the salvation in which everything is found.  The co-operation of Mary in both parts of this function is then of necessity and must be universal.

(To be continued.)

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