Tag Archives: Sanctifying Grace

Mary and God the Father

Ave Maria!

I’m translating an excellent book on dogmatic Mariology. From time to time, I’ll post sections from it. Here’s the first:

a). – Through sanctifying grace Mary is the Daughter of the Father, an adoptive daughter certainly, not a daughter according to nature. But this adoption is so full and so perfect that it closely imitates real filiation. For grace was granted to Mary at the same time as nature at the first moment of conception, and she didn’t need, like other men, to be regenerated. Much more, as grace was due to Christ in fullness, because of His hypostatic union, thus grace was due to Mary in the same way for her divine Maternity, assuming, however her free election to this Maternity. This is why the Fathers often praise her as the beloved daughter, the unique daughter, the only daughter of God. This filiation, however, is related to God the Father only by virtue of an appropriation. In reality, it is referred to the three divine Persons. This is what inspired this song of Dante Alighieri: “Virgin Mother, daughter of thy own son.”

b). – Mary is associated with the Father in the generation of the same Son. The two generations, the eternal and the temporal, end in the same person. In the two generations, the Son is begotten of the substance of the One who generates Him, of the substance of the Father according to the divinity, of the substance of the mother, according to the humanity.

And as the generation of the Word is eternal, it occurs at every moment. And so, at the same moment in which the Virgin conceived Christ in His humanity, the Father also begot Him in His divinity. The generation from the Father, however, does not end in the Son according to the human nature. And the conception of Mary does not end in the Son according to the divine nature. That’s why these two acts remain entirely distinct. The one is always present. The other is past and was very brief.

c). – Because of this same association of the Father and the Virgin in the generation of the same Son, Mary is also sometimes called the Spouse of the Father. This expression is understood very well. But it is a delicate maneuvering, and it is better to refrain from it.

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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 – 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 – 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 – CLXII

(3) ‘Be on your guard also against being distressed if you do not at once enjoy that sweet presence of the Blessed Virgin in your soul.’

What is the nature of this presence of Mary in the soul?

We have already treated this question in the passage entitled ‘The Formation of souls.’  I will not revert to it.  I will only say with Père Lhoumeau that Mary is in us as a moral influence just as the sun is in a room through its light and warmth.  ‘This grace is not given to allWhen God in His great mercy favours a soul with it, it can very easily be lost again if the soul is not faithful to interior recollectionIf this misfortune should happen to you, return humbly to your Sovereign and make ample amends to her.’

‘This presence of Mary,’ remarks Père Lhoumeau, ‘is a favour enjoyed by Blessed de Montfort to an exceptional extent, as can be seen in his life.  He is contemplating his own measure of enjoyment of the privilege when he says: This grace is not given to all.’  For there are indeed degrees.

According to its aspect, height, absence or presence of obstacles, a house will be more or less exposed to and warmed by the sun.  So is it with the soul.  In the measure of the direction of its thought to Mary, its repeated calls, its flight from sin and its faithfulness to grace, it will enjoy a more or less intimate and sensible presence of the Blessed Virgin.  This is why Blessed de Montfort invites everyone to the practice of this perfect devotion, promising as its fruit without reserve ‘that the soul of Mary will be in us: Sit in me anima tua ut magnificent Dominum; sit in me spiritus tuus, ut exulted in Deo.’

Let us note: ‘It is true he imposes as an absolute condition a persevering practice of this devotion; and if this presence of Mary is not granted to all, it is because but few, even to a moderate degree, are faithful to its spirit.’

As for us, let us, by our correspondence to grace and our generous perseverance, deserve to have and to feel the sweet influence of Mary in our souls to illuminate them and strengthen them in their union with God.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – CLXI

(2) ‘Moreover beware of doing violence to yourself in order to feel and taste what you say or do.’

This is indeed a danger and a danger to which beginners are subject; it is as follows.  In their new and inexperienced fervor, their intense eagerness and almost greedy spirituality make them bent on finding and feeling sensible sweetness in their prayers and their actions.  This can be a snare of the evil one.  Let us beware of this inordinate desire for consolations.  Let us seek as the Imitation bids us ‘rather the God of consolations than the consolations of God.’

And so, ‘speak and act in that pure faith which Mary had when she was on earth and which, in due time, she will communicate to you.’

The essential, is, then to act with a great purity of intention, with an entire abandonment and a complete disinterestedness as regards sensible satisfactions.  Père Lhoumeau stresses the importance of this lesson as ‘very useful for the beginner and for those who are apt to think that their acts have no value unless accompanied by sensible sweetness.’  It is a commonplace of spirituality that union with God is achieved not through sentimental eagerness, a passing emotion, the fervour of an hour, but by a firm and permanent act of the will.

All her life Mary had a clear vision of the will and good pleasure of God.  It is this will, this divine good pleasure and not, in reality, our personal satisfaction which we must seek.  By an interior renunciation of our own intentions, of any reversion to ourselves, of any rights of possession, we assume the intentions of Mary.  And then, whether we have sensible sweetness or spiritual dryness, we shall be calm and content.  Mary will come when she thinks well, to console and delight us.

Poor little slave!’ says Blessed Grignion, ‘leave the Beatific Vision, the transports, the joys, the pleasures and the raptures to your Sovereign, and take as your own portion only a pure faith full of disgusts, distractions, weariness and dryness.’

It is very true that our faith is full of darkness, dryness, temptation.  We are on our way at night, and our only light is the distant gleam of the eternal light.  But that must suffice us.  A steadfast faith founded on revelation, a boundless confidence in the infallible word of God, an invincible hope in the promises of God the Father, and a love which knows no fear of hesitation, these must shine upon our acts, in our hearts, to fill them with God and impel them to Him.

Patience and submission in the faith with Mary: yet a little while and that slight veil which hides the vision from our eager sight will be rent, we shall see, we shall understand, we shall love.

While waiting for your flight to the pure light of glory, Christian soul, be at peace with Mary.  ‘Say, Amen, so be it! to all that Mary, your Heavenly Mistress does.’  Stay like a child, like a little slave at her feet, your gaze fixed upon her hands, her eyes, her lips, her heart, while you await her commands, her inspirations, her intentions, her maternal love.  ‘This is the best you can do for the present.’  Later on, the clear vision of glory, the contemplation of the Beatific Vision, the enjoyment of a cloudless, unmitigated bliss.  To-day let us be content with simple faith and obedient fulfillment of the will of God in Mary.  It is  difficult, but it is meritorious.

Let us love to recite often and reverently the prayer to Mary.  ‘May the continual sight of God fill my memory with His presence…I do not ask of thee either visions or revelations, or relish, or raptures, or even spiritual pleasures.  It is for thee to see clearly without any shadow, to taste without any bitterness…For my portion here below, I wish for no other joy but the one thou didst have here, that is to say, to believe in pure faith without relish or vision; to suffer joyously without consolation from creatures…The only grace I ask thee is that every day I may say three times: Amen, so be it.’

(To be continued.)

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Happy Feast of the Visitation!

Today we come to the end of Mary’s month.  I am pleased to say that I finished translating Fr. Emil Neubert’s “Vie de Marie.”  Check out what he has to say about today’s Feast!  Betcha never heard it described like this.


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