“The Secret of Mary”

Carrie at Beggars All has discovered St. Louis de Montfort, and gives some extracts from The Secret of Mary.

23. The difficulty, then, is how to arrive at the true knowledge of the most holy Virgin and so find grace in abundance through her. God, as the absolute Master, can give directly what he ordinarily dispenses only through Mary, and it would be rash to deny that he sometimes does so. However, St Thomas assures us that, following the order established by his divine Wisdom, God ordinarily imparts his graces to men through Mary. Therefore, if we wish to go to him, seeking union with him, we must use the same means which he used in coming down from heaven to assume our human nature and to impart his graces to us. That means was a complete dependence on Mary his Mother, which is true devotion to her.

28. Chosen soul, this devotion consists in surrendering oneself in the manner of a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through her, and then performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary. Let me explain this statement further.

29. We should choose a special feast-day on which to give ourselves. Then, willingly and lovingly and under no constraint, we consecrate and sacrifice to her unreservedly our body and soul. We give to her our material possessions, such as house, family, income, and even the inner possessions of our soul, namely, our merits, graces, virtues and atonements. Notice that in this devotion we sacrifice to Jesus through Mary all that is most dear to us, that is, the right to dispose of ourselves, of the value of our prayers and alms, of our acts of self- denial and atonements. This is a sacrifice which no religious order would require of its members. We leave everything to the free disposal of our Lady, for her to use as she wills for the greater glory of God, of which she alone is perfectly aware.

30. We leave to her the right to dispose of all the satisfactory and prayer value of our good deeds, so that, after having done so and without going so far as making a vow, we cease to be master over any good we do. Our Lady may use our good deeds either to bring relief or deliverance to a soul in purgatory, or perhaps to bring a change of heart to a poor sinner.

31. By this devotion we place our merits in the hands of our Lady, but only that she may preserve, increase and embellish them, since merit for increase of grace and glory cannot be handed over to any other person. But we give to her all our prayers and good works, inasmuch as they have intercessory and atonement value, for her to distribute and apply to whom she pleases. If, after having thus consecrated ourselves to our Lady, we wish to help a soul in purgatory, rescue a sinner, or assist a friend by a prayer, an alms, an act of self-denial or an act of self-sacrifice, we must humbly request it of our Lady, abiding always by her decision, which of course remains unknown to us. We can be fully convinced that the value of our actions, being dispensed by that same hand which God himself uses to distribute his gifts and graces to us, cannot fail to be applied for his greatest glory.

50. Beware, chosen soul, of thinking that it is more perfect to direct your work and intention straight to Jesus or straight to God. Without Mary, your work and your intention will be of little value. But if you go to God through Mary, your work will become Mary’s work, and consequently will be most noble and most worthy of God.

55. This devotion faithfully practised produces countless happy effects in the soul. The most important of them is that it establishes, even here on earth, Mary’s life in the soul, so that it is no longer the soul that lives, but Mary who lives in it. In a manner of speaking, Mary’s soul becomes identified with the soul of her servant. Indeed when by an unspeakable but real grace Mary most holy becomes Queen of a soul, she works untold wonders in it. She is a great wonder-worker especially in the interior of souls. She works there in secret, unsuspected by the soul, as knowledge of it might destroy the beauty of her work.

4 thoughts on ““The Secret of Mary”

  1. Many very devout Catholics would be quite uncomfortable with this! We know Jesus and the Holy Spirit are working in our souls, and do not credit Mary with all this activity. And, as you know, just because someone has been named a “saint” does not make all his writings exemplary. And even if they have been approved by the Church, that does not make them part of divine revelation. They are private and optional and only for devotion. St. Louis’ temperament and times are to be considered, too. He did believe that we could come TO JESUS through Mary, but his flowery language is what we would call “over the top.” His motto was “God Alone,” and it is difficult for us to understand from this time and place how his thinking came to included such a strong emphasis on Mary. His context was much different from ours.

  2. As a practicing Catholic, with regular Marian devotions, I am not comfortable with De-Monfort.

    Nonetheless I have seen friends drawn to Christ in great part due to the influences of writings such as those above. A friend of mine, who makes his consecrations to the Virgin and such, has a Marian piety that I wouldn’t be able to participate in. Nevertheless, I would have to say his love of Christ is very evident and he is filled with a faith that I pray for, for my own self. This hyperbolistic piety seems not have obscured the centrality and singular uniqueness of the Lord.

    I think its important to remember that, for Catholics, the real center of our worship life is the Holy Mass which is Christo-centric in a profound way. All other devotions revolve around and support our worship of God in the holy Liturgy. The structure here preserves the fact well that, without Christ, all those whom we turn to in Christ would disappear.

  3. I’ve always wonder how Catholics jive this with the Eucharist and Baptism. Those are means of grace–how, then, are they “given through Mary?” Catholic liturgical tradition is noticeably devoid of any reference to Mary playing a critical role in transubstantiation or baptismal regeneration. Wherever Mary shows up in Catholic liturgy, it’s always an after-thought, almost overtly, “And by the way, we should mention Mary at some point, because she rocks!”

    This incongruity makes it easy for me to view the Marian cult as an addition to the Christian faith rather than a fundamental part of it, and makes further the claim that all grace is given through Mary as without warrant even within the context of Catholic assumptions, that is, if lex orandi, lex credendi has any real meaning besides an ad-hoc proof for the veracity of Ineffabilis Deus.

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