Category Archives: Virtues

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXIV

Blessed de Montfort points out some of those means which are at once the result of the efforts of our will and of the supernatural multiplication of our acts.

They are,’ he says, ‘humility of heart, continual prayer, mortification in all things, abandonment to Divine Providence and conformity to the will of God.’

The mind which pushes each of these terms to its utmost limit will draw from them much luminous and suggestive meaning.  De Montfort had weighed them well.  In their daily practice and in their application to everything which constitutes our moral and supernatural life, we do indeed find the most propitious means for edifying and sanctifying our souls.

‘Humility of Heart.’  Every material edifice, every spiritual work needs a foundation.  Humility is the foundation of all the virtues.  If faith is the foundation of the truths which we must believe, humility is the foundation of all the virtues which we must practice.  And we must bear in mind that in order to practice definite virtue, we must first humble ourselves, our intelligence, our will, our judgment, our heart, our body: charity, faith, obedience, gentleness, patience, work, mortification, etc.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXII

The means of attaining salvation and holiness,’ says de Montfort, ‘are known to all.  They are mentioned in the Gospel, explained by the Masters of the spiritual life, practiced by the saints, and are necessary to everyone who desires to attain salvation.’  When the Son of God on the day of the Incarnation descended into the most pure womb of Mary, He brought with Him a religion which has regenerated the world.  He preached the Gospel.  The Gospel is a body of doctrine capable of satisfying intelligences and wills however eager for supernatural wisdom or moral perfection.  The most exacting thinkers in their most profound and sagacious investigations have not exhausted the wealth of ideas in its seams or the meaning, sublime and ever new, with which its mine is fraught.

Saints of the most exalted virtue have yet to mount the boundless heights of which it teaches.  The Gospel, then, is able to satisfy those most exacting as to doctrine and perfection.

For three years the Savior preached this doctrine of divine knowledge and supernatural holiness; to an amazed world He showed virtues which were ldeal, new, attractive.  He taught ceaselessly a sublime, consoling doctrine, so strong that the finest minds quailed before it, so luminous that the boldest conceptions of human reason paled in its light, so moral that it was to transform the world, and be the means by which material being could rise to the dizzy heights of sanctity.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XX

2. In order to sanctify ourselves, we must practice virtue.

Man created in the image of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, revived by sanctifying grace, is faced by an inevitable problem.  If it is true that all does not end with death in the grave, where his body will be laid, if it is true that his soul survives the decay of its earthly fellow pilgrim, that it longs to live and is destined to live an endless life, the soul must then have the wisdom and the prudence to ensure to itself the possession of that life.  Hence the problem of its destiny.  To ensure the enjoyment of this future glorious life, which in reality is only the consummation, the flowering of the Christian life, we have understood that the acquiring of holiness is absolutely necessary.  At least it is indispensable to close our eyes and our earthly course in the friendship of God, for nothing that is not pure, just and conformable to the eternal law shall enter the Heavenly Kingdom.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XVI

But this general redemption is not all.  Merit is ours.  God will apply it to us individually by means of a Sacrament, Baptism.  Through it and the infinite merits of the Spotless Lamb, God takes from the soul its sins, gives it supernatural faith, and makes it share His own life.

When the priest, as he pours water upon the head of the future member of the Church, pronounces these liturgical words: ‘I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,’ there at once takes place in the soul of the subject a peerless wonder, a complete transformation, invisible but real, an amazing miracle, which more effectually than in the sudden restoration of a paralyzed limb, restores the soul and makes of it the wondrous image of the Holy Trinity.  Original sin is destroyed.  Satan loses his rights and flees.  God takes possession of His temple, and infuses into the soul the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, communicates to it His own divine life, and the possibility of producing works of merit and acquiring by them a clear right to the inheritance of the saints in light.

And the communication of this supernatural and divine life and of all these benefits makes him who is baptized an entirely new creature, truly divine, a child of God, ‘a partaker of the divine nature,’ says S. Peter.

So that at the hour of baptism and in the state of sanctifying grace the soul resembles God, for God transmits to Him His own life and communicates to him His own nature.

It is when I receive a life similar to that of my parents that I am their image and can say to them: ‘Father, Mother.’

It is when I receive from God a life similar to His that I am His image and that I can say to Him: ‘Father.’  Thus I become the image, the child, the redeemed and sanctified soul, the temple of the Most Holy Trinity.

We can then never too much esteem our Baptism and the sanctifying grace which create us again anew in the divine image and semblance.

(To be continued.)

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Living In Mary

I think we should bear in mind here that St. Louis-Marie in this part of the True Devotion is writing of one proficient in its practice.  To live in Mary denotes a stage of the spiritual life that is the result of co-operating with many graces.  In itself it is a special grace from the Holy Ghost.  Montfort already had indicated this in the True Devotion.  ‘As the essential part of this devotion consists in the interior state of the soul which it must form, it will not be equally understood by everyone.  Some – and by far the greater number – will stop at the exterior and go no further.  Some – but few will penetrate to the interior, but they will reach only the first degree.  Who will reach the second?  Who will reach the third?  Finally, who will remain in it as in a permanent state?  He alone to whom the Spirit of Jesus Christ will reveal this secret.’

Now Montfort reminds us of this truth.  ‘But how difficult it is for sinners such as we are to have the permission, the ability, & the light to enter a spot so high and so holy; a spot guarded not by a cherub, as was the first earthly paradise, but by the Holy Ghost Himself, Who has made Himself absolute Master of it & says of Mary: Hortus conclusus, soror mea sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus.  Mary is closed, Mary is sealed.  The wretched children of Adam and Eve, driven from the earthly paradise, can enter this new Paradise only by a special grace of the Holy Ghost, which they must merit.’

We prepare ourselves that God may be placed to grant us this grace by our persevering in the way of Mary.  ‘After we have obtained this singular grace by our fidelity.’

…we now ask Our Blessed Lady to guard the grace of God in our soul.  Being consecrated to her, we must seriously recommend this to her.  We want the grace of God in our soul to be guarded by her charity, her purity, her humility and other virtues.

Instead of trusting in ourselves when temptations arise we turn immediately to the Blessed Virgin.

As the practice of the True Devotion develops, the soul is taken up with the idea of being ‘in’ Mary.  She is our ‘Tower of David’, our ‘Tower of Ivory’, our ‘House of Gold’ in which we place ourselves.  The interior life is fostered in that atmosphere of Mary.

The Immaculate Way

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With Mary

In dealing with others we seek after the charity of Our Lady.  People may be bothersome, they may get on our nerves, but how would Mary act if she were in our place?…Having the courage to act with her is the test of our devotion.

 The Immaculate Way

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St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

“It is our ideal that God might be glorified.  Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort says that Jesus is not sufficiently known and loved, because people do not know and love His Mother as they ought.

“We must strive that in all things we love Jesus as She did.  And, may our love reach that height that it might be the very own love of the Immaculate One.”

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

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