Category Archives: Spirituality

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLXVIII

Then Blessed Grignion describes the meaning of Holy Slavery to the end of time.  The reign of Jesus will come through Mary.

As by Mary God came into the world the first time in humiliation and abasement, may we not also say that it will be by Mary He will do so in the second time when He will come, as all the Church is in expectation, to reign over the whole world and to judge the living and the dead?

How and when this shall be, who can tell?  But I know well that God, Whose thoughts are farther above us than Heaven is above earth, will come in the time and in the way least expected by men, even by those who are most learned and most versed as regards the Sacred Scripture, which is very obscure on this point.

We may further believe that towards the end of time, and perhaps sooner than we think, God will raise up great men filled with the Holy Ghost and with the spirit of Mary, and that through these, this heavenly Queen will work wonders in the world in order to destroy sin therein and establish the kingdom of Jesus Christ her Son over the kingdom of a corrupt world, and these holy men will attain their end by means of this devotion to the Blessed Virgin, of which through my frailty I have only feebly traced the outlines.

Not so, Blessed Father.  You have explained it wonderfully, and you are yourself, by your words, your writings and your apostleship, an amazing worker for the destruction of sin and for the establishment of the reign of Jesus through Mary in souls.

Might we not say that the days, foretold by the holy writer, are beginning to dawn upon the world?  There is today a magnificent blossoming forth of life in Mary.  Holy Slavery is winning ever more souls, eager for Mary’s spirituality, for it is being ever better understood that Mary is the only true means of getting back to God, of sanctifying ourselves, and of performing acts of lasting merit.  ‘Ut adveniat regnum Iesu adveniat regnum Mariae.’

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLXVII

(4) ‘So that Mary, by the side of Jesus, becomes all to this soul,she who formed it, its mediatrix, its supplement, its Hope, its Mother, its instructress.

She enlightens its mind by her pure faith, deepens its heart by her humility, dilates it and sets it aglow by her charity, purifies it by her purity, ennobles it and enlarges it be her motherly care.

But where shall I stop?  Only experience can teach these marvels of Mary, marvels beyond belief of the wise and the proud and even beyond that of the ordinary lot devout men and women.’

Blessed Louis had had this experience, and that is why he is at such pains to describe clearly and devoutly the marvelous fruits of life and sanctity produced by the indwelling and the work of Mary in a faithful and obedient soul.

(To be continued.)

 

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLXVI

Blessed de Montfort, in continuing the description of the fruits of this devotion, repeats again and again, with slight variations, the same idea which is the life, the indwelling, the work of Mary in the faithful soul.

(3) ‘As Mary is ever the fruitful Virgin,’ he says, ‘she carries into every soul in which she is,’ that is in the soul, for its exterior conduct and interior life, ‘a purity of heart,’ by the rejection of every guilty thought of the intelligence, of every wrong desire of the will, of every evil recollection of the memory, of every straying aside of the imagination, of every unruly passion of the heart: ‘and of body,’ by flight from every occasion of danger, by watchful abstinence from every sinful gesture of the senses; ‘purity of intention and of purpose,’ by sincere and single-hearted direction of our will towards God, a frank seeking after the divine glory and the definite elimination of any personal interest and all vain satisfactions of self-love: ‘fruitfulness in good works,’ through perfection in exterior virtues, in acts performed, and through success in physical or supernatural undertakings: works of charity, of sanctification, apostleship.

Do not think, dear Soul, that Mary, the most fruitful of Pure Creatures, whose fecundity has gone so far as to bring forth a God-Man, could remain idle in a faithful soul.’

No, she does not remain idle.  She is a Mother whose function it is to form divine men: Our Lord Jesus Christ and the predestinate who are the members of His Mystical Body.

She will make our soul live for Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ live in us,’ and she can with yet more reason than the great Apostle say these words: ‘Filioli mei, quos iterum parturio, donec formetur Christus in nobis: My little children, of whom I am in labour again until Christ be formed in you.’

If Jesus Christ is the fruit of Mary in each particular soul as He in in the world in general, He is in a more especial sense her fruit and Masterpiece in a soul in which she dwells.’  For indeed, what is the work pursued by Our Lord in the work of Redemption?  Is it not besides the glory of God, Who is the first and final reason, the restoration of the image and the life of God in the human soul?  Now this can only be accomplished through the Christian’s becoming another Christ.  Was not the First-Born of the living, Jesus Christ, formed in Mary?  In Mary then, these other Christs, the predestinate, must be formed.  And it is in the womb of Mary, that is, in dependence on her and beneath her influence, that this gallery of masterpieces will be completed.  And so in His members, Jesus Christ becomes once more the renewed fruit of Mary, and Mary, as she forms them, feels once more the happy travail of bringing forth souls to the True Life, in a supernatural manner.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLXV

(2) ‘This devotion, when faithfully practiced, produces numberless effects in the soul.  Of these the principal one is that it so establishes the life of Mary in a soul here below that to some extent, it is no longer the soul that lives, but Mary lives in it, and, as it were, the soul of Mary becomes our soul.’

We must not take these words literally.  God alone by sanctifying grace is the principle of our supernatural life and by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in our soul.  Jesus is the life of our souls through the grace of which He is the Author.  Mary is the life of our souls through the grace of which she is the Dispenser.  She lives in us through her influence, her inspiration, the direction which she gives to our thoughts and our acts.

She is the life of our souls, as the mechanician is the life of the machine which he works, as the great singer is the life of the chorus which he conducts, as the general is the leader of the troop which he commands.  In this sense it is that Mary is the life of our souls, through the hold that she has over them and by which she sets them in motion, directs, controls, commands them, at her will.

Therefore,’ says the holy writer, ‘when by an indescribable but real grace Mary becomes Queen of our soul, what wonders does she not accomplish therein?  But as it is generally in the interior life of a soul that she works great wonders, she works secretly, unknown even to the soul itself, for the knowledge of what was taking place would destroy the beauty of her works.’  The wonders that Mary works in a soul are those of sanctification.  Who shall say how Mary, finding a soul well prepared, docile, responsive, forms it in the divine image: how, taking possession of its thoughts and acts, she guides them to God, transforms them, supernaturalizes them, adorns them, causes them to produce the maximum of merit?

Who shall tell the number and the beauty of the souls fashioned by Mary?  Since she formed the ideal Archetype Jesus, the perfect Exemplar of all holiness, how many souls has she not cast in the same mold to give them the same form and the unfailing divine likeness?  Who shall number these masterpieces?

All her action is interior: Omnis Gloria Filiae Regis ab intus.  She works in the inmost heart.  When a soul has been formed by Mary we see only outwardly the blossoming forth of virtues and works.  But who shall tell hidden perfection?  When a tree, after the blossom, has given its harvest of fruit, we do not entirely realize the power of life hidden and gathered in the roots and the trunk.

Here below we see the flowering of the holy souls formed by Mary, we see some of the fruit they bear.  But when in Heaven we shall gaze on the harvest of glory of which they will bear the immortal sheaves, we shall know the power of supernatural vitality which Mary has given them.

Let us then not hinder, by our carelessness and self-love, the work of Mary in us.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLXIV

(1) ‘Let us work, then, dear Soul, in such a way that by our faithful practice of this devotion, the soul of Mary may be in us to magnify the Lord and the spirit of Mary may be in us to rejoice in God her Saviour.  These are the words of S. Ambrose: “Sit in singulis anima Mariae ut magnificent Dominum, sit in singulis spiritus Mariae ut exulted in Deo.”

These words of S. Ambrose are like an echo of that divine utterance once heard from lips with even more authority.  Who said them?  Who sang them?  Mary herself.

When the Son of God, substantial grace, came to inhabit Mary: ‘gratia plena, Dominus tecum; Verbum caro factum est,’ the Virgin bearing God within her, went away over the mountains to find her cousin at Hebron in Judea.  And when Elizabeth had congratulated her: ‘Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,’ the voice of the Virgin was heard: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.’

Now is it not the same Lord, the same God, the same Saviour who lives in our souls through sanctifying grace and through Holy Communion?

And when Jesus is in a soul, is not Mary there too?  And when implored by us, her faithful slaves, she is asked to speak for us, is it not natural that in us her soul magnifies the Lord, and that in us her spirit rejoices in God her Saviour?

She is our spokesman, the voice of our souls an spirits.  And how beautiful and acceptable must be her praise to God, how pure and comforting her joy!

And at once Blessed de Montfort transposes his thought: ‘Do not think that there was more glory and happiness in Abraham’s bosom than there is in the bosom of Mary, for according to the learned Abbot Guerric, in it God has placed His throne.  “Ne credideris maioris esse felicitates habitare in sinu Abrahae, qui vocabatur Paradisus, quam in sinu Mariae, in quo Dominus posuit thronum suum.”’

First Mary was in us to magnify the Lord and to rejoice in her Saviour.  Now we are in Mary as in a Paradise which is better than Abraham’s bosom.

Not only has the Lord placed His throne in Mary, but for nine months He inhabited her and drew from her the substance of His body.  With Jesus, as spiritual members attached to the head, we are in Mary, and in her we find grace, life, salvation, bliss, since there we find Jesus and God.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLVIII

But let us not believe that God or ourselves will lose anything by this proceeding.  We know that Mary never allows herself to be outdone in generosity, that she conscientiously administers the interests of God and souls, our own and those of our loved ones.

What do we seek by this gift?  Definitely the glory of God, the salvation of our souls and those of our brethren.

And Mary is only a temporary and secondary end, although wonderfully perfect, adequate and indispensable.  And by this practice we give more glory to God and to Jesus Christ in a month than by any other in many years.

If, as says S. Bernard, ‘After Christ, everything was made for Mary,’ it is also correct and permissible to reverse the factors and to say that Mary only exists for the glory of God.  She keeps nothing for herself of all that is surrendered to her.  And Blessed de Montfort in his Treatise of the True Devotion, when he speaks to us of the great glory that this practice gives to God, writes a magnificent page, which is so to the point of what we are discussing that I quote it in full.

‘You never think of Mary without Mary in your place thinking of God.  You never praise or honour Mary, without Mary praising and honouring God.  Mary is altogether relative to God; and indeed I might well call her the relation to God.  She only exists with reference to God.  She is the echo of God, who says nothing, repeats nothing but God.  If you say Mary, she says God.  S. Elisabeth praised Mary and called her blessed because she had believed.  Mary, the faithful echo of God, at once intoned: Magnificat anima mea Dominum…My soul doth magnify the Lord.  That which Mary did then, she does daily now.  When we praise her, love her, honour her, or give anything to her, it is God Who is praised, God Who is loved, God Who is glorified.  We give then to God, by Mary and in Mary.’

This action on Mary’s part, shows plainly, that she is only our secondary end, and that God alone is for us, as for her, our sole, supreme and ultimate end.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLVI

But Mary, what are her rights, her rank, her purpose?  S. Bernard says: ‘After Christ, everything was made for her,’ and Blessed Albert the Great: ‘Jesus died for the glory of God and of Mary.’

Following the example of God and of Jesus, it is, then, neither bold nor out of place to take Mary as the end of our actions.

But clearly she is only a secondary end, an intermediate means for attaining the supreme and final end.

In God the cause and the end are one, for He is our all.  In Mary, in proportion, it is the same thing.

She is the efficient and secondary cause for the production of grace in us.  She is the exemplary cause which makes of us copies of Jesus.  He is our Model; we must approach Him, and in order to do this, look at Mary, go to her, act for her,

She is the Mold of God, ‘forma Dei.’  She must be that for us too, but in a moral sense.  And therefore, we must remain in her power, beneath her moral influence.

Since we belong to Mary by an official deed of gift, Mary will put upon us the seal and stamp of her ownership; ‘ut signaculum super cor meum,’ to love her: ‘ut signaculum super brachium meum,’ to work for her glory.

She is our final cause.  ‘Behold thou shalt do after the law which was given thee in the Mount.’

The slave then must imitate his Mistress in order to be as far as possible another such, in order to resemble yet more Jesus, the eternal archetype.

(To be continued.)

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