33 Reasons to Consecrate Yourself to Mary

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‘Thy face is full of graces.’  Esther 15:17

+ CONTENTS

PART I:

  • ‘And Her Riches I Hide Not’ (Wis. 7:13)
  • ‘De Maria Numquam Satis’ – Of Mary, Never Enough!
  • ‘Oculi Mei Semper Ad Dominum’ (Ps. 24:15) – My Eyes are Ever Towards the Lord
  • Mary Magnifies the Lord; She Leads Souls to the Most-High
  • Mary: Terror of Demons
  • ‘Her Children Rose Up, and Called Her Blessed’ (Prov. 31:28)
  • The Ave Maria: A Simple Key to Understanding Marian Devotion
  • A Simple Yet Infallible Means for Coming to Know Mary
  • A Final Word for the Centenary of Fatima

PART II:

  • 33 REASONS TO CONSECRATE YOURSELF TO JESUS, THROUGH MARY (This material is suitable for use as a preparation for Total Consecration, or as a renewal of one’s Consecration)
  • Act of Consecration to the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin

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PART I

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And Her Riches I Hide Not’ (Wis. 7:13)

In 17th century France, a holy Visitandine, Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. 1692), was to echo the teaching of so many Saints, Doctors, mystics and theologians who had preceded her; and a prodigious number, in turn, would echo the sentiments of this little-known Servant of God. Speaking of a vision in which she was privileged to behold the august Queen of Heaven, she declares:

“O God! who can relate the beauty and the grandeur of that incomparable Queen!… I am not afraid of asserting that nothing that has ever been said of the glory enjoyed by that sovereign Queen of Heaven comes even near to what I have seen of it; so that the little sight of it which was granted me took away all the pleasure I used to have before in hearing her praises proclaimed, so low and unworthy has the human expression of them seemed to me since then.”

Upon hearing such words, it might seem somewhat presumptuous to attempt to speak of the dignity and beauty of Our Lady – but this is certainly not the case. St. Alphonsus did not write ‘The Glories of Mary’ for nothing, and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church does not put the following words on the lips of the Mother of God without just cause: ‘They that explain me shall have life everlasting’ (Ecclus. 24:31). Let us proceed, then, to reflect a little upon the unique prerogatives of the Mother of God.

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‘De Maria Numquam Satis’ – Of Mary, Never Enough!

One must always bear in mind that, however much we honour Our Lady, we will never be able to honour her as much as God Himself, Who, through ‘the angel Gabriel’ (Lk. 1:26), was the first to call her ‘blessed’:

‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ (Lk. 1:28)

Yes, blessed, truly blessed is Mary, ‘fairest among women’ (Cant. 1:7), for even prior to the Incarnation she was ‘full of grace’ and the Lord was with her! “For who could call her empty,” asks St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church, “whom the angel greeted as full of grace? Nor was this all, but he also declared that the Holy Ghost would come upon her. For what purpose, but to fill her to overflowing?And why this, but so that when the Spirit should come and find her already full, she would then brim over, and overflow upon us?”

“So full of grace” is she, that St. Thomas, Doctor of the Church, does not hesitate to say that “… it overflows onto all mankind.” “She is so filled with dilection,” said Our Lord to Bl. Agnes de Langeac (d. 1634), “that it is she who gives love to the Cherubim and Seraphim.”

But of course, for Our Lady is “the sacred and living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator Himself” (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church) – that is, He of Whose ‘fulness we all have received’ (Jn. 1:16). She is “the Mother of the Lord, the temple of the living God, the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit” (St. Isidore, Doctor of the Church); she is the Immaculate Conception, of whom it is said: ‘Wisdom hath built herself a house’ (Prov. 9:1) – and, more emphatically still: ‘NOW ALL GOOD THINGS CAME TO ME TOGETHER WITH HER, AND INNUMERABLE RICHES THROUGH HER HANDS.’ (Wis. 7:11).

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‘Who is she,’ we ask, ‘that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?’ (Cant. 6:9) Do these words not constitute an apt description of the Immaculate Virgin? Undoubtedly. “She is,” said Jesus to Bl. Agnes de Langeac, “the true unchanging moon that has banished darkness by her virtues… She is the most beautiful and the most perfect of all creatures.” “Because she was humblest among angels and men,” said an Angel to St. Bridget of Sweden (whose revelations were approved by the Ecumenical Council of Constance), “she has been raised up highest over all creation, the most beautiful creature of all and the one most like to God Himself.” (The Angel’s Discourse, Ch. 20)

“It is not possible for the Mother of God not to be heard, according to that which Solomon spoke to his mother by way of a figure:

MY MOTHER, ASK: FOR I MUST NOT TURN AWAY THY FACE (3 Kings 2:20).

– St. Antoninus

‘Oculi Mei Semper Ad Dominum’ (Ps. 24:15) – My Eyes are Ever Towards the Lord

In the book of Ezekiel we read: ‘And he brought me back toward the outer gate of the sanctuary which looked toward the east; and it was shut. And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shut’ (Ezek. 44:1-2). What is this mysterious east gate of which the Scriptures speak? “The east gate,” writes St. Aelred of Rievaulx, “is Mary most holy. For the gate which faces east generally receives the brightness of the sun first. So, Mary most blessed, who always looked to the east, to the brightness of God, first received within herself the ray, indeed, the whole fulness of the brightness of the true sun – the Son of God, of whom Zachary said: The rising sun visited us from on high (Lk. 1:78).”

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If only souls knew what a treasure they possess in Mary! What dignity belongs to our dearest Mother, ‘exceedingly beautiful’ (Jud. 8:7) and ‘to all men’s eyes incomparably lovely’ (Jud. 10:4)! ‘There is not such another woman upon earth in look, in beauty, and in sense of words’ (Jud. 11:19).

With St. Ephraem (d. 373), Doctor of the Church, let us proclaim unhesitatingly: “With the Mediator, you [Mary] are the Mediatrix of the entire world.” The priest, acting ‘in persona Christi,’ often imparts a blessing to souls in the following words: “Dominus vobiscum” (“The Lord be with you”); but only of our Blessed Mother, the resting-place of the Most-High (cf. Ecclus. 24:12), could it be said, even while still dwelling in this ‘vale of tears’ (Ps. 83:7): “Dominus tecum” (“The Lord is with you”).

Yes, dear Queen of Heaven, Jesus is and ever will be the Blessed Fruit of your womb; nourish us, then, with ‘the Bread of Life’ (Jn. 6:48) ‘[in] whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3). “Show thyself a mother,” for you are ‘the mother of all the living’ (Gen. 3:20). ‘And do thou call upon the Lord, and speak to the king for us, and deliver us from death’ (Esther 15:3). ‘Blessed art thou, by thy God, in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee’ (Jud. 13:31).

Mary Magnifies the Lord; She Leads Souls to the Most-High

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‘And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord’ (Lk. 1:46). Yes, Mary ‘doth magnify the Lord’ – these words are, in some sense, a distillation of all Marian theology. Why did the Eternal Father entrust Mary with His only-begotten Son, if not because, in the words of Almighty God to St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, she is the “sweet bait” of Heaven, whose raison d’être is to conquer Satan and lead souls to intimate union with Jesus? ‘Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight’ (Mt. 11:26). ‘For this will be a glorious monument for Thy name, when he shall fall by the hand of a woman’ (Jud. 9:15).

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Ask yourself: Do the Saints detract from the glory of God? Certainly not; for God is ‘glorified in His saints’ (2 Thess. 1:10); the ‘brightness of the saints’ (Ps. 109:3) reflects His infinite, Uncreated Glory. How, then, can one argue that Mary detracts from the glory of God, when history and Scripture reveal that ‘she maketh the friends of God and prophets’ (Wis. 7:27)?

Read the following, slowly: ‘And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb’ (Lk. 1:41-42). Do not fear that Mary could lead you from the Way, for He is always with her: ‘I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him: and I will not let Him go’ (Cant. 3:4). Mary was and, in some sense will forever be, ‘found with child, of the Holy Ghost’ (Mt. 1:18). “The two,” says St. Bernadette Soubirous, “cannot be separated. Jesus and Mary always go together.” One who blesses Mary will, without fail, bless God and draw down His favours! ‘Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord, the most high God, above all women upon the earth’ (Jud. 13:23).

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Mary: Terror of Demons

Satan hates nothing more than when a soul draws nigh to the Mother of God. Why? Because she is our most powerful advocate with her Divine Son; she is, quite literally, the Mother of Mercy. “Call Me Mercy,” said Our Lord to Ven. Louise Margaret (d. 1915).

Oh Lady, what the prayers of all these saints can obtain, in union with thine, thou canst obtain, by thy intercession alone without their aid.”

St. Anselm, Doctor of the Church

“God gave her such power over the evil spirits,” said an Angel to St. Bridget of Sweden, “that whenever they attack anyone devoutly imploring her aid, they scatter right off in fear and flee far away at her merest nod” (The Angel’s Discourse, Ch. 20). The demons are terrified of the Immaculate; they are powerless against her. God will not so much as allow the demons to speak a word against Mary. ‘And she was greatly renowned among all, because she feared the Lord very much, neither was there any one that spoke an ill word of her’ (Jud 8:8). ‘The Lord hath blessed thee,’ O powerful Virgin, ‘by His power, because by thee He hath brought our enemies to nought’ (Jud. 13:22).

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‘Her Children Rose Up, and Called Her Blessed’ (Prov. 31:28)

In imitation of so many great Saints, whose divine Election has been confirmed by extraordinary charity and countless miracles, let us make the words of the Almighty Father, of St. Gabriel and of St. Elizabeth our own – especially by means of praying the Holy Rosary. “The recitation of the Rosary – that is what Lucifer hates” (Père Lamy). There is nothing to fear. “He who loves Jesus,” says St. Crescentia, “will also love His Mother. He who loves the Mother will likewise love the Son.” The Saints bear witness to this. The words of St. Maximilian Kolbe are being confirmed every day: “It can be said that all the Saints are the work of the Blessed Virgin, and that a special devotion to her is their common characteristic.” ‘Her children rose up, and called her blessed’ (Prov. 31:28). ‘And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up a treasure’ (Ecclus. 3:5).

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If we wish to have God as our Father, we must take for our Mother her who said: ‘from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed’ (Lk. 1:48). So be prudent: ‘Receive the words of thy handmaid, for if thou wilt follow the words of thy handmaid, the Lord will do with thee a perfect thing’ (Jud. 11:4). And what does ‘the handmaid of the Lord’ (Lk. 1:38) say to us? ‘Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye’ (Jn. 2:5). ‘All that shall be good and best before His eyes, I will do. And whatsoever shall please Him, that shall be best to me all the days of my life’ (Jud. 12:14).

Imitate St. John, the “Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and “the Guardian of the Virgin”*: ‘Behold thy mother’ (Jn. 19:27). ‘But the Mother of the child said: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. He arose, therefore, and followed her’ (2 Kings 4:30). ‘And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own’ (Jn. 19:27).

*St. Gertrude the Great had a vision in which she beheld these words inscribed on golden lilies that were attached to the shoulders of St. John.

“Consider, Bernard, my son, that he [St. John] is the first-born of my adopted sons and the model of my cherished ones: aspire to imitate his love for me and for my most holy Son.”

– Our Lady to Bl. Bernard Francis de Hoyos

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“Know that the distance from Heaven to Earth is not so great as from my love to thine.” – Our Lady to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (d. 1617) “Give up thy devotion to Mary, and I will cease to tempt thee.” – Satan to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

The Ave Maria: A Simple Key to Understanding Marian Devotion

Take note of the structure of the ‘Hail Mary.’ If one looks at this powerful little prayer in Latin – the Church’s “mother-tongue,” and that language so feared by the demons – they will discover that it consists of 31 words. Now, pay close attention to the middle-word of the Ave Maria, the first word of which (‘Ave’) ought to remind us that it was subsequent to Gabriel’s ‘Ave’ that Eva’s knot of disobedience was untied (‘Ave’ is ‘Eva’ backwards):

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.

Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui,

IESUS. 

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.

Amen.

Let this simple observation be for us a reminder that the Rosary – as with all authentic Marian devotion –is Christo-centric, and that if we wish to seek Jesus, Who is an infinite ‘treasure hidden in a field’ (Mt. 13:44), we must seek Him in and with Mary, who is that ‘plentiful field, which the Lord hath blessed’ (Gen. 27:27).

Also, notice how the Holy Name of Jesus is nestled between Maria, gratia plena – Mary, full of grace, and Sancta Maria – Holy Mary. We, too, should let Mary embrace us. ‘Take hold on her, and she shall exalt thee: thou shalt be glorified by her, when thou shalt embrace her’ (Prov. 4:8). Can anything but an immense good come from imitating Jesus in this regard? Did He not live in the closest union with Our Lady for the 30 years preceding His public ministry? (Again, look at the structure of the prayer). And did He not remain close to Mary – at least in spirit – throughout His public ministry, even until the end?

A Simple Yet Infallible Means for Coming to Know Mary

The purpose of this article is to lead us to Jesus, through Mary; this is the end of all authentic Marian devotion. If the thought of asking for Mary’s intercession leaves you feeling a bit perplexed, begin by praying the following Scriptures, and, provided that you are seeking God, you will find that, in time, God will reward you with a sincere affection for she who is the sweetest, dearest, purest Queen of Hearts:

‘Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women’ (Lk. 1:28) ‘and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb [Jesus]’ (Lk. 1:41-42). ‘[Jesus,] I am Thine: save Thou me’ (Ps. 118:94). ‘I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy handmaid’ (Ps. 115:16). ‘O look upon me, and have mercy on me: give Thy command to Thy servant, and save the son of Thy handmaid’ (Ps. 85:16).

A Final Word for the Centenary of Fatima

This year (2017) is not only the centenary of Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal; it also marks the 175th anniversary of the discovery (in 1842) of St. Louis de Montfort’s masterful work, ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.’ This book is a classic: it is prophetic, inspiring and altogether life-changing if one takes time with it. Why else would Our Lady herself have left a copy of ‘The Secret of Mary’ (which is essentially a distillation of ‘True Devotion’) on Ven. Marthe Robin’s divan bed, saying that she desired this book to be spread across the globe? (While bedridden and too weak to make the Sign of the Cross, Ven. Marthe Robin was assisted by the guiding hand of her Blessed Mother – so solicitous is Mary for the welfare of her children!)

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It is my hope that this humble article will contribute in some way to fulfilling Our Lord’s desire that souls entrust themselves without reserve to their Blessed Mother. The fruits of this devotion are eternal.

This article henceforth follows a very simple structure:

  1. A quote from ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin’ by St. Louis de Montfort
  2. An accompanying quotation

If you want to know more about how and when to consecrate yourself to Mary, according to the recommendations of St. Louis de Montfort, you will find the following link useful:

https://www.fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html

Also, ‘The Secret of Mary’: http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/secret.htm

At the end of the article you will find a beautiful little formula for consecrating yourself to Mary. This prayer was dictated by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. 1916).

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PART II

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33 REASONS TO CONSECRATE YOURSELF TO JESUS, THROUGH MARY

WEEK 1

-1- Mary is Mediatrix of All Graces

‘The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which He does not pass through her virginal hands.’

“I am the mediatrix between God and men; all graces pass through my hands.” – Our Lady to St. Veronica Giuliani

-2- Mary’s Will is Perfectly Aligned with God’s Will

‘Mary, being altogether transformed into God by grace [so to speak], and by the glory which transforms all the Saints into Him, asks nothing, wishes nothing, does nothing which is contrary to the Eternal and Immutable Will of God.’

“Mother, when thou wast on earth, there was nothing thou didst refuse to do for love of Me; now that I am in Heaven, it is just that I refuse nothing which thou dost ask of Me.” – Jesus to Our Lady (From ‘The Revelations of St. Bridget’ as quoted in ‘The Glories of Mary’)

-3- Mary’s Intercession is All-Powerful with God

‘To Mary, His faithful Spouse, God the Holy Ghost has communicated His unspeakable gifts; and He has chosen her to be the dispensatrix of all He possesses, in such sort that she distributes to whom she wills, as much as she wills, as she wills, and when she wills, all His gifts and graces.’

“To increase my confidence, my Divine Spouse made me aware most convincingly of the great power over His Heart which He has given to His mother holy Mother; and He assured me that in her intercession she is all–powerful with Him.” – Ven. Maria Dominica Clara Moes

-4- Jesus is Perfectly Obedient to His Blessed Mother

‘Inasmuch as grace perfects nature, and glory perfects grace, it is certain that Our Lord is still, in Heaven, as much the Son of Mary as He was on earth; and that, consequently, He has preserved the most perfect obedience and submission of all children towards the best of all mothers.’

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‘And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.’ (Lk. 3:51)

-5- Jesus Willed to Begin His Miracles by Mary

‘He sanctified St. John in the womb of St. Elizabeth his mother; but it was by Mary’s word. No sooner had she spoken than John was sanctified; and this was His first and greatest miracle of grace. At the marriage at Cana He changed the water into wine; but it was at Mary’s humble prayer; and this was His first miracle of nature.’

‘And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.’ (Jn. 2:3)

-6- Jesus Wills to Continue His Miracles by Mary

‘He has begun and continued His miracles by Mary, and He will continue them to the end of ages by Mary also… Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been, or ever will be, which is a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest things that there will be in the latter times. The formation and education of the great Saints, who shall come at the end of the world, are reserved for her. For it is only that singular and miraculous Virgin who can produce, in union with the Holy Ghost, singular and extraordinary things.’

‘He that shall find me, shall find Life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.’ (Prov. 8:35)

 -7- Mary is the Forma Dei, the “Mould of God”

‘He who is cast in this mould is presently formed and moulded in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in him. At a slight expense and in a short time he will become God [in a manner of speaking], because he has been cast in the same mould which has formed a God.’

“This tender Mother has a particular care for souls who abandon themselves to divine Providence; she exhorts me to give myself up to her Son, to keep myself, by fidelity to the presence of God, susceptible to the touches of grace;

‘and then,’ she adds, ‘all will be easy to thee, and the Will of God will be the desire of thy heart’;

she will have me free from fear and under the reign of pure love. Once, though I saw her not, I heard her sweet voice say to me:

‘My daughter, thou shalt participate in some of my loving sufferings; but I promise thee my assistance.’” – Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

WEEK 2

-8- To be Moulded in Mary is the Shortest Path to Sanctity

‘Mary is a holy place, and the holy of holies where Saints are formed and moulded. Take notice, if you please, that I say the Saints are moulded in Mary. There is a great difference between making a figure in relief by blows of hammer and chisel, and making a figure by throwing it into a mould. Statuaries and sculptors labour much to make figures in the first manner; but to make them in the second manner, they work little, and do their work quickly.’

“One day the saint [St. Francis of Assisi] saw his sons trying to reach our Lord by a ladder that was red and very steep; after climbing a few rungs, they would fall back. Our Lord then showed St. Francis another ladder, white and much less steep, at whose summit appeared the Blessed Virgin, and He said to Francis:

‘Advise your sons to go by the ladder of My Mother.’” – Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

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-9- The Path of Mary is Short, Sweet, Secure, Meritorious

‘… doing your actions by our Blessed Lady, as this practice teaches you, you abandon your own intentions and operations, although good and known, to lose yourself, so to speak, in the intentions of the Blessed Virgin, although they are unknown*. Thus you enter by participation into the sublimity of her intentions, which are so pure, that she gives more glory to God by the least of her actions — for example, in twirling her distaff or pointing her needle – than St. Lawrence by his cruel martyrdom on his gridiron, or even all the Saints by all their heroic actions put together. It was thus that, during her sojourn here below, she acquired such an unspeakable aggregate of graces and merits, that it were easier to count the stars of the firmament, the drops of water in the sea, or the grains of sand upon its shore, than her merits and graces. Thus it was that she gave more glory to God than all the Angels and Saints have given Him, or ever will give Him. O prodigy of a Mary! thou canst not help but do prodigies of grace in souls that wish to lose themselves altogether in thee!’

*An act which can easily be renewed, e.g. by the simple prayer: “I renounce myself; I give myself to you, my Blessed Mother!”

“By way of Mary the road is easier because the Blessed Virgin supports us by her gentleness; nevertheless, it is a more meritorious road because Mary obtains for us a greater charity, which is the principle of merit. The difficulties to be overcome are certainly an occasion of merit, but the principle of merit is charity, the love of God, by which we triumph over these difficulties. We should remember that Mary merited more by her easiest acts, such as a simple prayer, than did the martyrs in their torments, for she put more love of God into these easy acts than the saints did in heroic acts. Since the road by way of Mary is easier and more meritorious, it is shorter, surer, and more perfect; more easily travelled, progress on it is more rapid. By submission to the Mother of God, a person makes greater progress in a short time than he would make in many years relying excessively on his own personal prudence. Under the direction of her whom the Incarnate Word obeyed, he walks with giant steps.” – Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

-10- With Mary’s Intercession, We Need Not Fear the Enemy

‘… God has given Mary such a great power against the devils, that, as they have often been obliged to confess, in spite of themselves, by the mouths of the possessed, they fear one of her sighs for a soul more than the prayers of all the Saints, and one of her menaces against them more than all other torments.’

“In the instruction of the beatification of St. Francis de Sales, one of the witnesses was a female religious who knew him in the first monastery of the Visitation in Annecy. She referred that on one occasion a young man, who had been possessed by the devil for the last five years, was brought before the Bishop of Genevre (Msgr. Charles Auguste de Sales, St. Francis’ nephew and successor in the bishop’s seat) to be exorcized. The interrogations of the devil were carried out next to the mortal remains of St. Francis. During one of these sessions, the devil cried out, full of fury:

‘Why should I have to leave?’

A religious of the Sisters of the Visitation was present, who, when she heard this, invoked the Blessed Virgin: ‘Holy Mother of God, pray for…’. When the devil heard these words – as the nun explained in her declaration – the devil cried out even louder:

‘Mary, Mary! For me there is no Mary! Don’t pronounce that name, which makes me shudder! If there were a Mary for me, like there is for you, I would not be what I am! But there is no Mary for me.’

Shaken by this scene, some of the people present began to cry. The devil continued:

‘If I had just an instant of the many that you people lose…! One lone instant and one Mary, I would not be a devil!’

-11- Satan is Supremely Humiliated by Our Lady

‘… Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the Divine power…’

“… I am more humiliated to be defeated by a human creature than being defeated by Him.” – Satan (during an exorcism performed by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, d. 2016)

-12- Mary is The Treasury of God

‘God the Father made an assemblage of all the waters, and He named it the sea (mare). He has made an assemblage of all His graces, and He has called it Mary (Maria). This great God has a most rich treasury in which He has laid up all that He has of beauty, of splendour, of rarity, and of preciousness, even to His Own Son; and this immense treasury is none other than Mary, whom the Saints have named the Treasure of the Lord, out of whose plenitude all men are made rich.’

‘Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb.’ (Ecclesiasticus 24: 26-27)

-13- Mary Presents Us to Jesus

‘The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of His divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear.’

“If you are willing to be my daughter, pupil, and handmaid, I shall be your mother, mistress, and teacher. And when you have been sufficiently instructed and educated by me, I shall lead you to your dear spouse, my Son, who will receive you into His Hands, as I have just now received you.” – Our Lady to St. Elizabeth of Hungary (d. 1231)

-14- Mary, by God’s Design, Presents Our Gifts to God

‘Mary presents our good works to Jesus. She does not keep anything we offer for herself, as if she were our last end, but unfailingly gives everything to Jesus. So by the very fact we give anything to her, we are giving it to Jesus. Whenever we praise and glorify her, she sings today as she did on the day Elizabeth praised her, “My soul glorifies the Lord.”’

“During this beautiful month [May, the Month of Mary] live as closely united in spirit with your celestial Mother as possible, and give her all that you do, so that she can present it to Me. This divine Mother will sweetly take your part, and before consigning to Me what you have offered her, she will give it a finishing touch. This ought to inspire you to place your filial confidence in her…” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

WEEK 3

-15- Mary Makes of Us and Our Gifts a Pleasing Offering to God

‘Rebecca made Jacob approach the bed of his father. His father touched him, embraced him and even joyfully kissed him after having satisfied his hunger with the well-prepared dishes which Jacob had brought him. Then inhaling most joyfully the exquisite perfume of his garments, he cried: “Behold the fragrance of my son is as the fragrance of a field of plenty which the Lord has blessed.” The fragrance of this rich field which so captivated the heart of the father, is none other than the fragrance of the merits and virtues of Mary who is the plentiful field of grace in which God the Father has sown the grain of wheat of the elect, his only Son. How welcome to Jesus Christ, the Father of the world to come, is a child perfumed with the fragrance of Mary! How readily and how intimately does he unite himself to that child!’

“Our Lady offers our prayers to God; she beautifies them; she makes them pleasing in His sight.” – Père Lamy

-16- Submission to Mary Brings Great Glory to God

‘He gave more glory to God, His Father, during all those years of submission and dependence than he would have given by spending them working miracles, preaching far and wide, and converting all mankind. Otherwise he would have done all these things.’

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“Blessed are they who serve her, who love and imitate her.”

– Jesus to Bl. Agnes de Langeac

-17- Mary Obtains Liberty of Spirit for Her Children

‘One day the Blessed Virgin appeared to Mother Agnes and put a gold chain around her neck to show her how happy she was that Mother Agnes had become the slave of both her and her Son. And St. Cecilia, who accompanied our Lady, said to her, “Happy are the faithful slaves of the Queen of heaven, for they will enjoy true freedom.” Tibi servire libertas.’

‘I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope… He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.’ (Ecclesiasticus 24: 24, 30)

-18- Mary Delivers her Children from Scruples and Fear

‘The Mother of fair love will rid your heart of all scruples and inordinate servile fear. She will open and enlarge it to obey the commandments of her Son with alacrity and with the holy freedom of the children of God. She will fill your heart with pure love of which she is the treasury. You will then cease to act as you did before, out of fear of the God who is love, but rather out of pure love. You will look upon him as a loving Father and endeavour to please him at all times. You will speak trustfully to him as a child does to its father. If you should have the misfortune to offend him you will abase yourself before him and humbly beg his pardon. You will offer your hand to him with simplicity and lovingly rise from your sin. Then, peaceful and relaxed and buoyed up with hope you will continue on your way to him.’

“I am the Mother of fair love, of fear, of knowledge, and of hope; I will always remain your Mother.” – Our Lady to St. Crescentia

-19- Mary is Our Mother of Perpetual Help

‘It is true that on our way we have hard battles to fight and serious obstacles to overcome, but Mary, our Mother and Queen, stays close to her faithful servants. She is always at hand to brighten their darkness, clear away their doubts, strengthen them in their fears, sustain them in their combats and trials. Truly, in comparison with other ways, this virgin road to Jesus is a path of roses and sweet delights. There have been some saints, not very many, such as St. Ephrem, St. John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Bonaventure, and St. Francis de Sales, who have taken this smooth path to Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit, the faithful Spouse of Mary, made it known to them by a special grace. The other saints, who are the greater number, while having a devotion to Mary, either did not enter or did not go very far along this path. That is why they had to undergo harder and more dangerous trials.’

“My daughter, be submissive to my Son, and I will ever be thy Mother.” – Our Lady to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

-20- Mary is our Mother of Mercy

‘She is so full of love that no one who asks for her intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be. The saints say that it has never been known since the world began that anyone had recourse to our Blessed Lady, with trust and perseverance, and was rejected. Her power is so great that her prayers are never refused. She has but to appear in prayer before her Son and he at once welcomes her and grants her requests. He is always lovingly conquered by the prayers of the dear Mother who bore him and nourished him.’

“No one is so cold in his love of God (unless he is damned) that he will not experience the devil releasing him from his habitual sins if only he invokes my name with the true intention of never returning to his evil deeds… And there is none who is so great a sinner, but I am ready to help him; and my Son to give him grace, if he ask mercy with charity.” – Our Lady to St. Bridget (Bk 6, Ch 52; Bk 1, Chapter 9)

-21- Mary is “More Mother than Queen”

‘She is kind, she is tender, and there is nothing harsh or forbidding about her, nothing too sublime or too brilliant. When we see her, we see our own human nature at its purest. She is not the sun, dazzling our weak sight by the brightness of its rays. Rather, she is fair and gentle as the moon, which receives its light from the sun and softens it and adapts it to our limited perception.’

“… when I was seeking how best to invoke and honour her, my good Angel said to me:

‘She will be pleased if thou salutest her in these few words: Ave Mater Dei carissima, dulcissima, refugium meum, ora pro me’ [Hail dearest, most sweet Mother of God – my refuge; pray for me].” – Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

WEEK 4

-22- Mary Clothes Us with Her Own Merits and Virtues

‘She imparts new perfume and fresh grace to those garments and adornments [of her children] by adding to them the garments of her own wardrobe of merits and virtues. She bequeathed these to them before her departure for Heaven, as was revealed by a holy nun of the last century, who died a holy death. Thus all her domestics, that is, all her servants and slaves, are clothed with double garments (cf. Prov. 31:21), her own and those of her Son. Now they have nothing to fear from that cold which sinners, naked and stripped as they are of the merits of Jesus and Mary, will be unable to endure.’

“It was also in her Communions that our Benigne learnt to deck herself, so to speak, with the virtues of her beloved Mother, praying her to purify her by her purity, to sanctify her by her sanctity, and to make her perfect by her perfection. ‘Remember, O Mother of God,’ she said, ‘that thy Divine Son has committed to thee the care of making me agreeable in His eyes.’” (p. 374 ‘The Life of Sister Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay–Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary,’ 1878)

-23- Submission to Mary is the Shortcut to Perfection

‘We advance more in a brief period of submission to Mary and dependence on her than in whole years of self-will and self- reliance. A man who is obedient and submissive to Mary will sing of glorious victories over his enemies. It is true, his enemies will try to impede his progress, force him to retreat or try to make him fall. But with Mary’s help, support and guidance, he will go forward towards our Lord. Without falling, retreating and even without being delayed, he will advance with giant strides towards Jesus along the same road which, as it is written, Jesus took to come to us with giant strides and in a short time…

Why do you think our Lord spent only a few years here on earth and nearly all of them in submission and obedience to his Mother? The reason is that ‘attaining perfection in a short time, he lived a long time,’ even longer than Adam, whose losses he had come to make good. Yet Adam lived more than nine hundred years!

Jesus lived a long time, because he lived in complete submission to his Mother and in union with her, which obedience to his Father required. The Holy Spirit tells us that the man who honours his mother is like a man who stores up a treasure. In other words, the man who honours Mary, his Mother, to the extent of subjecting himself to her and obeying her in all things will soon become very rich, because he is amassing riches every day through Mary who has become his secret philosopher’s stone.’

V0035640 Christ appears to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

“I then confided thee to the care of My Holy Mother, that she might fashion thee according to My designs.”

– Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary

-24- He Who Seeks Jesus, Must Love Mary

‘He who wishes to have the fruit well ripened and well-formed must have the tree that produces it; he who wishes to have the fruit of life, Jesus Christ, must have the tree of life, which is Mary; he who wishes to have in himself the operation of the Holy Ghost must have His faithful and indissoluble Spouse…’

“For anyone who wants to follow me and yield to my advice will find grace at my hands and salvation. And you should know for certain, daughter, that anyone who does not love me will not be able to find grace from my Son or, consequently, from the Holy Spirit.” – Our Lady to St. Elizabeth of Hungary

-25- Mary is Queen of Hearts

‘Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth by grace, as Jesus is the King of them by nature and by conquest. Now, as the kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart and interior of a man – according to that word, ‘The kingdom of God is within you,’ – in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of a man, that is to say, his soul; and it is principally in souls that she is more glorified with her Son than in all visible creatures, and that we can call her, as the Saints do, the Queen of hearts.’

“Through the love which you have for my blessed Mother, tell your spiritual director that as I asked Margaret Mary for devotion to my divine Heart, so I ask you to urge the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of my Mother…” – Our Lord to Bl. Alexandrina da Costa (d. October 13, 1955)

-26- Mary Glorifies God in Us

‘The soul of Mary will be communicated to you to glorify the Lord. Her spirit will take the place of yours to rejoice in God, her Saviour, but only if you are faithful to the practices of this devotion… ‘When will that happy day come,’ asks a saintly man of our own day whose life was completely wrapped up in Mary, ‘when God’s Mother is enthroned in men’s hearts as Queen, subjecting them to the dominion of her great and princely Son? When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air?’ When that time comes wonderful things will happen on earth. The Holy Spirit, finding his dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down into them with great power. He will fill them with his gifts, especially wisdom, by which they will produce wonders of grace. My dear friend, when will that happy time come, that age of Mary, when many souls, chosen by Mary and given her by the most High God, will hide themselves completely in the depths of her soul, becoming living copies of her, loving and glorifying Jesus?’

‘O magnify the Lord with me; and let us extol His name together.’ (Ps. 33:4)

-27- The Immense Value of Consecrating Oneself to Mary

‘Other congregations, associations, and confraternities set up in honour of our Lord and our Blessed Lady, which do so much good in the Church, do not require their members to give up absolutely everything… But this devotion makes us give Jesus and Mary all our thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings and every moment of our lives without exception. Thus, whatever we do, whether we are awake or asleep, whether we eat or drink, whether we do important or unimportant work, it will always be true to say that everything is done for Jesus and Mary. Our offering always holds good, whether we think of it or not, unless we explicitly retract it.  How consoling this is!’

Josefa_Menendez

“If only you knew how many souls can be saved by those little acts!”

– Our Lady to Sr. Josefa Menendez

-28- The Holy Spirit Bears Fruit in Mary

‘God the Holy Ghost being barren in God — that is to say, not producing another Divine Person — is become fruitful by Mary, whom He has espoused. It is with her, in her, and of her, that He has produced His Masterpiece, which is a God made Man, and whom He goes on producing in the persons of His members daily to the end of the world.’

“… And this explains what is said of Mary in the holy Canticles: ‘Thy belly is as a heap of wheat, set about with lilies (Cant. of Cant. 7:2).’ St. Ambrose explains this and says: Although in the pure womb of Mary there was only one grain of wheat, which was Jesus Christ, yet it is called a heap of grain, because in that one grain were contained all the elect, of whom Mary was to be the mother. Hence, William the Abbot wrote: Mary, in bringing forth Jesus, who is our Saviour and our life, brought forth all of us to life and salvation.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori

WEEK 5 (5 days)

-29- Mary Has a “Right and Domination” Over the Souls of the Elect

‘… Mary has received from God a great domination over the souls of the elect; for she cannot make her residence in them, as God the Father ordered her to do (c.f. Ecclus. 24:13), and form them in Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ in them, and strike the roots of her virtues in their hearts, and be the indissoluble companion of the Holy Ghost in all His works of grace—she cannot, I say, do all these things unless she has a right and domination over their souls by a singular grace of the Most High, who, having given her power over His only and Natural Son, has given it also to her over His adopted children, not only as to their bodies, which would be but little matter, but also as to their souls.’

‘Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting place: Thou and the ark, which Thou hast sanctified.’ (Ps. 131:8) [‘resting place’ – i.e. Heaven/the soul; ‘the ark’ – i.e. Our Lady, the New Ark of the Covenant]

-30- Devotion to Mary is a Sign of Predestination

‘God the Father wishes to have children by Mary till the consummation of the world; and He has said to her these words: In Jacob inhabita — “Dwell in Jacob,” — that is to say, Make your dwelling and residence in My predestinated children, figured by Jacob, and not in the reprobate children of the devil, figured by Esau.’

“Christ in His agony on the Cross had said to her: ‘Behold thy son.’ For centuries now she has been faithful to this commission, never allowing anyone finally to perish—provided he also has been mindful of those other words spoken to him by the Saviour: ‘Behold thy Mother.’” – St. Robert Bellarmine (‘De Gemitu Columae,’ lib. 2, cap. 9.)

-31- Mary is the Way unto The Way

‘The Church, with the Holy Ghost, blesses our Lady first, and our Lord second, — Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesus. It is not that Mary is more than Jesus, or even equal to Him – that would be an intolerable heresy; but it is that, in order to bless Jesus more perfectly, we must begin by blessing Mary. Let us, then, say with all the true clients of our Lady against these false scrupulous devotees: Mary, thou art blessed amongst all women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus… Indeed we only honour Mary that we may the more perfectly honour Jesus, inasmuch as we only go to her as to the way in which we are to find the end we are seeking, which is Jesus.’

‘In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue.’ (Ecclus. 24:25)

-32- Love of Mary Cannot but Lead to Love of Jesus

‘It would be easier to separate light from the sun than Mary from Jesus. So united are they that our Lord may be called, “Jesus of Mary”, and his Mother “Mary of Jesus.”’

“The souls who love her most and who are most like to her, are the souls who are most like to Me most perfectly.” – Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida (Diary, Feb. 18, 1917)

-33- The Purpose of Devotion to Our Blessed Mother is to Adore the Fruit of Her Womb 

‘In Fr. Boudon’s book [‘The Holy Slavery of the Admirable Mother of God’] we read of different popes who gave their approval to this devotion, the theologians who examined it, the hostility it encountered and overcame, the thousands who made it their own without censure from any pope. Indeed it could not be condemned without overthrowing the foundations of Christianity. It is obvious then that this devotion is not new. If it is not commonly practised, the reason is that it is too sublime to be appreciated and undertaken by everyone… If, then, we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. If devotion to our Lady distracted us from our Lord, we would have to reject it as an illusion of the devil. But this is far from being the case.’

“You must be devoted above all to doing His Will…” – Our Lady to Bl. Anna Maria Taigi

+++++++

Act of Consecration to the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin

+++++++

“O most sweet and amiable Virgin Mary, most beloved Daughter of the Eternal Divine Father, most tender Mother of the Eternal Divine Son, most holy Spouse of the Eternal Divine Spirit, I come to thee, O most loving Mother, to consecrate myself entirely to thee.

Thou art all pure, all beautiful; thou art the Immaculate, and I, O most benign Mother, am only misery, only sin, only prone to evil. Thou, O Mary, art the Immaculate, and hast always been the delight of the most Holy Trinity; thou hast ravished the Heart of God thy Father, thy Son, thy Spouse, with the immaculate whiteness of thy holy Soul.

O most compassionate Mother, cast a glance of pity on this poor soul, made the target of so many fierce temptations; and by thy power, put to flight the infernal enemy. In these tremendous assaults, O most pitiful Mother, I come to take refuge in thy Immaculate Heart; and do thou, O most merciful Queen of Virgins, preserve my Lily pure and present it thyself to Jesus.

My most tender Mother, I expect thee at the hour of my death; and until that hour I shall thank thee and implore thee to watch over me that I may please Jesus in all things. Grazie, O Maria!”

++ References ++

A list of some the works quoted in this article:

  • ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,’ by St. Louis de Montfort
  • ‘The Life of Sister Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay–Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary,’ by Mother Marie Geltrude Provane de Leyni
  • ‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life,’ by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, TAN Books
  • ‘The Revelations of St. Birgitta of Sweden’
  • ‘The Revelations of St. Elizabeth’
  • ‘The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,’ Federico Suárez
  • ‘Vademecum Proposed to Religious Souls,’ by “A Pious Author” (i.e. Our Lord)
  • ‘The Life of Ven. Maria Crescentia Hoess,’ New York, Cincinnati, and St. Louis: Benziger Brothers
  • ‘Divine Communications (vol. I and II),’ by Rev. Auguste Saudreau
  • ‘Wife, Mother and Mystic,’ TAN Books
  • ‘Conchita: A Mother’s Spiritual Diary,’ by Marie-Michel Philipon
  • ‘The Glories of Mary,’ by St. Alphonsus Liguori
  • ‘The Way of Divine Love,’ TAN Books
  • ‘The Agony and The Glory,’ TAN Books
  • ‘The Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary,’ TAN Books
  • ‘Père Lamy,’ by Biver

Galg_gem

“You love to call me Mamma, but I love to call thee child.”

– Our Lady to St. Gemma Galgani (‘Blessed Gemma Galgani,’ by Father Amedeo, C.P.)

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6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love

god-rays-in-vernazza

Jesus Christ, the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 18:19), is infinitely rich and generous; nothing and no one can exhaust the treasures of His Sacred Heart. But we must avail ourselves of these precious graces.

“My Heart is overflowing on all sides. It can no longer contain all the graces that souls unceasingly repel. Take them, My child, take them.”

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary (Dec. 26, 1906, from ‘Divine Communications,’ vol. I, Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

God always makes the first move; we never seek Him without the previous inspiration of grace. ‘You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you.’ (John 15:16) “There,” writes G.K. Chesterton, “is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ‘Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.’ (1 John 4:19)

He wishes to establish His most gentle reign in each and every one of our hearts, which are infinitely precious to Him, more precious than any earthly kingdom – not because there is a deficiency in God, but because of His pure love, a love that seeks only to communicate goodness and joy to the beloved.

Apart from Divine Love, all is vanity; God alone is; He is the Beginning and the End of all the deepest yearnings of the human heart; outside of Him there is nothing but vexation and want.

Almighty God, Who is the Divine Husbandmen, reveals His love for us by stripping us of all that could be an impediment to His Divine action within us. Because of our frailty, our sinful attachments, and our wavering faith, this is often a painful process. But God is all-wise, all-good and all-powerful; He knows what He is doing, and He alone can bring it about. It is only reasonable, then, to practice abandonment. To offer ourselves to One so good is an incalculable gain – even when, or especially when, we feel the sting. ‘As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ (Job 1:21)

Here, then, are some simple, albeit powerful, ways to grow in love:

(1) Draw Riches from the Treasury of the Sacred Heart

Imitate St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude and many others, by offering to God His own love and merits to supply for what was is wanting to you.

The same goes for offering God the love and merits of the saints and angels, all of which can be drawn from the Saviour’s Adorable Heart. ‘And all My things are thine, and thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them’ (John. 17:10).

If we are all His, He is all ours. ‘I to my Beloved, and my Beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies’ (Cant. of Cant. 6:3).

+ Examples:

    1. Offer the Rosary in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Blessed Fruit of her womb, by uniting it to all the Masses said throughout the world, to the Angelic Salutation of St. Gabriel, to the greeting of St. Elizabeth, and to the perfect love that drew God from Heaven to Earth.
    2. Unite your every action, thought, heartbeat, breath etc., to the Sacred Heart and to all the love that animated Our Lady and the Saints.
    3. In preparation for receiving the Adorable Eucharist, offer God the fervent love with which the Saints received Him, as well as His own perfect love in giving Himself to us.
    4. Offer the infinite love and perfect obedience of Jesus to God the Father, in thanksgiving for every grace that He has ever given any of His creatures, or that He has ever desired to give (but has been impeded from doing so due to our obstinacy). Does a parent not deserve to be thanked for the gifts that they desire to bestow on their children, even when the children do not accept them? [The fruits of this practice are immense]

“When thou shalt offer Me to God the Father for the joy and glory of the Saints, their happiness and recompense shall be increased, as though they had received Me corporally on the earth.” (A beautiful and extremely powerful way to honour the Saints, and to honour God in His Saints!)

– Jesus to St. Mechtilde (‘The Love of the Sacred Heart’)

(2) Aspirations

Love alone gives our actions value; souls are not saved and God is not glorified, save by charity. Aspirations are an easy way to keep the fire of love burning in our hearts. We were created to love God; all else is false, empty, vain, a precious waste of precious time.

I have written about aspirations before:

https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/aspirations-an-easy-way-to-attain-holiness-and-joy/

“If I knew I should receive £1 for each one [aspiration] I made, I would not waste a spare moment. And yet I get infinitely more than this, though I often fail to realise it.”

“This morning I lay awake powerless to over come myself and to make my promised visit to the chapel. Then I felt prompted to pray; I said five aspirations and rose without difficulty. How many victories I could win by this easy and powerful weapon!”

– Fr. William Doyle (d. 1917)

(3) Spiritual Communions

Many Saints highly recommend this practice. St. Francis de Sales made a spiritual Communion every fifteen minutes or so; Sr. Benigna Consolata, a spiritual daughter of St. Francis de Sales, was told by Our Lord to make them even more frequently.

St. Alphonsus tells us that Jesus appeared to a certain pious soul, showing her two precious vases, one gold, the other silver. “In the golden vessel,” He said, “I keep sacramental Communion, and in the silver vessel spiritual Communion.” (‘Visits to the Blessed Sacrament,’ TAN)

And to Blessed Jane of the Cross, our Saviour spoke these enlightening words: “As often as you make a spiritual Communion I send you a grace which is in a measure similar to the grace which I grant you in sacramental Communion.”

St. Teresa of Avila writes: “When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” [The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35.]

“If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion a good many times each day, within a month you will see yourself completely changed.”

– St. Leonard of Port Maurice

(4) Meditation on the Last Things

Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell – also known as the four last things… that most people care to think about. Which is a great tragedy, because the truth is eternal and does not change to suit our fancy.
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was once asked how he could possibly bear to spend his days as a religious. Time flies, he replied, when one is thinking about Heaven! If only we had the faintest notion of what awaits those who love God! Mother Agnes (Pauline), the sister of St. Therese (and my dear little sister), shared with her a beautiful story in which a religious appeared to her sister (also a religious) shortly after her death, saying: “I am going to God; oh! I am not sorry for having humbled and annihilated myself for Jesus on earth. If you only knew what glory I am going to have, but God has not permitted me to reveal it to you because you would experience too great a joy and your way is the way of suffering.” (p. 582, ‘Letters of St. Therese,’ ICS Publications)
44. “To fear the days of judgment.
45. To be in dread of hell.
46. To desire everlasting life with all spiritual longing.
47. To keep death daily before one’s eyes.”

– From the ‘Instruments of Good Works,‘ from the Rule of St. Benedict

(5) Lectio Divina

St. Jerome, writing about a holy man of his time, says that he made his heart “a library for Christ.” So often it is the case that individuals fill their hearts and minds with present troubles, with worldly things and with innumerable other sources of distraction or anxiety, ranging from mere trifles to great evils. Let us have none of this. Let us meditate often on the life-giving words of God; ‘lay up His words in thy heart‘ (Job 22:22), and draw upon them day and night; they will purify you, they will inflame you, and they will set your heart on things eternal. Without this, there can be no joy; our heart longs for the infinity of the horizon; what we truly desire – whether or not we realise it – lies beyond this crumbling world.

To truly profit from spiritual reading and meditation, the end must always be that we come to know and love God more – and this, principally, by means of prayer, without which there can be no lasting growth in wisdom and charity. ‘The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom’ (Ps. 38:30).

“At the Last Judgment I shall not  ask souls if they have read much, but what fruit  they have drawn from their reading.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

(6) …

The final means for growing in Divine Love deserves/requires a post of its own. Also, I have run out of time (even with a generous extension). Hopefully it will be ready by next Sunday.

+ PAX +

The Most Efficacious Remedy for the Evils of Today

A Sad State of Affairs

From a spiritual standpoint, what can be said about humanity in 2016? Is God loved and adored? Is wisdom sought? Is moral progress evident?

Rhetorical question. (Ironically, I would wager that most moral relativists would even answer “no” to the latter question.)

One has only to pick up a newspaper to behold but a few of the evils that afflict mankind today – or rather, that we afflict on ourselves; for evil, recall, enters the world through the door of the will. Even natural evils would not exist were it not for moral evils (c.f. the account of the Fall). (The materialist is really in a predicament here; for by denying immateriality, they at least implicitly deny free-will, without which there can be no morality at all. A universe without autonomous agents is an amoral universe.)

When I think of the prevalence of “sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance,” I ask myself: When, dear Lord, will enough be enough?

Perhaps you, too, are concerned, or even afraid, of the current state of affairs, and ask yourself: Is chastisement imminent? Teresa Neumann, the stigmatic, certainly thought so. But it is not all “bad”…

A Message of Hope from Saintly Souls

In fact, the “resurrection of society” that Our Lord spoke about to Sr. Benigna Consolata (d. 1916) will be “a work of love.” Similarly, Our Lord is alleged to have said to St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Catherine of Siena, Bl. Anna Maria Taigi, Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora, Ven. Philomena of St. Colomba (d. 1868), and others, that at some point in the future there will be a great triumph of the Catholic Faith; Jews, Muslims, pagans and Protestants will flock to the Church of Christ (i.e. the Catholic Church); God will be glorified, and many souls will be saved. In the words of Ven. Philomena of St. Columba, God will “fertilise the world” anew with an abundance of graces!

“If I permit so much sorrow in the world, it is for that one purpose, to save souls for eternity.”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 20, Jesus Appeals to the World, St. Paul’s)

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: An Infinite Source of Goodness

Yes, there is much evil in the world today; yes, injustice abounds; yes, the Church contains many sinners. But hold on. That is not all. We have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; we have the Sacraments; we have the invincible weapon of prayer; we have the hope of eternity; we have the assurance from Our Lady of Fatima (1917) that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph (alongside the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In a word, we have a Saviour Who loves us infinitely – so much, in fact, that He does everything to win our love, even to the point of offering Himself daily on our Altars for our salvation! There alone can be found peace; there alone can be found a solid, unchanging ground for our hope, for peace and for joy. And to think that this Ocean of Goodness, namely, the Sacred Heart, is an inexhaustible Fountain!
Those who have frequent recourse to Jesus, Who remains night and day in our Tabernacles, will soon discover that all their troubles melt away in the Light that shines forth from the Holy Face of Eternal Love Incarnate.
‘For Thou, my Lord, art very admirable, and Thy Face is full of graces.’
(Esther 15:17)
If you want happiness both in this life and the next; if you want to cooperate in the salvation of many souls, there is but one thing to do: strive to be a Eucharistic Soul. Center your life around the Most Blessed Sacrament; live for Jesus and by Him, that is, by His very Life. “The soul,” writes Sr. Jeanne Benigne, “does truly derive invincible strength from Holy Communion, when it understands the sense of those words of our Lord: ‘As I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me.’ Now, the mortal and corruptible creature cannot by its own power raise itself, the Saviour must by Holy Communion descend into the soul to make it a partaker of His life and of Himself; by this divine participation His grace and love establish in it a new life, new affections all holy and pure, giving it a strong aversion to the very name of sin, however slight, and new inclinations to good and to doing all things according to the good pleasure of God and for His glory, from the sole motive of pure love.”

“In whatever state a soul may be when I favor her with special graces, I attract her to the imitation of My Eucharistic Life.

It is a life of death that I inspire the soul to live.

To have eyes, and see only for the service of Love; to have ears, and no longer hear aught but what can augment Love; to have a mouth, and not use it except to speak of Love; to have hands,feet, heart, body, and no longer use them but as Love wills.

To depend on Love for everything as a little babe depends on its mother.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

Just How Great is the Value of the Mass?

“The value of the Mass is infinite.” (St. Thomas) “The sacrifice of Calvary,” writes Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange, “which was offered up for all men, was no less profitable to the good thief than if it had been offered up for him alone.” (p. 316, ‘Our Saviour and His Love for Us,’ TAN Books)

“This sacrifice possesses an infinite potency to obtain what we ask,because of the infinite value of the Victim, the infinite dignity of the Priest [Jesus]. There is no gift, no grace, whichit does not avail to obtain. However numerous are the persons for whom it is offered, this sacred Victim can procure the fulfilment of their petitions; and for these reasons: because Christ, the great High Priest, is infinitely well-pleasing to God; because the merits which He offersto God the Father are infinite; because His passion, His
blood, His wounds, are all-prevailing.”

– Marchantius

The Great Cause of Evil in Our Day

The evils that beset the world today are due, in large part, to ignorance or neglect of the things of God. Those who fail to consider the gifts of God cannot be thankful for them, nor will they seek God with fervour… Jesus came to bring fire!

“Souls aflame with love,” said Jesus to Yvonne-Aimee, “aim solely at pleasing God” – something that implies a more-or-less constant consideration of God. If Jesus is to establish His Kingdom in souls, souls must know where to find His throne (i.e. the Altar).

When the Liturgy is treated with the dignity and respect that it deserves, and when souls communicate frequently and fervently, the world will completely change.

A Prophecy from Sr. Mary Cherubina (d. 1871), A Heroic Soul who Offered Herself for Unworthy Priests

“Make known to all Catholics that God wills that His priests should lead more holy lives, for, although many of them are in the grace of God, yet even they approach the holy Altar with extraordinary coldness, and as if it were an every–day thing. It was not thus that Jesus went to Calvary! He went with a burning love, and priests should offer the Holy Sacrifice with a pure conscience, an immaculate heart, and a lively faith; let them present this Divine Victim to the Eternal Father for the salvation of souls, and especially for the conversion of so many scandalous and apostate priests. They are the crying evil of these days: yet the arms of Jesus are open to receive them. Let them ask of our merciful Jesus, by the merits of His precious Blood, the grace of conversion for these unhappy men, and they will surely obtain this favour when they hold the Divine Victim in their hands. Make known that God is about to send other terrible chastisements upon the world; but they will be lessened if priests offer worthily the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Do not delay to make known all that I have told you.” (pp. 185-186)

“Fill yourself with this love and diffuse it over the world.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret after she received Him in Holy Communion, describing her experience as being like “a sponge plunged into water” (p. 23, ‘The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love,’ TAN Books)

 

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#6)

The following revelation is theological and spiritual gold; make use of it.

“Ah My daughter, spiritual profit does not consist in penances;

it does not consist in the frequent reception of the Sacraments

or in compunction of heart,

but in persevering unity of the will with My will.

It may indeed occur that a man will go often to Communion and practise mortifications, and yet make little or no progress because he remains attached to his own will;

but if he gives it up so as only to will what God wills, he will infallibly profit.

– Jesus to Bl. Anna Maria Taigi

All the goodness in the world comes from God – from His perfect Will. To entrust ourselves to God at all times – especially when we cannot make sense of things – is to entrust ourselves to an infinitely wise, perfect, strong and loving Father. Such a living faith gives God great glory; it lightens our burden; it attracts an ocean of infinitely precious graces; it attracts souls to God (it is a very powerful form of evangelising); it purifies us of our faults; it strengthens our will; it brings light to the intellect; it gives us true security and joy; it teaches us wisdom… Why would we not trust in God?

People used to flock to St. Padre Pio, asking for his help – and rightly so. But sometimes it seems that we forget a truth of capital importance: we are mere instruments in God’s hands. St. Padre Pio was the first to admit this; he was a “little soul”. “You do not have to thank me,” he would say; “but you have to thank God!”

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#3)

 “I showed you all the love I could in order to make you turn to me. However, since you have turned away from me, you deserve to be sentenced, because you scorned mercy. However, I am still so merciful that, if it were possible for me to die again, for your sake I would again endure the same torment I once endured on the cross rather than see you sentenced to such a sentence. Justice, however, says that it is impossible for me to die again, even if mercy tells me to want to die for your sake again, if it were possible.

– Jesus to St. Bridget (addressing a self–condemned soul)

God’s love cannot coexist with mortal sin, but He still loves sinners. He thirsts for souls. If you combine the love of all the Saints throughout the ages, this is still but a drop in the ocean compared to the limitless love of God. Since the beginning of time, every conversion has been owing to the love and mercy of God.

If we did not water down the malice of sin, we would have a greater appreciation of how great and pure God’s love is. “Then they crucify his right hand when they hold justice to be as injustice, saying: ‘Sin is not so heavy and abominable to God as it is said. God does not punish anyone for all eternity; he only threatens us with these hard things to scare us. Why else would he redeem man if he wanted us to perish?’ (Our Lady to St. Bridget) “He wished all of them to be saved (I Tim. 2: 4), and if not all of them attained this salvation, no one can justly complain of his superabundant kindness.” (Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#1)

“You see what I have suffered; well, all that is for you.”

– Jesus to Bl. Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew

How can anyone say that God is cruel? Jesus suffered and died for all, without exception (Gal 2:20). A cruel God would not pursue sinners with so much determination and love!

“But there is so much evil and suffering!” Ah, so you admit the existence of evil? But evil is not a substance; it cannot exist by itself. Why? Because evil, like darkness, is merely an absence of something; it is a deficit, a privation, a negative. “All the darkness in the world,” says St. Francis de Sales, “cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” How, then, can we call God, Who is Light, cruel or unjust? This is philosophically and theologically absurd; evil exists as a result of turning away from God. Any goodness that exists in the universe is from His bounty.

Look at the Crucified One. He is Love. He loves only what is good, and hates only what is evil. In Him is contained every truth, every mystery, every grace. Seek Him and you shall be set free from everything that is not of God.

In Christ We Can Do All Things

“My child, I have seated Myself at the door of your heart, so as to defend it from the entrance of evil passions.” 

– Jesus to Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora

Our Lord’s Kingdom on Earth is established in the souls of men; there He reigns; it is there that He seeks His rest.

Knowing that God is with those who call on Him with trust and purity of intention, how can we not be consoled? If we are lonely, confused or tempted, we can turn to Him; He will make up for everything we lack, if only we let Him.

If we look to Christ for help, we have nothing to fear.

Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora: A Witness to God’s Goodness and Power

“One day Elizabeth saw furious devils under the form of giants rushing towards her, and trying to deprive her of life by piercing her throat.

On seeing this great danger, she cried out, and called Our Lord to her aid. At the same moment a ray of light, like lightning, flashed in the eyes of these hideous monsters, and immediately put them to flight. Elizabeth, being freed from these horrible phantoms, was pouring forth her thanks to God, when Our Lord appeared to her, and said:

“You were already no more than a corpse without life, when I took compassion on you. If my mercy had not been so great to you, what would have become of you?”

(p. 23 of her biography)

“Once fortified by Divine Grace,” she said, “from being weak as a baby, I became terrible as a lion and full of courage. I went into the battle in the Name of the Lord.” (p. 77)

“Several devils presented themselves to her, each carrying an instrument of torture, and threatening to torment her one after the other if she did not renounce her faith in Jesus Christ, and consent to all which they required from her. The holy woman renewed her confidence in Him Who giveth the victory in battle, and boldly said to them: “Torment me as much as you wish. I hope in Jesus Christ; in Him I am assured of victory.” (p. 78)

“Another day her soul appeared to her under the appearance of a pilgrim, with a staff in her hand, the feet naked, and the head uncovered. Our Lord also came, dressed as a pilgrim, and said:

“My daughter, you must pass through this forest. I will be your guide, come and follow Me.”

The Venerable Mother, fearing that this was some diabolical illusion, hesitated to go. Our Lord said to her:

“Follow Me; do not be afraid that you will be deceived: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

At the same time He shot from His Heart a ray of light, which reassured her, and she began to follow Him resolutely.” (p. 107 – 108)

“Have confidence in Me; I promise you, as your God, that you shall gain the victory.”

– Jesus to Bl. Elizabeth

Divine Grace and Beauty of Soul

“For if you saw the spiritual beauty of the angels and of holy souls, your body could not bear to see it but would break like a vessel, broken and decayed due to the soul’s joy at the sight.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget (Bk 2, Ch. 18)

“I desire,” said Our Lord to Sr. Gertrude Mary, “that you should be altogether beautiful, My beloved.” It is as if He said: ‘My spouse, I love you. I cannot bear to see your soul sullied with sin.’

God takes delight in seeing us happy, beautiful and holy. But we will never have these things if we are attached to sin. Why? Because they can only increase in proportion to grace and charity, which are opposed to sin.

“Be ye perfect,” says the Lord. These are not the words of a demanding Spouse; no, they are an admirable proof of God’s love for us. We are perfected by grace and charity, which unites us to God; therefore, by calling us to perfection, God is calling us to receive His love, so that we might love Him in return!

It is because of God’s great love for us that He wants us to abstain from sin. Sin is a privation of goodness: it is a negation, a corruption, a perversion, an absence of goodness. Just as leprosy ravages the body, so too does cancer ravage the soul. One mortal sin is worse than all the sufferings of Hell.

If people cared as much for the beauty of their soul as they did their bodies, many of us would be saints. But, too often, instead of adorning our souls with virtues, we adorn our bodies; instead of directing others to God by our virtue and humility, we seek to draw attention to ourselves; rather than growing in love, we grow in self–love; rather than “glorifying God in [our] bodies”, we profane them.

“We must love the state of grace above everything else and fear nothing so much as occasions of sin… The state of grace is our beauty. It is the reflection of Jesus Christ in His Saints. As the Father sees Himself in His Word, so Jesus sees Himself in their souls. But if the soul is stained with sin, it is impossible for God to be reflected therein. Do you expect Him to be well pleased to look at His Divine Son’s executioner? Evil is never lovable. And when we are guilty of sin, God cannot love our state.” (St. Peter Julian Eyrmard)

What good has mankind’s general obsession with physical beauty achieved? Vanity, low self–esteem, depression, jealousy, envy, lust? How many souls have been led into sin as a result of this perverse glorification of the human body, which is destined to decay and die!

Let us value things according to their true worth. Let us shun all vanity and impurity, asking God to give us a thirst for holiness. One can hardly exaggerate the value of a soul, considering that Our Lord redeemed us with His Precious Blood, one drop of which is sufficient to atone for an infinite number of offences.

We must not take sin lightly. For all that God has done for our souls, we owe it to Him to keep them pure, remembering that only the pure of heart shall see God.

“Never go to rest at night with the slightest shadow obscuring your soul. This I recommend to you with great insistence. When you commit a fault, repair it at once. I wish your soul to be as pure as crystal.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“… I in the beginning created man to My own image and likeness, and… it is always My endeavour, in so far as you are fit for it, to intensify that likeness between Me and you.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena

The Beauty of a Soul in Grace

“When God had once revealed this beauty to St. Catherine of Siena, she covered with kisses the footsteps of those who were engaged in bringing sinners back to the grace of God, and transported with joy, she said to her confessor:  “Had you, my father, beheld the beauty of one soul adorned with grace, you would certainly, for the sake of one such soul, gladly suffer death a thousand times…

Solomon, therefore, in his Canticle of Canticles, praises nothing so much as this Divine beauty and glory of a soul in grace… If the mere natural beauty of the soul surpasses beyond comparison the beauty of all bodies, even that of the sun, how much more the supernatural beauty which it receives from grace? For there exists a much greater distance between grace and the nature of the soul, than between the latter and all the beauty of the visible world. Nor does the heavenly splendour of grace suffer from the fact that our bodily, or even our mental eye, is incapable of beholding it; this is rather a proof of its excellence, for whatever we are able to see can only be a limited and earthly beauty.” (‘The Glories of Divine Grace’ – an essential read for every Christian!)

‘The Glories of Divine Grace’ can be read online here (legally):

https://archive.org/stream/gloriesofdivineg00sche#page/n3/mode/2up

If we can find the time to learn about trivial things, surely we can devote at least a few minutes a day to learning about Divine Grace! This book will be a revelation to many; it certainly has been to me. It will make sin seem very, very unappealing.

A Beautiful Revelation for Every Christian (Pt. 3)

Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary:

“In return for the signal favours with which I fill your soul, I ask you to console My Heart. This is the part you have to play, My privileged spouse.

You rejoice My Heart every time that you show Me gratitude for the trials which I send you.**

Let Me do what I will with youBe faithful to all that I ask of you.

You shall be the beloved disciple of My Heart, and I will take the entire charge of your soul.”

** Our Lord said to St. Gertrude that we should thank Him for sufferings and trials. Why? Because they are sent or permitted for our eternal welfare, and for the benefit of others.  They are sent by God’s love as a means of purifying our souls; uniting us more intimately to God; increasing our merits; and to “snatch many souls from perdition” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez).

Ponder these truths, and next time you suffer, call to mind Our Crucified Saviour, the Lamb without spot.

Some Powerful Motives to Love God

Reflect on these profound words of St. Crescentia, and strive to make the same resolution as her:

“BY LOVE, I can draw down from Heaven, into my heart, Thee, the Supreme Good, and with Thee I can pass through every wall.

BY LOVE, I can soften the obdurate hearts of sinners; I can break the chains made through sin.

BY LOVE, I can redeem the captives of purgatory.

BY LOVE, I can conquer my evil wishes, my vicious nature, my wicked self-will.

BY LOVE, I can defeat all the attacks and temptations of hell.

BY LOVE, I can endure all hardships and pains.

BY LOVE, I can constantly love God more and more.

Therefore, I will now begin, in all earnestness and fervour, to love God in a very holy manner, so that I may attain the end for which I was created, and that by me He may be praised, loved, and honoured through all eternity.”

To love God is to believe in His love, and to do His Adorable Will. We must submit faithfully to the teachings of the Catholic Church. One cannot love Our Lord, Who is the Head of the Church, if they do not love His Mystical Body.

If faith were alive today, our churches would be filled to the brim. Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle. If we visit Him frequently, we will soon be touched by the flames of His love, as St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi says. If we despise the countless graces that God offers us through His holy Church, it is to be feared that we will meet the same fate as the following individual, who this same saint saw in a vision. It is reported that “she saw the soul of an unhappy man at the moment that he passed from his death bed to the eternal torments. God revealed to her that the chief cause of his damnation was his having held in contempt the treasures of Holy Church, laughing at the indulgences and all the other graces the Church benignly imparts to her faithful.”

Is this not the attitude of many indifferent Christians today? Sadly, this has been my attitude at times. But God has rescued me from the wide gate that leads to perdition.

Whatever we may have done in the past, we must not become discouraged. We must have the same confidence as St. Crescentia. She was no stronger than us; like us, she could do absolutely nothing without God’s grace. But she had faith in God. She relied on Him entirely, and was docile to His inspirations. If I do this; if you do this, our faith will invigorate us and we will find joy and salvation from the Lord.

“I am your Spouse – when will you make up your mind to love Me truly? I am all yours; I come to you to draw you to Myself; I come to you to make you one with Me; I come to you to change you completely into Myself.”

– Jesus to St. Veronica Giuliani