how to love Mary
“The Secret of Mary” is a short book by St. Louis de Montfort. It shows how to love Mary, and through her to love Jesus. That Love of God is the force that brings love to everyone.
You may ask, who is St. Louis de Montfort and why should I listen to him?
What is most important is what he says, summarizing the Church’s teaching on Mary. “The Secret of Mary” Is a shorter version of his famous book “True Devotion to Mary.” The Legion started after Servant of God Frank Duff began giving talks on “True Devotion.”
…this devotion is not an occasional act but rather a constant attitude, which “puts us in continual relationship with the Blessed Virgin, because we do not breathe, so to speak, except through her . . . and, as a result, simultaneously in Jesus Christ.”“The Spiritual Life at the School of Blessed L. M. Grignion de Montfort” (A. Lhoumeau, 1901)
“The secret of Mary” is that she is the most humble, most honorable, easiest and best way to become a saint! Just keep your eyes in her. Mary is the “great mold of God” (SM,14) who continues to form her children into Christ. We are like a statue. It is much easier to be formed into a statue by Mary than to try to chisel ourselves into a statue!
We give to Mary the Queen all that we have in the order of nature and in the order of grace – past, present, and future – and she in turn purifies, increases, and perfects everything to present it to Jesus the King. St. Louis de Montfort gives the image of a poor man handing a worm eaten apple to Mary, and she cleans it, prepares it well, and presents it to the King on a golden platter.
We do everything “with Mary, in Mary, by Mary, and for Mary” (SM,31) solely for the reason to do everything with Jesus, in Jesus, by Jesus, and for Jesus more perfectly!
Consecration to Mary sums up the entire Christian life, showing a way of holiness that is short, easy, secure, and perfect — a way of life chosen by Our Lord Himself.
Here is a secret, chosen soul, which the most High God taught me…
“you must first discover Mary”
Before you read any further, in an understandable impatience to learn this truth, kneel down and devoutly pray [to Mary and the Holy Spirit,] to ask God to help you understand and appreciate this secret given by him. As I have not much time for writing and you have little time for reading, I will be brief in what I have to say. …
It all comes to this, then. We must discover a simple means to obtain from God the grace needed to become holy. It is precisely this I wish to teach you. My contention is that you must first discover Mary if you would obtain this grace from God.
Let me explain:
Mary alone found grace with God for herself and for every individual person….
It was Mary who gave existence and life to the author of all grace, and because of this she is called the “Mother of Grace”.
God the Father, from whom, as from its essential source, every perfect gift and every grace come down to us , gave her every grace when he gave her his Son. Thus, as St Bernard says, the will of God is manifested to her in Jesus and with Jesus.
God chose her to be the treasurer, the administrator and the dispenser of all his graces, so that all his graces and gifts pass through her hands. Such is the power that she has received from him that, according to St Bernardine, she gives the graces of the eternal Father, the virtues of Jesus Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to whom she wills, as and when she wills, and as much as she wills.
As in the natural life a child must have a father and a mother, so in the supernatural life of grace a true child of the Church must have God for his Father and Mary for his mother….
-From the Introduction to Chapter II, The Secret of Mary.
From the Secret of Mary
Mary is called by St Augustine, and is indeed, the “living mold of God” . In her alone the God-man was formed in his human nature without losing any feature of the Godhead. In her alone, by the grace of Jesus Christ, man is made godlike as far as human nature is capable of it. A sculptor can make a statue or a life-like model in two ways:
By using his skill, strength, experience and good tools to produce a statue out of hard, shapeless matter; or by making a cast of it in a mold. The first way [the chisel] is long and involved and open to all sorts of accidents. It only needs a faulty stroke of the chisel or hammer to ruin the whole work. The second [a mold] is quick, easy, straightforward, almost effortless and inexpensive, but the mold must be perfect and true to life and the material must be easy to handle and offer no resistance.
Mary is the great mold of God, fashioned by the Holy Spirit to give human nature to a Man who is God by the hypostatic union, and to fashion through grace men who are like to God.
… Let us not imagine, then, as some misguided teachers do, that Mary being simply a creature would be a hindrance to union with the Creator. Far from it, for it is no longer Mary who lives but Jesus Christ himself, God alone, who lives in her.
-from Ch. 2, The Secret of Mary.
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.
…following the order established by his divine Wisdom, God ordinarily imparts his graces to men through Mary.St. Thomas
From the conclusion of Ch. 2, The Secret of Mary.
37. 3. Consecrating ourselves in this way to Jesus through Mary implies placing our good deeds in Mary’s hands. Now, although these deeds may appear good to us, they are often defective, and not worthy to be considered and accepted by God, before whom even the stars lack brightness. Let us pray, then, to our dear Mother and Queen that having accepted our poor present, she may purify it, sanctify it, beautify it, and so make it worthy of God. Any good our soul could produce is of less value to God our Father, in winning his friendship and favour, than a worm-eaten apple would be in the sight of a king, when presented by a poor peasant to his royal master as payment for the rent of his farm. But what would the peasant do if he were wise and if he enjoyed the esteem of the queen? Would he not present his apple first to her, and would she not, out of kindness to the poor man and out of respect for the king, remove from the apple all that was maggoty and spoilt, place it on a golden dish, and surround it with flowers? Could the king then refuse the apple? Would he not accept it most willingly from the hands of his queen who showed such loving concern for that poor man?
“If you wish to present something to God, no matter how small it may be,” says St Bernard, “place it in the hands of Mary to ensure its certain acceptance.”
38. Dear God, how everything we do comes to so very little! But let us adopt this devotion and place everything in Mary’s hands. When we have given her all we possibly can, emptying ourselves completely to do her honour, she far surpasses our generosity and gives us very much for very little. She enriches us with her own merits and virtues. She places our gift on the golden dish of her charity and clothes us, as Rebecca clothed Jacob, in the beautiful garments of her first-born and only Son, Jesus Christ, which are his merits, and which are at her disposal. Thus, as her servants and slaves, stripping ourselves of everything to do her honour, we are clad by her in double garments – namely, the garments, adornments, perfumes, merits and virtues of Jesus and Mary. These are imparted to the soul of the slave who has emptied himself and is resolved to remain in that state.
39. 4. Giving ourselves in this way to our Lady is a practice of charity towards our neighbour of the highest possible degree, because in making ourselves over to Mary, we give her all that we hold most dear and we let her dispose of it as she wishes in favour of the living and the dead.
40. 5. In adopting this devotion, we put our graces, merits and virtues into safe keeping by making Mary the depositary of them. It is as if we said to her,
“See, my dear Mother, here is the good that I have done through the grace of your dear Son. I am not capable of keeping it, because of my weakness and inconstancy, and also because so many wicked enemies are assailing me day and night. Alas, every day we see cedars of Lebanon fall into the mire, and eagles which had soared towards the sun become birds of darkness, a thousand of the just falling to the left and ten thousand to the right. But, most powerful Queen, hold me fast lest I fall. Keep a guard on all my possessions lest I be robbed of them. I entrust all I have to you, for I know well who you are, and that is why I confide myself entirely to you. You are faithful to God and man, and you will not suffer anything I entrust to you to perish. You are powerful, and nothing can harm you or rob you of anything you hold.”
“When you follow Mary you will not go astray; when you pray to her, you will not despair; when your mind is on her, you will not wander; when she holds you up, you will not fall; when she protects you, you will have no fear; when she guides you, you will feel no fatigue; when she is on your side, you will arrive safely home” (Saint Bernard).
“She keeps her Son from striking us; she prevents the devil from harming us; she preserves virtue in us; she prevents our merits from being lost and our graces from receding.”
These words of St Bernard explain in substance all that I have said. Had I but this one motive to impel me to choose this devotion, namely, that of keeping me in the grace of God and increasing that grace in me, my heart would burn with longing for it.
41. This devotion makes the soul truly free by imbuing it with the liberty of the children of God. Since we lower ourselves willingly to a state of slavery out of love for Mary, our dear Mother, she out of gratitude opens wide our hearts enabling us to walk with giant strides in the way of God’s commandments. She delivers our souls from weariness, sadness and scruples. It was this devotion that our Lord taught to Mother Agnes de Langeac, a religious who died in the odour of sanctity, as a sure way of being freed from the severe suffering and confusion of mind which afflicted her.
“Make yourself,” He said, “my Mother’s slave and wear her little chain.”
She did so, and from that time onwards her troubles ceased….
St. Louis de Montfort compares Mary to the tree of life found in the garden of Eden. We must not overshadow the tree with our own human powers, constantly nurture that tree with prayer and devotion, cut away all the thorns and vines of pleasures that would hinder its growth, protect it from the insects of self love and the animals of sin, water it with religious practices, and not become alarmed at the frost and snow and storms of trials. Then we will bear fruit, which is Jesus.
“…You must make the sacrifice of yourself to the Blessed Mother, you must disappear in her, so that you may find God alone…
If the Holy Ghost has planted in your soul the true Tree of Life, which is the devotion that I have just explained to you, you must do all you can to cultivate it, in order that it may yield its fruit in due season. …
It will be a good tree, yielding fruit of honor and grace in due season, namely, the sweet and adorable Jesus, who always has been, and always will be, the only fruit of Mary.
Happy the soul in which Mary, the Tree of Life, is planted; happier the soul in which she has acquired growth and bloom; still happier the soul in which she yields her fruit; but most happy of all: the soul which relishes and preserves Mary’s fruit until death, and for ever and ever. Amen.”
“He who holdeth [this], let him hold [it].”
From THE TREE OF LIFE:
ITS CULTURE AND GROWTH OR HOW TO MAKE MARY LIVE AND REIGN IN OUR SOULS
–End of The Secret of Mary
“Hide [yourselves] completely in the depths of Mary’s soul, becoming living copies of her.”(Montfort, TD 217).
“You must offer yourself to Mary, happily lose yourself in her, only to find God in her”(Montfort, SM 70; cf. TD 222, 264)
For the beginning of a Summary of the Secret of Mary see:
This little book contains more than countless other exhausting books. Simply put, Consecration to Mary is a long phrase meaning that we want to do everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary. St. Louis de Montfort says that “we give ourselves entirely and as a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through Mary.” He means, of course, the slavery of total love. This gives Mary permission to work in us, so the Secret will continue.