Tag Archives: Union with Mary

Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LXVI

And now Blessed de Montfort shows the difference between the two methods: that of the sculptor and that of the molder.

Oh! what a difference there is between the soul which has been formed in Jesus Christ by the ordinary ways of those who, like sculptors, trust to their mere natural skill and rely on their own efforts, and the soul which, really docile, really detached, thoroughly tractable, and not trusting in itself, abandons itself to Mary to be modeled and fashioned.’

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LXV

Mary, he says, ‘is the great mold of God, made by the Holy Ghost in order to form a God-Man by the Hypostatic union and by grace, a Man-God.’

You see the correlation and its gradation.  You see the cause for which God so magnificently formed Mary: that she might be form a God-Man according to nature and men-gods according to grace.

In this mold no feature of the Godhead is wanting.’

We have sufficiently shown the incomparable greatness of Mary, her wealth of virtue, grace, gifts, merit and glory, her treasures of bounty and power.  We need not go back to them.  This mold is divine since it served to form a God made Man; it is for this reason that Blessed de Montfort would have it serve to form men made gods.

Whosoever,’ he says, ‘is thrown into it and allows himself to be freely handled, receives therein the likeness of Jesus Christ, True God.’

Whoever is cast in this divine mold which is Mary, and is docile, receives the likeness of Jesus Christ, True God, ‘in a manner gentle and proportioned to human weakness without much pain or labor,’ even as a child is treated by its mother according to its strong or weak constitution.  And when there are bitter pills to swallow, Mary gives them in the sugar of her love.  ‘It is safe and without fear of illusion, for where Mary is, the devil has never and never will have access.  Lastly it is done in a manner all holy and immaculate without the shadow of the least stain of sin.’  These clear words need no explanation.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LXII

A sculptor,’ says Blessed de Montfort, ‘may make a statue or may represent nature in two ways.  First with the help of good instruments, he may by his skill, strength, hard work and professional knowledge, chisel it out of some hard and shapeless material, or secondly, he may cast it in a mould.’

Of the two, the statue sculptured from a block of marble or the effigy modelled in a mould, which will be…I do not say the richer…but the more beautiful, the more artistic, the more sought after?  It is a matter of opinion.  You may reasonably maintain that a statue, chiselled in gold or silver, hewn out of marble or granite, by a clever workman will have intrinsic and artistic value, having regard to the material and the skill, greater than that of a plaster or bronze presentment cast in a blind, uniform and unvarying mould.  Granted; but I ask you to note that it is not from this point of view that we must look at the question.

From the supernatural point of view it is the soul which is to be formed in the image of Our Lord.  It is, then, of importance to know if by personal efforts, unskilled, painful, spasmodic and slow as they are, we shall be able to produce an image of holiness, as adequate and as like Jesus, as if we cast ourselves entirely in Mary as in a mould, by means of a perfect devotion.

The most beautiful work that Mary achieved was Jesus.  Even if a Saint could ever have formed himself in the image of Christ without the intervention of Mary, he would only be, for all his perfection, a pale and distant copy of the ideal Exemplar formed in Mary.  And what would such a one be by the side of the giants of Mary’s school: S. John, S. Augustine, S. Bernard, S. Francis de Sales, S. Jean Eudes, Blessed de Montfort, the Holy Curé d’Ars?  But you will not find this hypothetical saint.  Since Jesus, it is Mary who, of necessity, trains the saints and the predestinate.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – LIX

Then Blessed de Montfort, in one brief luminous phrase, characterizes this life: ‘Whosoever then is elect and predestinate has the Blessed Virgin dwelling in him, that is to say, in his soul.’

Strange words!  Actually it is the interior life in Mary which Blessed Louis is here describing.  But what is the nature of this interior life, the form of this indwelling, the special manner of this presence of Mary within the soul?

I remember well that Montfort admitted to M. Blain that ‘God favored him with a very special grace, namely the continual presence of Jesus and Mary in the depths of his soul.’  And of this presence in him, he sang in a wonderful hymn:

          “Voici ce qu’on ne pourra croire:

          Je la porte au milieu de moi.

          Gravée avec des traits de gloire

          Quoique dans l’obscur de la foi.”

What was this presence?  Can we, like the saints, be blessed with it?  Are we really eligible for its benefits?

Certainly.  And this is how Père Lhoumeau thinks the indwelling of Mary in the soul can be explained: ‘Her presence in us is in no way comparable with that of God living in the soul by grace and making it participate in His divine life.  Neither are we to believe that the Blessed Virgin is in our souls in person.  And so the accusation of certain protestants that Blessed de Montfort implied the omnipresence of Mary is absolutely false.  At the same time we must remember that under the title of Mother of God (a title which is hers personally and exclusively) Mary sees our souls, and is with us really, individually and intimately, in a way more complete and more excellent than are the angels and saints in Heaven.  Hence we are present to her and she is morally present to us, for by her prayers, watchfulness and influence, she acts in union with the Holy Ghost in the forming of Jesus in our souls.  In the same way we may say that the sun is in a place into which its light and its warmth penetrate, even though it is not there itself.’

What more is there to say?  The Christ as God inhabits the soul which is in a state of grace.  The habitual presence of Mary in the soul consists in a moral indwelling, a maternal presence, prayerful, helpful and controlling.  Through her, life supernatural and divine gradually and surely penetrates.  And this is the way, concludes Blessed Louis, in which ‘God allows her to plant the roots of profound humility, of ardent charity and of every virtue in His elect.’

And what an intense life this presupposes!  What a harvest of holiness if we place ourselves in Mary’s hands!  So it is that Mary’s maternal function is exercised and gloriously developed in the formation of souls whose deep humility will implant them in her, who called herself the little handmaid of the Lord, and whose ardent charity will, through the Mother of all love, bear their devotion up to God.

(To be continued.)

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Secret Way of the Enclosed Garden – XXVII

4. To find this grace, it is necessary to find Mary.

De Montfort knew this way, and taught it, but for the moment he is not thinking of this nor is he discussing it.  He is seeking something else which shall contain all ways and facilitate them.

The important thing therefore is to find an easy means of obtaining from God the grace which is necessary to enable us to become saintsIt is this I wish to teach you.’  It is what he calls his secret.  ‘Now,’ he announces, ‘I say that to find this grace of God, it is necessary to find Mary.’

‘It is this means of finding the grace of God,’ remarks Père Lhoumeau, ‘that characterizes the devotion of Blessed de Montfort and makes it a special form of spiritual life.’

To find grace, we must find Mary, for Mary only has found the fullness of grace.  ‘Invenisti gratiam apud Deum.’  Let us examine how Mary found grace with God.

(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 – XI

We will close this introduction by the words which Montfort wrote in his Treatise of the True Devotion:

‘As there are secrets of nature for doing in a short time, at little cost and with facility, natural operations, so also in like manner there are secrets in the order of grace to do in a short time with sweetness and facility supernatural operations, such as emptying ourselves of self, filling ourselves with God and becoming perfect.’

‘The practice which I am about to disclose is one of these secrets of grace, unknown by the greater number of Christians, known to few even of the devout and practiced by a far less number still.’

(To be continued.)

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